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The Viking Axe

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  • theshoveller
    replied
    The Dane axe (i.e. the long-handled, heavy-bladed battleaxe that we associate with the Vikings) is an adapted agricultural tool of sorts. They were originally used for slaughtering animals, quickly and cleanly. Your pal forces the cow's head through a hole, you smack it between the eyes with your two-handed axe. Cow dies instantly. Professional slaughtermen elsewhere in the western world used sledgehammers for the same job right up to the 20th century. In fact, that's probably a good way to think about it - it's a sledgehammer with an edge (which allows it to be lighter).

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  • BELGRAVE
    replied
    I've been rather disappointed by the Vikings since having been assured that they did not invariably wear horned helmets, at least in battle.

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  • LoneRider
    replied
    I also imagine that since Vikings were among the physically largest people on earth a long handled axe would allow for a superior reach.

    The ax having an advantage of cleaving into armor and shields I figure was also a handy asset.

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  • llkinak
    replied
    Originally posted by LoneRider View Post
    I've been doing some reading of the Viking age of late (starting with the raid on Lindsfarne as my 'framework'). Partially it was inspired by watching a DVD of the first season of the Deadliest Warrior, where I witnessed Casey Hendershot nearly cleave a gel torso in half with a blow to the shoulder by a two handed axe.

    I'm curious what caused the Scandinavian warriors to heavily favor the axe as a pole arm. I'm certain the fact that they were fast-moving raiders played heavily into it, but I'm not 100% sure.
    Cheaper than swords, more sexy than spears, better than a club.

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  • Nick the Noodle
    replied
    Originally posted by LoneRider View Post
    I've been doing some reading of the Viking age of late (starting with the raid on Lindsfarne as my 'framework'). Partially it was inspired by watching a DVD of the first season of the Deadliest Warrior, where I witnessed Casey Hendershot nearly cleave a gel torso in half with a blow to the shoulder by a two handed axe.

    I'm curious what caused the Scandinavian warriors to heavily favor the axe as a pole arm. I'm certain the fact that they were fast-moving raiders played heavily into it, but I'm not 100% sure.

    The Vikings actually favoured the sword.

    There was a lot more effort in the Germanic nations in producing pattern welded swords than almost any other weapon.

    However, looking at burial sites tells us what ancient armies were generally equipped with. Vikings favoured the axe and bow, Celts favoured spear and sling and Saxons favoured the spear and javelin.

    It should be noted that one of the reasons that the Vikings did so well was the number of archers in their armies compared with their enemies.

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  • LoneRider
    started a topic The Viking Axe

    The Viking Axe

    I've been doing some reading of the Viking age of late (starting with the raid on Lindsfarne as my 'framework'). Partially it was inspired by watching a DVD of the first season of the Deadliest Warrior, where I witnessed Casey Hendershot nearly cleave a gel torso in half with a blow to the shoulder by a two handed axe.

    I'm curious what caused the Scandinavian warriors to heavily favor the axe as a pole arm. I'm certain the fact that they were fast-moving raiders played heavily into it, but I'm not 100% sure.

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