In a Viking Age where almost everything was constructed of wood, it is not surprising that axes Viking axe would be put to use as weapons. Some axes from magnate graves have even been decorated with silver inlays.
Axe blows can hook over the ankle (left). This could force an opponent off balance and onto the ground.
Axes and Pitchforks
Among the weapons that Vikings used in battle, the axe is among the most iconic. Axes were used by warriors of all social classes and have been found in hundreds of Viking graves, as well as described in the Norse sagas. They were effective and practical weapons because they were light enough to be wielded quickly, and balanced so that they could be aimed accurately. Axes could also be used to hook an opponent’s leg or shield, allowing the axe user to pull them off balance and open them up for a strike with their sword.
The axe blade was sharp and could be used to slash, chop and cut. The backside of the axe head, called the oxarhamar, could be used in a hammering action for both lethal and non-lethal blows. The haft was also effective in combat because it could be used to thrust and parry. The axe head was usually made of a single piece of thick iron with a curved wedge-shaped cross section that tapered to the edge. It was mounted on a slender, curved axe shaft that weighed very little.
Viking axes were often heavily ornamented and were objects of status. Some had designs etched into the flat surface, and others were decorated with inlays of precious metals such as silver and gold. Axes were also used for everyday tasks such as cutting and splitting wood, hunting and building.
A Viking’s axe was his most personal weapon, and he would carry it everywhere. As a result, it is not surprising that we have a number of viking toy axes that replicate the real thing! For example, one toy axe features an authentic-looking design that is molded in plastic and painted to look like a real axe. It even has a handle designed to look like wood, complete with a molded wrapping.
While there are a variety of different types of Viking axes, most can be categorized according to the shape of their heads and the way they were intended to be used. Jan Petersen, the famous Viking scholar, created a typology for axes that works similarly to his sword typology that categorizes weapons by their hilt designs. Petersen’s axe typology is still used today by archaeologists to identify Viking axes.
An axe is a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of tasks. The chopping end is perfect for chopping down trees or splitting logs, while the pick end can be used to break through tougher obstacles. Axe heads are typically made of solid steel, which makes them sturdy and durable. Many axes also feature a molded grip to provide a comfortable hold for the user.
Vikings were known for their axes and would use them in battle as well as for woodworking. The incredibly sharp blade could be used to slash throats or the blunt butt of the axe could be used to knock opponents out of their shields. Many axes were heavily bearded, which gave them a unique appearance that helped them stand out on the battlefield.
The most common axe head is the metate head. This type of axe was created in prehistoric times and is now a popular artifact. It consists of a circular bit with a flat edge on either side, and it may have lugs or a ring where the head meets the handle. The bottom corner of the bit may extend lower than the rest of the head, and this area is called the heel. The head of the axe can also be shaped into a conical or wedge shape, and it may have a beard or a heel.
Felling axes are a popular choice for people who want to chop down a tree. These axes have a long handle so that the user can get a good swing. They are designed to cut with the grain of the tree, which helps them penetrate deep into the wood.
Splitting mauls are another type of axe that is designed to split logs into kindling. These axes have a flat, elongated head that can be used for a variety of jobs. These axes are a bit heavier than felling axes, and they are usually designed to be used with a downward swing.
This is a replica of the axe that was wielded by Rollo of Normandy in the hit TV series Vikings. This axe is a great addition to any collection of Vikings memorabilia, and it can also be used for cosplaying as the character. The axe is made from molded plastic with a realistic paint job and design.
Axe handles are made of wood and come in a variety of lengths and styles. Traditionally, they were made of hickory or ash but today there are many choices of wood. For a long lasting handle, the wood must be well seasoned or very carefully kiln-dried. It is also important to select a handle with grain that runs the length of the shaft. If the grain of a handle is off-center, the head will eventually break off.
The axe is a tool for working with wood, so it needs a sturdy handle to support its weight when used for cutting. Unlike an axe with a generic store-bought handle, which can be replaced easily, it is difficult to replace a custom-made handle once it breaks.
Originally, axes had no handles but instead were held in the hand. These hand axes had knapped (chipped) cutting edges of flint and have been found in 1.6 million year old deposits in the Oldowan in Australia, and in 1.2 million year old deposits in the Olduvai Gorge in Southern Ethiopia. In later times, stone axes with ground cutting edges became common.
One of the first types of axes with a haft was the bow axe, which was designed for felling a tree. It had a heavy head and a long wooden handle for a powerful swing. Bow axes were largely replaced by splitting mauls in the Middle Ages, which were better suited to chopping logs into firewood.
A splitting axe has the same characteristics as a bow axe but with a bigger blade. The shaft is longer and heavier, and a steel collar protects the axe head when it is wedged in a round of logs for splitting. It can be used to split wood with a downward swing, but it works best with two hands.
The axe shaft curves in just before it goes into the head to create a shoulder. Gripping the axe down here while swinging gives power, but it sacrifices accuracy. This is the position for using the axe when it's important to have both power and accuracy, such as when clearing brush or cutting limbs off dead trees.
The pointed "horns" at each end of the axe head were kept sharp to be used as stabbing weapons (oxarhyrna). They could be caught between teeth or in the throat. They widen much more than a sword or spear point, and create vicious wounds. The horns could also be used as a parry, like a shield, to prevent the opponent's weapon from striking an unintended but lethal blow, as described in chapter 146 of Brennu-Njals saga. The axe horns were sometimes wrapped with iron or other metals to reduce the risk that they would break when used for this purpose.
Axe horns were often depicted on artwork, including carvings and runic inscriptions. They may have been considered a good luck charm, a sort of magic talisman that was believed to protect the user against harm or illness. Axe horns were also used in religious ceremonies. For example, in the saga of Thorkell and Gunnhildr, a man whose axe horn was broken by a Viking warrior was restored to him with the help of a god.
Some axe heads had very thin cross-sections, which made them more like knives than a typical axe head. This makes them very sharp and suitable for cutting bone, flesh, and other tough materials. The axe heads were usually forged in one piece, but some had separate heads and shafts. The eye of the axe head was usually tapered or otherwise fitted to the haft, so it could be held in place and resist both pulling and pushing forces.
In some cases, an axe haft was wrapped in a leather strap to increase the grip and allow it to be used two handed. Axes with smaller heads were generally used one handed, while those with larger heads were primarily used two handed.
The Sisterhood Hours can be interpreted as representations of the standard female archetypes of maiden, mother, and crone, with the Horned Axe representing the crone and an ancient power with wisdom that has been lost to the other hours. The Horned Axe also resembles a minor Roman deity called Cardea, who presided over door hinges and was said to repel strix, owl-like creatures of ill omen.