Axes were among the most feared weapons in Viking warfare. Their long shafts, sharp blades, and cleaving blows made them devastating to any opponent.

Axes ranged Viking axe
in size and shape from small hand axes to massive battle axes. The axes also came in various styles.
Type A

Axes were one of the most common weapons used by Viking warriors. They were easier to forge, made from less expensive materials and tended to be lighter than swords so they were more comfortable to use in battle.

Axe heads were shaped into a variety of shapes and sizes, some were thin while others were thick. Some even had a curved edge, which was ideal for cutting through leather armour and delivering compelling blows against an enemy.

The axe head was attached to the handle using a wedge. This method was much more secure than hammering the axe head to the handle, so it is still used today. Axes were also often tempered to improve their hardness and reduce brittleness.
Type B

Axes used in battle were much heavier than farm axes (right). In addition, they had sharper edges and longer blades.

A large number of Viking axes had heads made from iron. These heads were made using a variety of methods, including folding the blade around a rough shape and welding it together.

Some axeheads had a hole for the haft punched out with a drift. This eye was often symmetrical or asymmetrical, depending on the design of the axe.

Many axeheads also had decorations in the form of inlays of precious metals. These inlays are a great example of the craftsmanship that was practiced during the Viking age. They were often decorated on every flat surface of the axe head.
Type C

The axe was the weapon of choice for a viking warrior. It was not only useful for cutting and splitting wood, but also for striking.

Viking axes had a variety of different blade profiles and were available in many sizes. Some were shorter than others, but they all had a blade with a curving edge that could cut through leather armour and deliver powerful blows against an enemy.

Axes with short heads were used one handed, while longer axes were two handed and had more reach. They were also more likely to be carried as a weapon with shields, or when concealed.
Type D

Axes were one of the most important weapons to Vikings, and they were used for everything from fighting in the woods to building snowy towns. The axes were versatile, agile and compact which made them an ideal weapon to carry on the battlefield.

Among the axes that were found in graves are ones with motifs and other decoration, such as this one from Mammen (SHM 348, see here). The axe displays a bird motif on one side and Yggdrasil on the other.

The axe blades are symmetrical, have a narrow profile and are relatively short and thin. These were great for cutting through tough leather armor.
Type E

Axes were one of the most common and useful weapons in a Viking warrior's arsenal. They could be used for a wide variety of tasks from wood-cutting to fighting. They were also a popular status symbol for high-ranking Vikings.

Type E axes had long shafts that were typically between 80cm and 1 metre long, although they may have been longer in some cases (see Bayeux tapestry). They were often displayed as symbols of a high-ranking Viking's wealth and power.

Axe heads had a curved edge that concentrated the force of an axe blow into a smaller area, making it easier to punch through leather armour and inflict serious wounds. They were also able to hook an opponent's ankle and throw them off balance, or hook the edge of their shield, pulling it away for an attack or disarm.
Type F

During wars, most Vikings could not afford swords so they took along their axes. These axes were mainly used for cutting and splitting wood, but they were also deadly weapons when it came to close combat.

The blades of axes were usually made from iron, but bronze is often found. This is because the metal was inexpensive and easily forged.

The axe head could be shaped in a variety of ways, depending on the period. Some axeheads were curved outwards, others were more rounded, and some were sloped down in relation to the shaft hole section.
Type G

Viking axes were a common weapon used by warriors during battle. They were incredibly powerful and could cut through helmets, perforate armor, and shatter shields.

The blades on Viking axes varied and were made from different types of wood. Some axes were designed to cut logs into kindling, while others had a shorter head that was used for felling trees.

Other axes were heavier and had a thicker cutting edge to help deliver a more crushing blow. The most common Viking axes were bearded, as they were very useful in close combat.

They were used for both wood-cutting and splitting, although there are also a few examples of axes that were designed to be thrown in fights. The sagas describe some clever ways that they were used in battle, such as hooking an opponent’s neck to compel him to move or hooking the edge of their shield to pull it away for attack or disarm.
Type H

Axes were very common tools and weapons in the Viking world, used for everything from building ships to carts to chopping wood. They were also a very effective weapon, especially when thrown in a fight.

The size and design of axes varied greatly. Farm axes were designed to cut and split wood, while battle axes were made to be light and fast so that they could be thrown.

The axe used for war was generally bigger than the one for cutting wood, and this allowed it to be a much more powerful weapon. It was used to inflict serious wounds and it could deliver crushing blows against an opponent.
Type I

Viking axes are found in many archaeological finds that date to the era of the Nordic people. This is because the axe was a very popular weapon used by these people for both domestic and war use.

Axes were used to perform a variety of tasks on the farm including harvesting timber for building ships. They were also used for hunting and felling trees.

There are a number of different axe designs that the Vikings used for these purposes. They ranged from simple farm axes to specialized warfare axes.

Those axes that were primarily for war had a bearded head design which allowed for a longer cutting edge while minimizing the weight of the axe. This was important for the vikings as they were able to cut down a tree more quickly and easily.
Type J

Vikings were a highly skilled people who loved to raid and conquer. The primary weapons they used for this were swords, but some Vikings also carried axes.

Most axes were forged by blacksmiths and had long handles, allowing for a longer reach in battle. Depending on the wealth of the owner, their cutting edge could range from 3 to 18 inches.

These axes were not only weapons but also tools, especially in the camp where they served as throwing and light chopping implements. The axe was also used as a tool for hooking and holding other weapons, shields or limbs.

These axes were often made with Petersen type M blades, although there are several Scandinavian finds that can be identified as a cross axe (Nassja, SHM 5237; Taby, SHM 6126). Some of these have an egg-shaped or rounded middle piece that sides the eye for the shaft.

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