The Viking Warrior
In history, Vikings are known as one of the bravest warriors that do not fear death. But is that really true, or do we just think like that because of today’s popular TV shows and video games?
Vikings were people with their own religion and own beliefs, so naturally, this played a huge role on their fearlessness. For the most part, they were farmers and stayed in their homeland, but when the “Viking Age” came and they started raiding lands far from their homeland.
They raided for several reasons, but mostly it was for the loot or land, while others were more adventurous and were seeking fame and glory. The Vikings extended their reach and started attacking nearby kingdoms, such as the kingdoms West from their homeland and sometimes the ones that were in the East. Their first target were the English Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, which weren’t united under one rule and were in constant conflict between each other. They were weak and they weren’t organized.
The Norsemen weren’t well known and they came by sea which carried with them the element of surprise. There was no one to warn the English about the upcoming attacks. English monasteries, villages and even small cities were attacked by these unknown Vikings.
What Made them Superior?
These Vikings were barbaric to the English people and the people were slightly scared of them. Fear was ruling over the people because they could have been attacked at any time, and no one could defend them because these Vikings came out of nowhere.
The Vikings had the element of surprise, they could catch people off guard. Because of the low organization from the Englishman and the fast moving ships of the Vikings, their reaction time was slow, which means that a village could be raided and they could be gone in less then a day.
The Norseman never fought a fair battle against the other Kingdoms. Every time they fought them it was a surprise attack or it was a low organized army sent by the Anglo-Saxons which made them easy targets. If they fought a fair battle how good would they be? Most of the battles in the early and middle Viking age were like this.
But What Kind of Warriors Were They?
While Vikings are very known and marketed, people always put them in the number one spot as warriors. While they were strong they don’t deserve the number one spot in the medieval period because it depends on a lot of factors.
What gave the Vikings their edge was their religion as an example. Normal people who were recruited from their homes didn’t want to die, but the Vikings were slightly different. Everyone knows their religion and knows that when they die they visit Valhalla, and enter through the gates of Valhalla as true warriors. Religion was at its peak back then and they lived by it. A person with those beliefs could easily fight till the end and will die with honor, this gave him the edge it made him fearless. He didn’t care if he died because he knew there was an afterlife, while the other person the opponent had another thing on his mind and it was to survive this battle and go home, he cared if he lived or died and death wasn’t an option. He must fight on the back lines and run if needed when things got hot.
The Vikings also had a slight physical superiority as well, they were stronger and slightly taller even though this isn’t a sure fact.
As for their equipment, it wasn’t advanced at all. They used round shields, axes, swords and spears. The famous knife they had was the Seax. Their armor wasn’t advanced as well, it was chainmail, helmet, Lamellar and cloth with leather. This gave them protection but it wasn’t that much. For example, a volley of arrows could do some serious damage despite the shields and everything.
The Vikings were good warriors for their time being but could always lose to a mounted knight. While they might be the best for that time, the medieval period was full of advanced warriors that could demolish their opponent.