Vikings True Story – Vikings Facts – Vikings on History

According to custom, all free Norse men were
required to own weapons, as well as permitted to carry them at all times
A wealthy Viking would likely have a complete A wealthy Viking would likely have a complete ensemble of a spear, a wooden shield, and
a sword. The very richest might have a helmet, other armour is thought to have been limited
to the nobility and their professional warriors. The average farmer was likely limited to a
spear, shield, and perhaps a common axe or a large knife. Some would also bring their
hunting bows (mostly long bow or flat bow) to use in the opening stages of battle Compared to a sword, the spear can be made
with inferior steel and far less metal overall. This made the weapon cheaper and probably
within the capability of a common blacksmith to produce. Despite this, the spear held great
cultural significance to the Viking warrior, as the primary weapon of Odin, the king of
the Norse gods and the god of warfare, was the spear Gungnir. Two distinct classes of knives were in use
by Vikings. The more common one was a rather plain, single edge knife of normal construction,
called a knifr. These are found in most graves, being the only weapon allowed for all, even
slaves. The other type was the seax. It was usually
a bit heavier than the regular knife and would serve as a machete- or falchion-like arm.
A wealthier man might own a larger seax, some being effectively swords The Viking Age sword was for single-handed
use to be combined with a shield, with a double edged blade length of up to 90 cm. Its shape
was still very much based on the Roman spatha Swords were very costly to make, and a sign
of high status. They were rarely used and also probably not sturdy enough for battle
or raiding, and instead were likely decorative items
Swords could take up to a month to forge and were of such high value that they were passed
on from generation to generation Several types of larger axes specialized for
use in battle evolved, with larger heads and longer shafts. The larger forms were as long
as a man and made to be used with both hands, called the Dane Axe. Some axe heads were inlaid
with silver designs. In the later Viking era, there were axe heads with crescent shaped
edges measuring up to 45 centimetres (18 in) called “broad axes” Viking shields were also heavily used in formations.
The shield wall was a main formation in which accomplished Viking warriors would
create a line of interlocked shields and thrust spears at adversaries. Other notable tactics
included the “boarsnout”, in which warriors would create a wedge configuration and attempt
to burst through the front line of nearby foes. There is no evidence that Vikings used horned
helmets in battle The horned and winged helmets associated with
the Vikings in popular mythology were the invention of 19th-century Romanticism. Probably worn over thick clothing, a mail shirt protected the wearer from being cut,
but offered little protection from blunt trauma and stabbing attacks from a sharp point such
as that of a spear. The difficulty of obtaining mail armour resided in the fact that it required
thousands of interlinked iron rings, each As a result, mail was very expensive in early
medieval Europe, and would likely have been worn by men of status and wealth Scandinavian affinity towards foreign arms
and armour during the Viking Age had an eminently practical aspect. Norse weapon designs were
obsolete and sources of iron within Scandinavia were of poor quality. Frankish swords like
the VLFBERHT had a higher carbon content (making them more durable) and their design was much
more maneuverable compared to Scandinavian-produced swords The period from the earliest recorded raids
in the 790s until the Norman conquest of England in 1066 is commonly known as the Viking Age
of Scandinavian history. The Normans were descended from Vikings who
were given feudal overlordship of areas in northern France, the Duchy of Normandy in
the 10th century. Viking expansion into continental Europe was
limited. Early on it was the Saxons, who occupied Old
Saxony, located in what is now Northern Germany. To counter the Saxon aggression the Danes
constructed the huge defence fortification of Danevirke in and around Hedeby.
The Vikings soon witnessed the violent subduing of the Saxons by Charlemagne, in the thirty-year
Saxon Wars. Fear of the Franks led the Vikings to further
expand Danevirke, and the defence constructions remained in use throughout the Viking Age
and even up until 1864. Viking navigators opened the road to new lands
to the north, west and east, resulting in the foundation of independent settlements
in the Shetland, Orkney, Faroe Islands; Iceland; Greenland and Jellyfish Cove a settlement
in Newfoundland, circa 1000 a d The Vikings explored the northern islands
and coasts of the North Atlantic, ventured south to North Africa and east to Russia,
Constantinople, and the Middle East Initially, early Vikings would have returned
home after their raids. It wasn’t until later in their history that they began to settle
in other lands. The motives driving the Viking expansion are
a topic of much debate in Nordic history. One common theory posits that Charlemagne
“used force and terror to Christianise all pagans”, leading to baptism conversion or
execution, and as a result, Vikings and other pagans resisted and wanted
revenge Another explanation is that the Vikings exploited
a moment of weakness in the surrounding regions. England suffered from internal divisions and
was relatively easy prey given the proximity of many towns to the sea or to navigable rivers.
Lack of organised naval opposition throughout Western Europe allowed Viking ships to travel
freely, raiding or trading as opportunity permitted.
The fall of the Roman empire a few centuries before and the expansion of Islam affected
Europe`s financial, political and military status quo.
In this time of weakness, as each regional pocket of power struggled to consolidate and
form their own identities the vikings took the opportunity to overwhelm
many peoples with trading in objects from far away lands due to their superior logistics
Also, raiding or conquering lands with superior fighting technique, equipment and philosophy
regarding finding honor in death and pleasure in life. The end of the vikings era was mainly brought
out of vinking success, not failure. Several prominent viking warriors and noblemen
raised themselves to the rank of king in western regions of Europe with dynasties surviving
centuries or more. This period of energetic activity also had
a pronounced effect in the Scandinavian homelands By the late 11th century, royal dynasties
legitimised by the Catholic Church were asserting their power with increasing authority and
ambition, and the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden had taken shape.
One of the primary sources of profit for the Vikings had been slave-taking. The medieval
Church held that Christians should not own fellow Christians as slaves so this took much of the economic incentive out of raiding.

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