Viking Weapons and Combat Techniques

Viking Weapons and Combat Techniques

by William R. Short
ISBN-10:
1594160767
ISBN-13:
9781594160769
Pub. Date:
05/01/2009
Publisher:
Westholme Publishing
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Overview

Viking Weapons and Combat Techniques


A source of enduring fascination, the Vikings are the most famous raiders of medieval Europe. Despite the exciting and compelling descriptions in the Icelandic sagas and other contemporary accounts that have fueled this interest, we know comparatively little about Viking age arms and armor as compared to weapons from other historical periods. We know even less about how the weapons were used. While the sagas provide few specific combat details, the stories are invaluable. They were written by authors familiar with the use of weapons for an audience that, likewise, knew how to use them. Critically, the sagas describe how these weapons were wielded not by kings or gods, but by ordinary men, as part of their everyday lives. Viking Weapons and Combat Techniques provides an introduction to the arms and armor of the people who lived in Northern Europe during the Viking age, roughly the years 793-1066. Using a variety of available sources, including medieval martial arts treatises, and copiously illustrated with images of historical artifacts, battle sites, and demonstrations of modern replicas of Viking weapons, the author and his colleagues at Hurstwic (a Viking-age living history organization) and at the Higgins Armory Sword Guild have reconstructed the combat techniques of the Viking age and what is known about the defensive and offensive weapons of the time in general. Throughout, the author corrects some popular misconceptions about Viking warriors and warfare, such as the belief that their combat techniques were crude and blunt rather than sophisticated. In addition, the book provides an overview of Viking history and culture, focusing on the importance of weapons to the society as well as the Vikings' lasting impact on Europe through their expeditions of trade and exploration.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594160769
Publisher: Westholme Publishing
Publication date: 05/01/2009
Edition description: 1
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction vii

1 Overview of Weapons in Viking-Age Society 1

2 Available Sources 17

3 Shields 29

4 Helmets 49

5 Mail 57

6 Other Personal Defenses in the Viking Age 67

7 Battle Axes 71

8 Spears 87

9 Saxes 99

10 Swords 105

11 Viking-Age Sword and Shield Combat Techniques 127

12 Other Offensive Weapons in the Viking Age 167

12 The End of the Viking Age 179

Glossary 181

Selected References 183

Index 185

Acknowledgments 189

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