What Did the Vikings Wear in Battle?

Vikings have, in modern times, become something of legends thanks to the numerous stories about their conquests, trading, seafaring, and general way of life. One of the things they were best known for was their fighting skills which were feared by many far and wide. Vikings had interesting attire for different occasions, and this article breaks down what they traditionally wore when they went out to battle.

What armor did the Viking warrior wear

What armor did the Viking warrior wear?

One of the things that stand out the most about Vikings and how they went into battle was the fact that they did not have elaborate battle attire as did many other tribes and communities. Seeing as they were mostly based in Scandinavian regions in Europe, the Vikings focused more on attire that kept them warm. Here is a list of items you would have expected to see on a Viking warrior.

Viking Lamellar Armor

Lamellar armor was a form of metallic armor that resembled chainmail. This form of metallic armor was worn as you would a coat, and it was unique to Vikings since no other community in the world has it. This kind of armor is largely linked to the communities that lived in modern-day Russia. It was made by linking many iron or steel plates using leather.

Lamellar armor was not, unfortunately, as effective as chainmail, but it went a long way in providing a good deal of security to soldiers. Vikings were quite modest, meaning that even Lamellar armor did not come by easily.

Leather armor

This kind of armor was a lot more common than Lamellar armor as it was easier to make and obtain. Leather armor would be made up of many leather patches that would oftentimes be padded with thick clothes made of linen or wool, or even leather. Leather armor was the most common sort of armor, and you were more likely to find it with many warriors that did not have high ranks or status.

Leather belt

Unlike the belts used today to fasten trousers in place, Viking belts would be used to help them carry their weapons around. The belts were usually made of leather, but they had metal buckles with which to fasten them.

The leather belt was worn over the tunic, and it was used to carry swords, knives, and even axes that were used in combat.

Nasal Helms

Nasal helms were head accessories worn by Vikings to protect their heads from being injured during a battle. There were many types of designs, with some covering the head and entire face, and others covering the face partially. The helms were made of metal by blacksmiths, and most were able to withstand the force of an enemy’s sword.

Did Vikings wear helmets in battle

Did Vikings wear helmets in battle?

As part of their attire, Viking warriors would wear helmets. There were several different designs that were used over several centuries. The helmets would often be made from iron or steel, and they came in good handy as they protected the wearer from attacks on the head.

While it is thought that there were many helmet designs, only 6 Viking helmets remain at the moment. They are the Tjele helmet (fragment), Kiev helmet (fragment), Gjemundbu helmet, Yarm helmet, and two segments of the Gotland helmet.

Did Viking Warriors wear chainmail?

Like Viking Lamellar armor, chainmail was made by linking small plates of steel together. The main difference is that the ones on chainmail would be linked using small pieces of metal which would, in turn, make the chainmail a lot stronger than Lamellar armor.

Because of how complex it was to make, and how expensive it was to obtain, chainmail was mostly reserved for royalty and for very high-ranking warriors. It was unlikely, and even near-impossible, to spot a regular Viking warrior in chainmail.

What else did Viking warriors wear

What else did Viking warriors wear?

Cloaks

As mentioned in the section above, Vikings lived in environments that were, and still are, extremely cold. Cloaks were an important part of what Viking warriors would wear as they would make sure the men stayed warm. The cloak would be worn for warmth during the day, and it would be used as a cover at night when it got very cold. The cloak, even though for warmth, was designed to cover the Vikings without being too cumbersome so as not to get in their way during long treks.

The cloaks were almost always made from wool that was very closely knit to keep the cold out. There would be no buttons, so the cloak would be held in place at the nest using a metallic clip or brooch. This simple way of wearing the cloak made it pretty easy for the warriors to toss them aside quickly before charging at the enemy.

Tunics and Trousers

These were easily the most basic part of Vikings’ clothes. They were, just like clothes, made to be more focused on keeping their wearers warm in the night and during very long voyages. Unlike many trousers from back then, Viking trousers were full-length items that would be fastened around the waist using a drawstring. The trousers would be worn together with a tunic that would more often than not be long-sleeved. When it came to fabric, tunics worn by Vikings would be made from linen.

Oftentimes, Vikings would wear an undershirt beneath the tunic which would also go a long way in keeping them quite warm.

Viking socks and shoes

To keep warm during long treks and cold nights, Viking warriors also wore socks that were pretty thick and heavy for warmth. They would also wear leather shoes over the socks for easy walking. Most Viking shoes were ankle-length, but boots could also be spotted here and there, especially when it got extremely cold.

Conclusion

Legendary as they were, the one thing that stands out the most about Vikings is that they were modest in the way they dresses, even in battle. The fact that they lived in and conquered regions that experienced extremely harsh cold goes to show just how tenacious and skilled these men and women were. They had very little to shield them during battle, but they managed to prevail and take many regions over.

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