When you look at the documentation available that talks about Vikings, you will learn that the most commonly used weapon as the spear. Even then, it is worth keeping in mind that the military weapons the Vikings used are based on limited archaeological findings. The other way that we know what weapons got used is based on pictorial presentation, as well as accounts in Viking sagas and laws recorded from as far back as the 14th century.
One thing we do know is that all Norse men were required to own weapons and also allowed to carry them at all times. Who are the Norse? Norse and Viking are synonymous and refer to the same Germanic people that settled in Scandinavia in what is referred to as the Viking Age. The language spoken was Old Norse. Another fact that people might not be all too aware of is that Vikings were actually farmers and part-time warriors.
It is the fact that war was only something they didn’t often do that made it quite an event for the Vikings. That is why you’d find, as you’ll see below, that they had beautifully finished weapons. It was their way to show off their wealth and status as well. The spear is also significant among the Viking warrior because it was also the primary weapon that Odin, the King of the Norse gods, as well as the god of warfare, used.
In this article, we are going to explore more about the spear, stating what it got used for, what it was made from, and how it looked like.
What is a Viking spear
Simply because this spear has the name ‘Viking’ in front of it doesn’t make it all that different from other spears used in both ancient and modern times. Their spears followed the typical version of what a spear was.
When you look at the modern and older models of the Viking spear, you will find that the head varied in size. During the early times, the arrowhead on tended to be 20cm long. However, that changed, and we begin seeing spearheads that were even as much as 60cm long. When you read some of the documented Viking sagas, you will find that a reference in a prominent battle features a spearhead that was 50cm long. Most would, therefore, assume that it is the general standard of the same.
Another thing about Viking spears that you will note is that the spearheads were not always uniform. They had variations when it came to the shape and size. How the spear looked was also meant to reflect your status in the community. For example, the simpler spears were for the commoners or those poorer in the community, while those adorned with other metals showed that you were wealthy. However, it was those who were poorer in the community who used spears while the nobles and the rest had more options when it came to the choice of weapon.
What is a Viking spear made of
Viking spears were made from iron that measured between twenty and sixty centimeters. They also had patterns on the arrowhead, and they tended to be decorated with geometrical patterns or inlays of precious metals. One of them was silver and copper on the rib. You could also note the leafy foliage decorations on the surface of the blade through some of what remains is not as clear.
To form the head in which the spear shaft would go, the blacksmith would flatten one end and then fold it to form a solid socket. In some cases, the metal flaps joined together would overlap. The other part of the spear was made from wooden shafts that were about two to three meters long. For the most part, the wood used was ash wood, which was commonplace during that time.
How to make a Viking spear
To make a Viking spear, you should secure the spearhead to a shaft. Given that there were many variations, you are also at liberty to design the spearhead that you feel works best for you best on the various shapes and sizes available from archeological findings. The shaft length is also something you can determine before getting started. The information available with regards to other designs is based on the sagas; you can choose from those present and create yours. For example, there is the reference of a shield with a shaft reinforced with iron.
How the Vikings used their spears in battle
These spears were used for thrusting, cutting, or hewing. It is also worth noting that the spearheads tended to have wings at the bottom of the spearhead. This barded aspect of the arrowhead was able to inflict a lot of damage to the enemy, especially if the spearhead was both long and thin. Even though it was the poorer in the community how used spears during the battle, the working class in the Viking communities would also use spears.
During the war, you would find that Vikings would throw spears and use other tactics to inflict harm on the enemy. They would also use it during formations with their shields; they would form and wall and use spears to jab at the opponent through the spaces left in the shield wall. There were also different types of spears. There were lighter spears with narrower heads that were ideal for throwing. They weren’t decorated because they typically got lost during the battle. There were the heavier ones with broader heads that got used for stabbing.
The other use for the spears was for cutting, where the blade would take the place of a sword or an ax. This war tactic is mentioned in the Saga, though there is also evidence that the spear wasn’t commonly used for cutting. Either way, it was the place of every Viking man during the war to have a spear, and even when they were not in active duty. Though the Vikings were mostly farmers, it is their weapons and ability to fight that put them on the map.
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