theatre in education company, theatre in education companies, key stage 2 history, key stage 1, fairy tales, traditional tales, christmas show, schools panto, touring schools theatre, stone age, egyptians, greeks, romans, vikings, tudors, victorians, wwii.
Far from being something feared death in battle was the ultimate glory for a Viking warrior.
The promise of an eternity in the company of Odin and the Valkyrie was enough to get any true Viking warrior stoked up for battle.
One of the most common misconceptions around Viking warriors is the wearing of a horned helmet. While it is true that they may have been worn for ceremonial purposes the horns would have made them very unwieldy and impractical for fighting.
Rather, the helmets were rounded on the top with a nose guard at the front. If the warrior couldn't afford to make the whole helmet from metal then the most vulnerable points (nose, temples) would have small metal inserts to strengthen them.
One of the most famous things about Viking warfare is the Berserker Warrior.
These men would take herbal potions (drugs) that would make them eager to fight (literally berserk!).
They would stand at the front of the ranks of Vikings, frothing at the mouth and sometimes even chewing on their shields, so eager were they to fight.
It must have made a terrifying sight to their enemy.
Chain mail was not unheard of but it would probably have only been the richer warriors and the King's Guard who would have it.
The armour that a Viking warrior would wear was home-made or handed down so the army as a whole would look very rag-tag. They would wear leather sandals or shoes with bindings around the ankles and long trousers. Over this would be a cloth tunic for warmth and then usually a leather tunic for protection.
The Viking style of fighting was quick and efficient.
They would strike hard and fast at their opponents (whether attacking from land or sea) and then withdraw with their slaves and other booty before any reinforcements had a chance to arrive.
As far as weapons go the Vikings used many different sorts.
A big, heavy double-headed battle axe is what we normally associate with a Viking warrior and to accompany this most men would also have a sword, a dagger, a spear, a throwing axe and, very importantly, a shield.
The wooden shield was normally round - though triangular shields have also been found - and painted in bright colours with a metal buckler in the middle for extra protection.
I definitely wouldn't want to face a berserker in battle. Anyone who chews their shield is to be feared!
Axes were very popular weapons