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Stuart Thompson




Location: Walton-on-the-Naze
Joined: 15 Feb 2010

Posts: 118

PostPosted: Sat 20 Feb, 2010 2:19 am    Post subject: Spear heads and chainmail         Reply with quote

I'm utterly confused with spear heads. Where can I get a thrusting/hewing spear? (In the UK)

Now, I never learnt with a shield and was asked by a friend to sparre with him..started using my sword but we decided he'd use his shield and sword and i'd use a spear. I found a boar spear but was told it was a throwing spear hence my confusion. ALSO how common was chainmail for the viking? I've thought it was reserved for high status yet it's rare at events to see a chap just in the tunic etc without armor. For accuracy i'll sacrifice protection.
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Toke Krebs Niclasen




Location: Copenhagen
Joined: 31 Jan 2010

Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sat 20 Feb, 2010 2:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
For accuracy i'll sacrifice protection.


I think you should be careful with the accuracy, it can get rather bloody. Razz
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Stuart Thompson




Location: Walton-on-the-Naze
Joined: 15 Feb 2010

Posts: 118

PostPosted: Sat 20 Feb, 2010 6:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've not been hurt that bad yet, except my nose which has been bandeged up : Wink Would you say this is a hewing spear or a boar spear?
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Naythan Goron




Location: ON, Canada
Joined: 03 Feb 2008

Posts: 40

PostPosted: Sat 20 Feb, 2010 7:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

id say thats a boar spear based on what i know of the viking period (which isnt all too much im afraid). im going on the lugs and on the profile when i make my assessment because to the best of my knowledge viking hewing spears were longer bladed and did not have lugs kinda like this one http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...Spear+Head
times come and go but the blacksmith's spirit will live on.
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 420

PostPosted: Sat 20 Feb, 2010 10:24 am    Post subject: Re: Spear heads and chainmail         Reply with quote

Stuart Thompson wrote:
I'm utterly confused with spear heads. Where can I get a thrusting/hewing spear? (In the UK)

Now, I never learnt with a shield and was asked by a friend to sparre with him..started using my sword but we decided he'd use his shield and sword and i'd use a spear. I found a boar spear but was told it was a throwing spear hence my confusion. ALSO how common was chainmail for the viking? I've thought it was reserved for high status yet it's rare at events to see a chap just in the tunic etc without armor. For accuracy i'll sacrifice protection.

Hi Stuart,

There isn't a lot of evidence on how common armour was in the Norse world. We know that mail and helmets are rare in the archaeological record, and that both were probably expensive in a society with few professional armourers. Snorri Stirluson believed that most of the Norwegian army invading England in 1066 had mail and helmets, but that wasn't a viking expedition but an invasion by the levy of Norway, and he was writing 150 years later. I think most reenactors having mail is like most Viking reenactors owning a good sword ... shiny stuff is fun, and in our culture its affordable.
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Artis Aboltins




PostPosted: Sat 20 Feb, 2010 11:06 am    Post subject: Re: Spear heads and chainmail         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
Stuart Thompson wrote:
I'm utterly confused with spear heads. Where can I get a thrusting/hewing spear? (In the UK)

Now, I never learnt with a shield and was asked by a friend to sparre with him..started using my sword but we decided he'd use his shield and sword and i'd use a spear. I found a boar spear but was told it was a throwing spear hence my confusion. ALSO how common was chainmail for the viking? I've thought it was reserved for high status yet it's rare at events to see a chap just in the tunic etc without armor. For accuracy i'll sacrifice protection.

Hi Stuart,

There isn't a lot of evidence on how common armour was in the Norse world. We know that mail and helmets are rare in the archaeological record, and that both were probably expensive in a society with few professional armourers. Snorri Stirluson believed that most of the Norwegian army invading England in 1066 had mail and helmets, but that wasn't a viking expedition but an invasion by the levy of Norway, and he was writing 150 years later. I think most reenactors having mail is like most Viking reenactors owning a good sword ... shiny stuff is fun, and in our culture its affordable.


