14. century men at arms in scandinavia/Iceland
I am looking for info about men-at-arms in middle to late 14. century Scandinavia (Norway or Sweden) and perhaps Iceland.
I have tried to find some information on how a man might have been armed in that time and place, how was he armed and what if any type of armour did he use?

I am not thinking about knights but maybe a merchants or some lords guard or mercenary.

Also if anyone could provide me with information on arms and armour in 14. century Iceland it would be great. In our national museum we have viking age weapons and then only some Messers from the 15. or 16. century.

The thing is I am in a group that puts up a market at a historical location called Gßsir located in Ejafj÷r­ur/Iceland and we always get some group to do a fighting demo and last two or three years it has been a viking age re-enactment group that has done it. I and a friend of mine find this quite unsatisfactory (although we are both in a viking age re-enactment group that has participated in this event) and we want to get some arms and armour that fit in the period. As it is to expensive to get two full suits of armour that we are not going to use more than maybe ten or twelve times a year (although who can say might happen) we chose to portray some men-at-arms/mercenary we even thought about going as Danish or Norwegian soldiers.

And lastly if anyone could point to a armorer to make the armour I would be very happy but I am very strict about everything looking historically accurate :)
Looking at historic populations of Iceland, perhaps, there never was a need for armored type warriors as Europe required.
Twelve men with axes and swords could beat Olaf and his seven men with axes and swords. You might well already have the weapons and armor of their day. Population density dictates wealth potential. If no person had enough people under his control, then no one had the wealth to afford European level armor.
But then, I am no expert.
Not 14th, but here is a description of mid 13th c. scandinavian armour http://www.deremilitari.org/resources/sources/kingsmirror.htm
Take note that Johann is in Iceland. Norway, Sweden and Denmark are entirely different.
Historic finds from Iceland and Scandinavia tend to show that the material culture there kept up with the popular trends on the continent quite well. The site of the Battle of Visby in Gotland, Sweden (1361) (Wisby in English) has revealed hundreds of bits of arms and armor which are studied thoroughly for an understanding of all Northern European martial tools. Most of them are highly suggestive of being akin to continental items through art and other surviving artifacts discovered elsewhere.

Look at armor from all over Burgundy, France, England, Germany and the rest of Scandinavia to get a grasp of what you'd likely see a warrior fighting with in Iceland. Pay particular attention to the finds from Visby, where Scandinavian brethren are even more likely to wear similar items. If you want to bump things up 10-30 years, just do cross-referencing with contemporary discoveries, then trace the closest examples geographically. This will likely lead to good conclusions.

Armour from the Battle of Wisby, 1361 There are two volumes in this set... Not sure which this one is. I actually found them online... Can't recall where, though. Hundreds of photos and illustrations available. There are also a ton of websites that you can find information about the armor from Visby.


That one's got a series of reconstructed coats-of-plates(commonly referenced as CoPs), a composite form of cuirass popular throughout the later 14th century in all of Europe. Dozens of examples were discovered at Visby, offering by far the largest glimpse of variety in their construction available for modern research.

There are literally whole books written about this subject, but the 14th century isn't so much my cup of tea and it's time for bed... So, I'll leave it at this for now. Hope I was of some service! Cheers, and good luck with the research.

As already pointed out proffessional soldiers in the Scandinavian kingdoms (knights, house-hold retainers, mercenaries) were equipped in the same manner as on the European continent. Northern Germany in particular had a profound impact on Scandinavian arms and armour.

King Valdemar Atterdag of Denmark (1375):

[ Linked Image ]

His son Duke Christoffer (1363):

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Swedish-German knight Vicke van Vitzen (1407):

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Icelandic depiction of the martyrdom of St Olaf in Flateyarbˇk, ca 1390:


Danish depiction of St Olafs army in Skamstrup church, ca 1380-1400:

[ Linked Image ]

Depiction of a Swedish crusade against the Finns on the sarcophagus of Bishop Henry (d. 1156), early 15th century: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons...iainen.JPG

Two mid-late 14th century Swedish reenactment groups:

Johann, I went to Google, and typed in "Medievel Iceland. The first referance was from Wikipedia which I read. If you go there and read this, particularly the "warfare" section you might get some insite to what you seek.
Johann, I went to Google, and typed in "Medievel Iceland. The first referance was from Wikipedia which I read. If you go there and read this, particularly the "warfare" section you might get some insite to what you seek.

I am aware of that text but the warfare part only talks of things that happen before the 14. century. It talks of the time before Iceland became part of Norway and the Sturlunga era a time of unrest in the country and many battles, and if I remember my history lessons correctly the lords or "Go­ar" and some of their men but the rest were only farmers and their weapons of choice were rocks!

I thank you non the less for taking the time to find all this information!

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