Dark Age Weaponry

All free men of the late Viking period were expected to own weapons and leaders were expected to provide them to their men. Weapons were carried not just for battle, but also as symbols of their owners’ status and wealth. They were therefore often finely decorated with inlays, twisted wire and other adornments in silver, copper and bronze.
Each weapon requires its own proficency test in the society before it can be used on the field, for safety.

The Seax

Presented to boys as they came of age, the seax is the first weapon of the Frihal or free man. More a general tool and symbol of the bearer’s status as a free man in society (rather than a slave or bondsman), to kill with a seax is to fight without honour and is a weapon of last resort.

The Spear

Spear and Shield
 Soldiers with spear and shield are the most widely used combination of troop type in history and for good reason!  Fielded by armies throughout the ages, spearmen are cheap & easy to train. When spearmen are formed up in good numbers with secure flanks, they are resiliant and hard to break. Armies of the dark ages were no exception, armed with lindenwood shield and an iron point mounted on an ash shaft 6-7ft long, these warriors would form the bulk of most armies.
Two-handed Spear
Deployed behind the front ranks or flanks of the shield wall, long spears sometimes upto 9 or 10ft in length probe for gaps in the enemies defences, keenly stabbing into unprotected faces, limbs and soft bellies.

The Axe

That most versatile of tools – one minute you are felling timber to build a new pig sty and the next,  you are mustering to the call of your Lord, there are raiders to repel!
The axe is a primary weapon and for many free men, this would be the most expensive item that they owned. When deployed in the battle line – the  axe is grimly effective at cleaving shields and skulls in equal measure.

The Sword & Langseax

Weapons prized by warriors and wielded with pride. To the warrior cultures of the dark ages, the sword was the very epitomy of honour and status. Songs and sagas were  composed about swords and the mythical status of the warrior kings who wielded them. Swords would be passed down from generation to generation, given names and venerated as sacred objects.

 Ruthlessly efficient at killing – the sword and langseax ( which has one cutting edge rather than two) are the only weapons used in this period that do not have an alternative use as an agricultural tool. 
At this time swords were incredibly expensive to own, due in part to the great skill required to make them; ( comparable to the cost of  buying a Lamborghini today) and their use was reseved only for those of the highest status.

The Dane Axe

The Dark Age terror weapon! Capable of lopping off a horse’s head with one cleave. Dane axes are the perfect weapon for defending ground or narrow spaces. When used well, a single warrior could hold back an army – At the Battle of Stamford Bridge, a lone viking Dane Axe wielder – did exactly that and managed to hold off King Harold’s entire army by holding the bridge, killing many Saxon’s before he was killed himself.
  Introduced into dark age Britain by the Vikings – The Dane Axe was a high status weapon that required great skill to use effectively, usually employed by bodyguards of a Lord’s hearth troop. It was Dane Axe wielding Huscarls of Harold Godwinson’s bodyguard who struck terror into the hearts of their Norman opponents during the Battle of Hastings 1066. Standing proud on Senlac Hill, in defiance of the Norman army advancing up the hill towards them and the Saxon line. As the norman cavalry began to charge,Huscarls stepped forward, wedged their kite shields into the earth before them and swung their great two-handed Dane axes in fearsome arcs of whirling steel. Such was its momentum that the dane axe easily cut through mail clad rider and horse alike.

The Javelin

Javelins have been used by armies for milennia as a way of  breaking up and harrying enemy formations, either in the form of dedicated skirmishers ahead of the main battle line or one or two carried by the foot soldiers themselves and thrown just before  impact of the opposing shield walls.

The Longbow

If the sword is the king of the battlefield, then the longbow surely is the Queen. Though not deployed in large numbers by dark age armies, most people were proficient with use of this weapon and even a few could have a telling effect on a battle’s outcome. In an age where metal armour was uncommon and expensive, Viking bows had no difficulty in penetrating the wool and linen attire that most comabtants on the battle field would be wearing & although not powerful enough to pierce a maille hauberk,except at close range there would be fw commanders who would turn down the chance of fielding a contigent of archers. Deadly when skillfully employed, or used en-masse.

The Sling

The Sling is as simple a weapon as you will find – more a tool for game hunting or for shepherds to protect their flocks from wolves than for warfare. However don’t let its agrarian looks or low status fool you. More than one mighty warrior has been felled by a skillfully placed bullet, hurled from the sling of a lowly peasant boy than history would care to record. The sling is the equal in killing power to any weapon on the battlefield.