Aditionally, there is the matter of personal health and security - a chance to get an injury while wearing mail and some sort of cloth padding underneath is suignificantly less than fighting without the mail. And nowedays the bosses in work are probably going to be somewhat less understanding if you try to explain not beeing at work as result of accidental injury in a swordfight than in the viking age Happy so you try to protect yourself as much as you can when doing demonstrations or competitive fighting. As result, the proportion of people having armour and helmet + sword is probably higher than what was common back in the day.
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Nick Bourne




Location: London, United Kingdom
Joined: 09 Nov 2008

Posts: 44

PostPosted: Sun 21 Feb, 2010 1:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maille in the Viking age is an iffy subject. The problem is that the lack of abundant archeological evidence of pieces from the period suggests that only the high status Lords and their immediate bodyguard would be properly outfitted in maille and sword.
However other sources mention the armour workshops (relatively) churning out armour pieces (especially France) and exporting them into Britain which seems to contradict the evidence.
Another thing to contemplate is that is was very rare for a full muster of the fyrd to happen. Mostly when confronting invaders (excusing local spontaneous action) local Earldormen would confront them with his bodyguard and the select fyrd. The select fyrd were the middle class and would have been fairly well equipped and trained (don't forget that the Angle-Saxon England was a warrior culture at heart), it was very rare for the general horde to be called upon to fight except for the big battles which were rare. This to me suggests that in many viking skirmishes there would have been a reasonable amount of armour present.
As far as the big battles are concerned they were gatherings of many lords with their bodyguards and their select fyrd with some of the common fryd. So although the proportion of maille to squishy would be low there would have to have been some. Especially after the viking invasion of Wessex which militarised the whole country, vastly improved their capacity to fight and is also when the bodyguard troops are turned into small almost professional armies.
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P. L. Gross




Location: Adirondacks, NY
Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Sun 21 Feb, 2010 1:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's my understanding that spears with lugs on the shaft are boar spears. The idea is that the lugs prevent the weapon from penetrating past the head and thus keep that highly annoyed boar away from you until it has finished dying. Throwing spears are generally shorter and lighter. You can throw a nine foot spear, but it's not gonna fly real far. A six footer, by contrast, flies well and still does impressive damage to a 3/4 inch plywood target at the end of it's flight. Big Grin
Hewing spears are also somewhat short, 7 or 8 feet, but pretty stout, with long wide blades. I like to think of them as a short sword on a stick. Anyway, there's my two cents.
-Pete

From his weapons on the open road no man should step one pace away; you don't know for certain when you're on the open road when you might have need of your spear.
-Havamal
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Josh MacNeil




Location: Massachusetts, USA
Joined: 23 Jul 2008

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Sun 21 Feb, 2010 5:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Many Viking age (as well as later period) spears had lugs or wings like you see on boar spears. The lugs that appear on boar spears serve the same purpose as they do when impaling a human being. They're also handy in a fight and can be used to hook and deflect an opponent's weapon.

For some great insight on Viking spears, you may want to check this out...

http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manu..._spear.htm
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Tom King




Location: florida
Joined: 11 Sep 2009
Likes: 2 pages

Posts: 429

PostPosted: Sun 21 Feb, 2010 8:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pretty sure Josh is right in this case. Think about it, would a viking be buried with his war gear or his hunting equipment. (Then again he might want both in Valhalla!)
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Stuart Thompson




Location: Walton-on-the-Naze
Joined: 15 Feb 2010

Posts: 118

PostPosted: Mon 22 Feb, 2010 2:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you all for the info and advice, being honest I know little about the general age and most equipment. I recently nipped out to my local castle at colchester to speak with management and have a closer look at some finds and 'modern' (i.e reenactment use) weapons on display. I get a tad sick of the stereotype. The Anglo-saxon farmer with his pitchfork, the hench viking with his axe etc. I have to learn how to use a shield, sounding silly but my dad taught me on sword alone, no shield and as you know shields play a big part in the 'shield wall' _...

If swords are expensive, why are viking men buried with them? Would they not be passed down? I ran across an article about the skeleton of a 13 year old lad buried with a sword, 13 is awfully young to be in battle. Oh the mystery of history:D
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