The Vikings were one of the most interesting people in history, and their stories are being told to this day, whether it’s through history books, the popular TV series Viking and documentaries. However, most of these media portray them as bloodthirsty savages that pillage, rape and burn everything in their way. Other aspects of their lives get very little attention because truthfully, their lives were pretty much average. They were mostly farmers, merchants and family men who followed their king into war using the tools they had at their disposal as their weapons.
The most common weapons used by the Vikings were spears and axes because those were also tools that they used on a daily basis on their farms. The most iconic weapon out of the two is the axe, as it was something literally everyone owned. They’re portrayed as warriors who wore horned Viking helmets and double bladed battle axes, when in fact they wore normal helmets that featured decorative carvings, and they wielded a single cold steel Viking hand axe, which heavily resembled a generic wood chopping axe. And even though the basic form of these axes was the same, they did change over time. The early forms resembled a typical woodcutting axe, while later on, they began shaping them into shapes more convenient for fighting.
The blades of the cold steel Viking hand axe became more specialised for killing as time passed, meaning they became wider and bigger. Some models featured a hook on the lower end of the blade, which allowed for hooking the enemy at the rims of the shield or feet. Decorated axes have also been found, but there’s no evidence to confirm that they were used in combat. Instead, they are thought of being used for ceremonial and decorative purposes.
The shaft of Viking axes was around a meter, but some were actually much longer, making them ideal for striking blows from a distance. The head of the blade was either folded metal around the shaft or punched out with a drift. Overall, Viking axes were very well-balanced weapons and convenient for fighting. They were deadly from a distance and even further away. The blade was formed for cutting the enemy, even when thrown. Throwing the axe wasn’t something that commonly occurred in combat, unless the warrior was harmed and threw the axe in retaliation. When the warrior died, his axe was buried with him.