Viking Shield

Image of Viking shield viking warrior

Round and large shields were one of the most common ideas whenever we think about the Viking warriors or Viking weapons. Viking shield is a symbol of both physical and mental defense. Shield accented the beauty of the Viking ship when they were arrayed along the gunwales.

The main material to build a Viking shield was wood of pine or spruce. Such timber would be light in the hand and was not likely to split like oak. The diameter of a typical shield ranged from 80-90 cm (~32-36 inches). The diameter varied because a Viking man might have made his own shield based on his body size and his fighting tactics. The shield must be large enough to offer enough protection. Too small shield would put the warrior in jeopardy while too large one would slow him down.

Image of Viking warrior
Viking warrior

Leather or rawhide would cover the rim of the Viking shield. This would reduce the chance of shield being broken. Few materials presented the iron-rimmed shields. The warrior would grab the handgrip in the center of the shield. The handgrip was likely to run the whole diameter of the shield. When the shield was not in use, the warriors would fling their shield behind their back.

Truth is, shield provided the warriors with both effective protection and attack. In case of fighting face to face, of course, shield would cover the warriors against spear or arrow hail. When warriors need to hide underwater, shield protected them against attack from above. The warrior could also hide their weapons behind their shield and deal a sudden blow to claim the enemies’ lives. Another case was that the Vikings hurled their shield toward their enemies and knock them out. But this was not quite common because of the low damage level.

Image of Viking shield mjolnir hammer rune
Viking shield

Image of Viking warrior

Image of Viking ship
Ship with Viking shield

Image of Viking ship

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