Did you know that swords were much more expensive back in the day? Normal warriors and poor farmers during the Viking age could only afford axes and this is the reason why this weapon was the most popular choice for most people.
Unlike other rich Viking warriors, most Vikings couldn’t afford swords so they settled with axes most of the time. Despite not being associated with the wealthy ones, this well known weapon was designed to deliver when needed the most and assisted the Vikings greatly during violent battles. However, keep in mind that what they used during battles were different from their farm axes.
Viking battle axes usually consisted of two main parts: the single edged iron axe head and the handle/axe haft. The sizes of the axe heads varied in the history of Viking weapons because the size of the materials that were used also differed. There were even axes decorated with inlays of gold and silver like the popular “mammen axe heads” from the year 971.
When we talk about its advantages during battles, the shorter variations had more compared to their larger counterparts. Smaller axes could be quickly hidden under a clock or behind a shield as a reserve and that’s something that they couldn't get away with if they had brought with them bigger ones.
It’s also worth sharing that axe head shapes during the Viking era also varied from one axe to another, as well as their haft length. Those with smaller heads also had shorter hafts and could be used by a single hand. On the other hand, those axes with longer shafts tend to be used with both hands.
Sometimes it could be hard to tell from the get go whether a particular axe was used as a tool for farming or as a deadly weapon during battles. But one thing is for sure! The Vikings knew how to make the most out of their axes no matter what it was made from, what it was intended for or whatever shape, size or length it had!