A guide to...
Why were warriors so important in Viking times?
Times were turbulent for the Saxons and the Vikings. Although many people settled in communities, people always needed to be ready for invasion. Everybody knew how to fight and even children were trained in how to used weapons like axes and swords. In times of war, thousands of men would join together and go to battle while women and children would stay at home and be ready to defend their communities from attackers.
What did Viking warriors look like?
Viking warriors were very well protected. They carried round, wooden shields and wore leather helmets. Many people picture Viking helmets with two horns, but this is actually just a myth! Warriors also had metal shirts, axes and swords. Warriors with better quality weapons were usually people who were rich or more important in their community. Warriors would look after their weapons well and sometimes they would carve runes or pictures into their wooden shields as a way of trying to gain good luck in battle.
How fiercely did they fight?
The Vikings were infamous for being aggressive in their fighting. They were very strong and well trained for a brutal style of close combat. Some warriors, known as Berserkers, were particularly violent and would kill anyone and anything in sight, dressing in extra animal skins to make themselves appear even fiercer. In the Viking belief system, people thought that warriors who did well in battle would enter a special place after they died called Valharra, where they would be welcomed like true heroes.