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Vikings

Viking warriors

A Viking chieftain with his weapons and armourA Viking chieftain with his weapons and armour A warrior's weapons depended on his position in society. Ordinary Viking warriors wielded a battle-axe when raiding. With its sharp, deadly blade, it was much feared by enemies. Warriors might also thrust and throw a long spear. Noble warriors often used a sword instead, which was frequently handed down from father to son and thought to have magical powers. Nobles also wore chainmail tunics to protect themselves from sword cuts and axe blows. They were handmade from thousands of linked iron rings. Most Viking warriors, however, could only afford a wooden shield to defend themselves from attack, and some did not even have this. Contrary to popular belief, Viking warriors did not wear horned helmets.


An iron helmetAn iron helmet

Armour

A noble Viking warrior wore an iron helmet and a chainmail tunic. The shield was made of thick wood with a metal centre called a boss, which guarded the hand. Only the most important warriors wore iron helmets. These had guards around the eyes and over the nose for extra protection. Decorations on the helmet showed off the warrior’s wealth. Poorer Vikings sometimes had helmets made of leather. 


 

A sword and battle-axeA sword and battle-axe

Weapons

If a battle-axe was thrown with maximum force it could cut through a Viking's iron helmet and split his skull.

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