Viking Age Arms And Armour
Knowledge about arms and armour of the Viking Age (8th to 11th century Europe) is based on relatively sparse archaeological finds, pictorial representation, and to some extent on the accounts in the Norse sagas and Norse laws recorded in the 13th century.
According to custom, all free Norse men were required to own weapons, as well as permitted to carry them at all times. Indeed, the Havamal, purported to be sage advice given by Odin, states "Don't leave your weapons lying about behind your back in a field; you never know when you may need all of sudden your spear."
These arms were also indicative of a Viking's social status. As war was the most prestigious activity in Viking Age Scandinavia, beautifully finished weapons were an important way for a warrior to display his wealth and status. A wealthy Viking would likely have a complete ensemble of a helmet, wooden shield, leather armor, and arms and other accoutrements of war. The average farmer was likely limited to a spear, shield, and perhaps an axe or seax or other large knife. Some would bring their hunting bows to use in the opening stages of battle, as well.
Read more about Viking Age Arms And Armour: Foreign Origins of Vikings Arms and Armor
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