Feb 20, 2012

Weapons & Warriors: The Spears of the Norsemen

The Spear is the most commonly used weapon in the Norseman arsenal, the axe was not, although that was pretty common as well. Spears were more common for several reasons, starting with the cost to make them. They were not made with a high grade metal as axes or swords and required less of it overall as well.

The Norseman spear was not a small tool, but the Norseman were not small men either. They used their naturally large size and strength to their advantage in combat. Some f these warriors were believed to throw two spears at the same time (one from each hand). The effectiveness of this in long range throwing is questionable, but the odds of hitting your target within twenty feet are probably improved.

Norse spears came in various sizes and shapes, but pretty much all were designed with the same concept. They had a long thin leaf shaped steel head attached to a wooden shaft. Norsemen did not often decorate or engrave the spear. There wasn’t much of an impression of success for carrying a spear, as most farmers owned a spear or two.

The Norse also made shorter spears for throwing with a special head that would detach itself once it struck its target. The detachable head made the spear useless to their enemies, in case they missed or if there were others that might try to throw the spear back.

In Norse society, the weapons and armor a Norsemen gained was a status symbol of his success and glory. The spear was one of the first weapons taught as these warriors grew up. Once a Norsemen reached an age were he could effectively handle the weapon, he began his training in combat. Often about the time a boy reached puberty, he was already learning to wield or throw the spear.

Often times, boys were seriously injured or killed in training. However, this was not looked upon as a failure. Just as the Spartans bragged about their scars as status symbols, Norsemen too believed that scars proved a man had faced death and lived to tell about it. Although not always useful in gaining new weapons, Norsemen loved adventurous stories.

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Weapons and Warriors, click here to view the entire catalog of weapons and cultures. Thank you, see you next week.


  1. Okay, the detachable head thing is totally cool. Very smart!

    I'd love to write a story centered around Norse mythology one day. Those dudes were serious bada$$es. Love how dark their myths are. :-)

  2. If you write it I'll read it. I've even read romances in the Norse setting. Ever since my first Thor comic growing up I became obsessed with the Norse mythology. Far darker than Greek and hotter heads for sure. Not to mention their warrior spirits. Love it!

    The Norse themselves were more advanced science wise than most gave them credit for too. Those ships were some of the fastest and most versatile in the world.