Medieval Militaries Series: Vikings


In this series I intend to talk about some of the strongest and most feared armies from Medieval times.  I will more than likely cover other time periods as well because I love history and things related to the military.  Enjoy!!

During the Medieval Times,  the Vikings where feared for many reasons.  The way they fought in combat and what happened to cowards to just name a few.  They were some of the fiercest warriors to walk this earth.  It is estimated that the Vikings existed from 790s to 1066 CE.  They may have existed before 790 CE but this when there is record of their first raids.  Also, 1066 is the year that the Norman conquest of England happened and the leader is known as William the Conqueror.  This time period is also referred to as the Viking Age.  The Vikings fought with spears, axes, and some swords.  Most people have a perception that the Vikings fought with mostly swords but this is hardly the truth.  The swords at this time were very hard and expensive to make and were usually seen with someone of wealth.  The most common weapon was the spear, a wooden shaft with an iron spearhead on the end of it.  Most of the swords were made from iron not steel.  We would not see steal until later in the middle ages.  The Vikings were also invested in trading and could sail the ocean with their longships.  One thing I found most interesting about the Vikings is that they found North America before Columbus or Vespucci did and Columbus never actually found North America.  The Vikings actually tried to settle in Canada but it seems it was not successful.  There is no information or evidence about their existence there.  I also find it ironic that the man that defeated the Vikings was also a descendant of Pagan religion very similar to the Viking religion.


Peter Sawyer, The Viking Expansion, The Cambridge History of Scandinavia, Issue 1 (Knut Helle, ed., 2003), p.105