|1. Viking picture stone, Gotland|
A Nordic Viking's full weaponry were sword, axe, spear, bow and arrow. The noblest weapons among these were the sword and the axe. A Viking with esteem for himself wore them permanently. A real Viking loved luxury, colours and riches in his weaponry, his riding equipment and his clothes.
|2. Danish sword|
The Viking's main weapon was probably the sword. The single-edged sword from before the Viking-period was replaced by the long, often broad, double-edged sword with a four-divided hilt.The blade might be Damascened and inlaid, and the hilt was often richly decorated with chase and gilt and with inlaids of gold, copper, silver or niello (a mixture), making the sword into a splendid weapon. The scabbard of the sword is usually not kept or found, but the bronze-"shoe", which forms the finish of the scabbard was sometimes found. It is triangular and often shows animals ornaments in openwork.
|3. Swedish swords|
|4. Frankish sword, Hedeby|
A sword is a complicated thing to create, and the whole working process is not made by the same man. The blade is made by one, the hilt by another, the joining by a third. A hilt might be decorated in a special Nordic ornamentation with a "gripping beast" or in the Jelling style. A sword like that was produced in the North. A blade with a signature like Ulfberth was undoubtedly welded abroad, probably in France. Usually there was enough technical skill in the North to produce a sword. The finds of iron and blacksmith-tools in the Scandinavian Viking finds are a witness of the important role of the Viking-blacksmith. There was a question. Who made the best swords? The answer: Undoubtedly the Franks. This is known from literary sources. And the Franks forbid export of their valuable swords. Charlemagne forbid, Charles the Bald forbid, the last even forbid on penalty of death. Charlemagne's embargo was aimed both to the East and to the North, the clerics were especially impressed to conform to this. This indicates that weapons were often processed in the closter-smithy. The embargo of Charles the Bald was firstly aimed to the Nordic Viking-emporium. He did not wish to equip the bloodthirsty Vikings from the North with the best weapons in the world. And the Frankish swords were considered the best in the world.
|5. Charlemagne, A Dürer.|
A Viking period-find by Swedish archaeologists from Øland in the Baltic sea were five Damascene sword blades with fabrication-signature, probably Ulfberth-blades from the Franks, imported to Sweden to have bronze-hilts attached. The Nordic craftsmen were from tradition masters in producing the bronze hilts with inlaids and chase. But the blades had to be Frankish.
There are many named swords in the legendary literature, and although there might be no reality behind the stories they reflect anyway the importance of the swords - both symbolic and practical. The legendary hero Roland's sword Durendal, king Arthur's Excalibur and Sigurd Fafnersbane's sword Gram are wellknown examples.
Uffe and the Sword Skræp (Offa of Angel)
|6. Uffe hin Spage, Lorenz Frölich|
The combat took place on an island in the river Eider, and the blind old king wished to sit upon a wharf close to the edge, so he could throw himself into the water if Uffe lost the combat. The sword looked brittle and rusty, but it passed the test. Vermund was blind, but not deaf. When Uffe first chopped one, then the other opponent, both in one single cut, his father recognized the sound of Skræp from the old days. His chair was pulled back from the edge, the king regained his love of life, and the Saxons had to go shameful away. In this way the kingdom of Saxon came in Danish hands, and this sword really deserved a special name.
Sigurd Fafnersbane and the Sword Gram
|7. Fafnerdrabet, Eskilstuna|
|8. sketch from the Fafnerdrab|
The hero Beowulf can only get rid of the troll's mother by using a sword which hangs in the underwater cave where she lives. The Sagas make these swords supernatural, they were not of course, but it is obvious that a good and precious sword was treated with care. Famous swords were inherited through several generations.
|9. Axe, Trelleborg|
The Cross in the Axe
|10. cross in axe.|
|11. spearheads, arrows, axe|
Bow and Arrow
This ancient weapon was important to the Vikings. This is often told in the Sagas. The bows are gone(they were probably just simple longbows) and the arrow shafts also. But the iron arrowheads are often found in the graves, sometimes also in women's graves. They are heavy, dangerous arrowheads, and sent from a strong bow they must have had a significant impact. They have been found in graves, assembled in bunches or in a bundle of 40 pieces.They were carried in a round quiver.
The iron knife is also a weapon, both a weapon and a tool. The simple one-edged iron knife with a wooden or bone shaft was carried by men at their belt, and by women in a chain on their breast. In women's graves from the Viking period it is common to find the blade of an iron knife at the woman's breast or at her belt.
|12. Gokstadship, sketch with shields|
|13. Viking helmet|
|Hagar the Horrible|
Source: Johannes Brøndsted: Vikingerne, Materiel kultur, Våben, Gyldendal 1960; Skalk: Smeden, nr. 1, 1963; Skalk: Ole Shiørring, Korset i Øksen, nr. 6, 1978; Skalk: Christian Adamsen, De sagnomspundne, nr. 2, 2011.
1. Viking picture stone, Gotland, Sweden,
2, 3, Danish sword; Swedish swords; Johannes Brøndsted, Vikingerne.
4. Frankish sword, found in Hedeby(Haithabu) , Gyldendal og Politikens Danmarkshistorie,
5. Charlemagne, painting by Albrecht Dürer, 1600, Buch: Kunsthistorisches Museunm, Wien.
6. Uffe hin Spage, drawing by Lorenz Frölich.
7. picture and runes of the Fafnerdrabet upon at Ramsundsberget in Eskilstuna, Johs. Brøndsted, Vikingerne.
8. sketch of the Fafnerpicture, by J. Aarup Jensen, Skalk 1963.
9. Silver-inlaid war axe, found in the Viking fortification, Trelleborg, Sjælland ; Johs. Brøndsted, Vikingerne.
10. Viking axe with cross, Silkeborg Museum, Jutland, Skalk 1978 .
11. Viking spearheads, arrows, axe, Johs. Brøndsted, Vikingerne.
12. The Gokstadship (Norway) with shields, drawing from book by N. Nicolaysen about the Gokstad ship.
13. Viking helmet, 7-9 century.