Monday, November 23, 2009

Viking Weapons: The Tools of Nordic Exploration

The Vikings are known as great warriors. This reputation is based on what we know about Viking weapons and battle tactics. Taking a look at Viking weapons can be an interesting lesson for people in today�s world.

The Vikings were known as �daring masters of the sea.� The Vikings were best known for their swift wooden ships. These ships enabled them to mount raids on the coastal settlements of the British Isles, western Europe and points beyond. The shallow draught of Viking ships meant that they were able to reach far inland by river and stream. In other words, these ships were designed to travel on sea and up river.

In many ways, the most important of the Viking weapons was their ships. The ships build by the Vikings were formidable and awe inspiring. They were great machines of war.

Laws of the late Viking period show that all free men were expected to own Viking weapons. So-called magnates (wealthier, �upper class men) were expected to provide weapons for their own men.

The system mentioned in this article through which more powerful men provided Viking weapons for their underlings does have similarities to the lord and vassal system found in such places as the British Isles. Of course, in Britain and elsewhere, land was an important part of the lord and vassal relationship. Such was not particularly the case with many Viking explorers.

The main offensive Viking weapons were the spear, sword and battle-axe. With that said, commonly used Viking weapons also included bows and arrows and other missiles.. Vikin Weapons were carried not just for battle, but also as symbols of their owners' status and wealth. They were therefore often finely decorated with inlays, twisted wire and other adornments in silver, copper and bronze.