viking warrior with axe

Viking Axes

People associate Vikings with axes and with good reason. While most of Western Europe was using swords, the Northmen preferred axes. Archeologists find this weapon more often and in greater variety in the Viking dominated areas. Tapestries and other art show Vikings with axes, and there’s a very good chance that King Erik Bloodaxe was so named because of his weapon.

Viking Axes for Fighting

It is important to note that axes used in combat are different from axes used for cutting trees. While a tree-felling axe could be used in a pinch, a prepared Viking would use an axe made for battle when going to war. The axe would be lighter and easier to use. Viking axes evolved as the Viking age went on. They developed into weapons with long handles, and larger and heavier heads with a longer cutting edge. Towards the end of Viking era dominance, a Dane could kill horse and rider with one blow.

Why Axes

There are several theories about why Vikings used axes. Each expert has a favorite couple of ideas. Vikings may have used axes because they were cheaper to make than swords. Axes could also be useful as tools; even if they weren’t used for chopping wood, they would still work better against wooden doors and shields than swords. Viking axes could do more damage to armor than a swords could. Vikings may also have used axes simply because they liked to or because they were fashionable at the time.

Get an Axe

Any of these reasons could be valid, and more than one could apply to the Vikings’ choice of weapons. Viking axes have seen a resurgence in their popularity, and you can get your own Viking-style axe in our store. Check out these beautiful works of art and support our Viking Village dream.

Sources: The Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings by Neil Price (2020).

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