Viking Axe

Massive Viking Weapons

When talking about Viking weapons, people often associate these with axes. Viking axes were more favored by warriors since the weapon was well-balanced and made for battle. The axes were small enough to be thrown at opponents; plus, these were also quick, allowing wielders to execute swift movements that resulted in deadly attacks on the battlefield. Aside from being the most favored weapon by Viking warriors, the axe was also the most common tool used by the poor during this period. Farmers were also required to possess an axe for cutting and splitting wood, as well as to defend their land against intruders. However, Viking axes are designed differently compared to farm axes since these were made particularly for battles.

The Viking axe can be a tremendously powerful weapon when used with sufficient amounts of force since it was designed after wood-splitting axes that were obtained all over Scandinavia during the Viking era. The head of the Viking axe was larger and had either a crescent or concave shape, making this excellent for powerful, downward attacks. The Viking axe also had a long wooden shaft that had a length of one to two meters, allowing its wielder to easily carry this.

Characteristics of the Viking Axes

During the Viking period, there were various types and shapes of axe heads, each of these having different uses. During the earlier times of the Viking era, the cutting edge of the Viking axe often measured around 7 to 15 centimeters; however, as time passed, these became larger. The broad axe had a crescent-shaped edge that measured around 22 to 45 centimeters. When it came to the largest Viking axes, these featured a cutting edge with a length of 20 centimeters and were also hardened by welded steel that was firmly attached to the iron head. Using steel was necessary since this allowed the Viking axe to better hold the edge compared to iron. Some axe heads were intricately adorned with inlays of fine metals, as well as gold and silver decorations. Because of the lavish designs of these weapons, these types of axes were mostly discovered in the graves of rich Vikings.

For the axes’ cross-section, these were usually wedge-shaped and there were also some instances when the cross-section, which can be found close to the edge, featured a diamond shape. This particular form offered additional power and strength based on the iron’s given weight. There were also some axe heads with cross-sections that were elegant, but these were also too delicate and thin for splitting wood. Axes with thinner blades were often folded and welded together with the use of steel bits for its edges.

There were numerous historical axe heads that feature welds on the eye’s hammer side and some claim that these types of heads were created by shaping its basic form then splitting the back of the weapon’s head to create a cross-section with a Y-shape. The shafts of the Viking axes were made out of wood and based on research, these usually had a length of 80 centimeters. The shafts were definitely sized and shaped for its purpose, as well as to excellently balance the axe’s head.

History of the Viking Axe

During the early Middle Ages, when most Vikings were going off to war, they could not afford weapons such as swords which were specifically created for battle. Instead, they would pick the same axe they utilized for woodcutting to serve as their weapon on the battlefield. The hand axe was obviously not an attractive weapon, but it was highly effective, easy to create, as well as repair. Skilled warriors were able to split their opponent’s shield using a hand axe and could also defeat them easily in close combat. Although efficient, the hand axe was not an ideal weapon since it was made for cutting logs and trees; it also had to be heavier than a weapon. A lighter axe, on the other hand, could be used for hacking opponents since these were easier to carry and repeated swings will not be difficult for warriors. As the Viking Age progressed, Norse warriors became wealthier, allowing them to create battle axes which were ideal for war.

How the Viking Axe was Used

Viking axes that featured smaller heads were accompanied by shorter hafts, and these were generally utilized with one hand; axes that had a longer haft required to be used with two hands. When the axe heads were fixed to the hafts, the wielder could taper the eye of the axe head and haft to allow the head to fit firmly on the haft without having to worry about this flying off.

Modern Viking Day Axes

Since the Viking axe had numerous uses, you will find a lot of replicas of this powerful and dangerous weapon today. Replicated Viking axes feature unique designs and can be fully functional, while others can be used for decorative purposes.