Viking Shields

Viking Shields

Viking Shields

The Vikings were warriors who had differing appearances due to their varying styles of armor. The Viking shields would mostly cover their chest and head area for more protection when they headed out to battle.

For increased defense, these Viking warriors greatly relied on their shields and considered these as a vital part of their defense and offensive strategies.

The Viking shields were described to be round yet there were also triangular shields available; to defend themselves against arrow attacks, these warriors needed to shield themselves using the said items.

Additionally, these shields were also excellent for deflecting melee strikes and blows coming from the close combat weapons of the enemy.

The Viking shield was also very unique compared to those utilized in other areas of the world since these were usually made from wood that featured a metal center.

These were also painted with vibrant colors and at first glance, these do not appear to be special but these are more effective and efficient for battle compared to what people may think.


The Viking Shield

Only a few shields and equipment have survived throughout the Viking age and these were specifically the shields that have been found on the Gokstad ship that dates all the way from the tenth century.

The ship carried about thirty-two shields and a few of these have survived throughout history; additionally, these shields were also made from a layer of planks that were butt together without any iron bands.

The Viking shields usually measured around eighty to ninety centimeters in diameter yet some were larger and measured about ninety-four centimeters across.

Based on the only surviving pieces, some of these shields are as small as seventy centimeters and because of the varying sizes of these Viking shields, it was presumed that the man-made Renaissance shield was made depending on the owner’s body size, frame, and fighting style.

Furthermore, the Viking shield needs to have adequate size to provide enough protection to its owner; however, it should not be too big that the Viking would have a difficult time carrying the shield.

Viking Shields

Most likely, the Viking shield was also rimmed with rawhide or leather just to prevent this from splitting or cracking when its edges hit; this is to help fasten the shield while also tightly pressing the planks together.

There are some shields that feature parts made of bronze or iron clamps along its edges and these are most likely present to hold the Viking shield’s leather in place.

Usually, these bronze or iron clamps were not evenly distributed around the shield’s edge and this only suggests that the clamps were present to protect the damaged edges of the Viking shield.

Additionally, there are also notes stating that these shields featured a leather sling to carry the piece over the Viking’s right shoulder; this is to allow the owner to easily wield his weapon with both hands. Alternatively, these Viking shields may have also utilized linen that was held in place with a form of glue.

The linen adds more weight to the shields but its fibrous content greatly increased the strength of the shield’s wood while simultaneously holding the whole piece together even if the wood splits during battle.

Most of the Viking shields that survived through time are mostly made from fir, spruce, or pine; and based on literary evidence, the shields were also made of linden wood or more commonly known as the basswood when utilized in North America.

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Kinds of Viking Shields

There are different types of Viking shields utilized in the past and listed below are some of the most popular and highly preferred shields.

The Gokstad Shields

These Viking shields had a thickness of about ¼ inches close to the center and were usually chamfered to get thinner edges. Most of these shields that have survived usually range from 6mm to 12mm thick yet there were other thicker ones found in various locations.

The Gokstad shields featured a series of little holes that were around the outer edges of the shield, it is said that the leather edges of the shield were held firmly in place with the use of iron nails or finely made stitches that passed through the little holes on the Viking shields.

There are also records stating that some shields feature bronze or iron clamps that secure the leather around the shield’s edges. Different claims were also present and stated that the clamps were not evenly distributed since this works better to protect and reinforce a damaged shield.

Additionally, these types of shields were painted yellow and black yet a Viking shield that was acquired at Trelleborg was painted white and red which was in accordance with the old Norwegian’s law code requirements.

Viking Shields

Boss Shields

These Viking shields usually measured around fifteen centimeters in diameter with a thickness of around six to ten gauge. The earlier types of Boss shields featured a curved appearance while the later models were flatter; also, some of these Viking shields had a cylinder-like neck located between the dome and the flange.

Kite Shields

At the end of the Viking period, the warriors began utilizing the Kite Viking shields. The shape of these shields worked effectively to protect the Viking while on horseback; however, during this period, more battles were done on foot which is why the use of such shields was not that prominent unlike with the others.

Viking Shields for Sale

There are numerous online weapon shops that offer a variety of Viking shields for sale and these are all perfect for completing one’s collection of Viking items or for re-enacting historical scenes from the past.

For those who are searching for a functional Viking shield, this is also available and one can simply browse through an online weapon shop to find the best Viking shield that is suited for their requisites and tastes.

For those who need the Viking shields for mock battles and re-enactments in movies or plays, the fully functional Viking shield is necessary; yet for those who only wish to add more Viking pieces to their growing collection of items, the decorative Viking shields are the perfect pieces for the set.

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