Did Viking Women Use Axes in Battle? (Norse Female’s Weapons)

Viking women were some of the most feared and respected warriors in the Viking Age. Norse females were not just responsible for raising children, caring for the home, and working in the fields, they were fierce fighters who wielded axes and other weapons in battle, alongside or against men. But did Viking women use axes in battle? How did they learn to fight?

Viking women were known for their strength, courage, and skill in battle. They fought alongside men as shield maidens and regular warriors, and they were skilled in using a variety of weapons, including axes, swords, spears, and shields. Vikings also believed that some of their women were sent by god Odin in the battlefields to choose their slain to guide their souls to Valhalla.

In this article, we will explore the evidence for and against the use of axes by Viking women in battle. We’ll also discuss the different types of axes that Viking women used to raid and fight a war.

Did Viking Women Use Axes in Battle

Did Viking Women Use Axes in Battle?

Yes, Viking women used axes in battle. These Norse women were not limited to the domestic sphere only, they were also known to fight alongside men, showcasing their mettle and wielding weapons, including the iconic Viking battle axe.

There is evidence to support this claim from both archaeological and historical sources. Some archaeologists have found axe heads in female Viking graves, and historical accounts, such as the sagas, tell stories of Viking women using axes in battle.

There are a number of reasons why Viking women may have chosen to use axes. Axes are relatively easy to make and use, and they are effective against both armored and unarmored opponents.

Additionally, axes are versatile weapons that can be used for both chopping and hacking. This would have made them ideal for use in close combat, where Viking women often fought.

One famous Viking woman who was known for using an axe in battle was Freydis Eiriksdottir. According to the sagas, Freydis led a group of Vikings on an expedition to Vinland (now Newfoundland). When the Vikings were attacked by the native Americans, Freydis is said to have fought bravely, using her axe and sword to kill several attackers.

Learn about the famous types of Viking axes and their uses.


How Did Viking Women Use Axes in Battle?

The axe was the weapon of choice and most effective weapon of the Vikings. The Vikings had different kinds of axes, from small hand axes to large two-handed axes. Some axes had long lower edges (like bearded axes) that could hook shields or limbs, and some had wide blades (like Dane axe) that could cause huge wounds.


How Viking Women Learned to Use Axes and Other Weapons

Viking women learned to use a variety of weapons from a young age. They were often trained by their fathers, brothers, husbands, or male friends by taking part in training exercises. Since it was the time of raiding and sea-voyages, many women just learned on their own by copying men while training.

viking women weapons

In Viking society, women were expected to be able to defend themselves and their families while their men were out for hunting, raiding, or fighting a war. Many Norse women used to participate in raiding and warfare because it was a courage and status symbol. And some ladies were also forced to join warriors’ groups when men were outnumbered.


What Were the Norse Women’s Battle Roles and Responsibilities?

In battle, Viking women served as shield maidens, archers, and warriors alongside men. They also played important roles in logistics and support, providing food and medical care to the wounded. Let’s learn how Viking women participated in battle in various scenarios and contexts:


Defending Their Homes

Viking ladies often had to defend their homes, families, children, and village farms from attacks by enemies or rivals, especially when their men were away on raids or expeditions. They used weapons such as axes, knives, or bows to fight off intruders or invaders.


Joining Their Men on Raids

Viking women sometimes accompanied their men, such as husbands, brothers, or male friends on raids, either as warriors or as supporters. They helped with practical matters such as cooking, cleaning, or healing, but they also fought alongside or against men when needed.


Leading Their Own Expeditions

Some Viking women led their own raiding and warfare expeditions, either as commanders or as independent. These women were known as shield maidens, and they were highly respected for their bravery and skill in battle. They organized and directed their own crews of men and women, and they targeted lands or settlements for resources or glory.


Motives and Impacts of Viking Women’s Involvement In Battle

Social Status

Viking women who fought in battle gained a high degree of social status. They also fought in battle to uphold their honor, reputation as brave and strong individuals, and to defend the honor and reputation of their families. They were respected for their bravery and skill in battle.



Who doesn’t love wealth to improve their lifestyle and provide better resources for the kids? And for the same reason, Viking women fought in battle to acquire wealth and resources for themselves or their families. They also fought to increase their status or influence in their society.



Revenge was a common motive to fight a battle in Viking age. Norse women fought in battle to avenge themselves or their loved ones from wrongs or injuries inflicted by enemies or rivals. They also fought to restore justice or balance in their society.


Legal Rights

The female Viking warriors who fiercely participated and fought in battle had a number of legal rights that were not available to other women in Viking society. For example, they could own property and divorce their husbands.



You might think why to risk your life for fame? But Viking women know the importance. They fought in battle to achieve glory and fame as warriors or leaders, and to gain the favor of the gods or the spirits of their ancestors to rest peacefully in Valhalla.



Finally, we have learned that Viking women did use axes in battle. They were not passive or helpless, but fierce and strong. They used axes and other weapons in battle for various reasons and purposes. They learned to fight in different ways and had different outcomes and impacts.

The reason to prefer axes over other weapons was Viking axes were deadly, popular weapon, they were relatively easy to forge and use, cost effect, and they were effective against both armored and unarmored opponents.


Frequently Asked Questions

What weapons did female Vikings use?

Female Vikings used multiple weapons, such as axes, swords, spears, bows, knives, and seaxes. The kind and quality of weapons they had depended on their availability, preference, and social status. Some female Vikings may have also worn shields, helmets, and mail armor for protection.


Did Viking women carry weapons?

Yes, Viking women carried weapons, either for self-defense, raiding, or warfare. According to the Norse laws and sagas, all free Norse men and women had to own weapons and were allowed to carry them at all times.


What did Vikings wear in battle?

Vikings wore different types of clothing and armor in battle, depending on the weather, region, and occasion. They wore layers of thick and coarse woolen and leather clothing to keep warm and protect their bodies. They also wore leather shoes or boots and fur-lined cloaks or coats. Some Vikings wore helmets and mail shirts made of iron rings for extra protection.

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