Norse civilization gave a unique place to weapons and armor created abroad, notably by the Franks. They were acquired by Norsemen either via commerce (a continuation of gift-giving in Norse civilization) or through pillage. Therefore, each individual's acquisition and display of them would indicate their place in the social order and whatever political allegiances they may have. In 795, Charlemagne traded weapons with the Anglo-Saxon king Offa of Mercia as one instance of a battle between the Franks and the Vikings.

  Please take a look at our Viking Cosplay selection

Although there is no record of quilted fabric (a gambeson) in the sagas, it is hypothesized that it would have been an option for Viking fighters of lesser social standing. No archaeological findings have been discovered, and such things do not fare well in tombs. Some runestones show armor that looks to be chain mail but is probably not. At a moderate cost, many layers of sturdy hemp or linen canvas or winter clothes made of thick woollen material would offer a high level of protection.

In order to protect the regular tunic from dirt and excessive wear, practical experience with maille also suggests an undergarment of some kind would have been worn between the maille and the regular tunic. However, the Sagas' descriptions of the effects of axes suggest such garments were, if at all, padded at all.

Overall, the evidence against non-metal armor is still ambiguous. It's possible that the typical Viking battled while dressed casually and relied only on their shield for defense.

                                                  Viking Swords

The Viking Age sword was designed for single-handed usage in conjunction with a shield. It still had a grip that was very close to the Roman spatha, a long, deep fuller, and no overt cross-guard. It was utilized all throughout Europe and was not only among the Vikings.

Swords were extremely expensive to produce and a symbol of high rank. Since they were infrequently used, several of the swords discovered in burials were presumably just fit for decoration rather than use in war or on raids. They were carried in leather-bound wooden scabbards that were slung from a strap over the right shoulder, much like Roman spathae.

Recently viewed