Maya Weapons: The Atlatl and Obsidian Dart

The Maya utilized a Stone Age weapon called the Atlatl that matched Spaniard armor. Even though the Maya had and utilized missile technology, such as bows and arrows, the atlatl, blowguns and spear, most combat occurred at close range with hand to hand weapons. Missile weapons were not heavily relied upon because the goal was not to kill your enemy, but capture him if you could (to be later sacrificed to the gods). Weapons that were used by the Maya were crafted mostly from materials such as obsidian and chert, instead…

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Devastating Viking Weapons: The Dane Ax

One of the more popular battle axes used by the Norse was the Dane Ax (Danish Ax). It was an ax that consisted of a wide, thin blade that was ‘pronounced’ at both the toe and heel of the bit with the toe swept inward for better shearing power. The cutting surface of the Danish battle ax varied between 20 centimeters to 30 centimeters (8 to 12 inches) and the average weight was around one kilogram to two kilograms (two to four pounds). It was lightweight and resembled more of…

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Less Commonly Known Viking Weapons – The Atgeir

The Atgeir was a ‘spear-like spear’ that was used before and through the Viking Age. One reference to the atgeir comes from Icelandic Sagas about the Viking hero Gunnar Hámundarson whom used an atgeir in Njál’s Saga that would “sing” by making a ringing sound when it anticipated ‘bloodshed’ when it was used in battle. Gunnar was a great warrior.  He is described as being nearly invincible in combat. According to Njál’s Saga, he was a powerful, athletic man “capable of jumping his own height in full body armor, both back and…

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The Vikings never had Horns on their Helms

One of the most common stereotypes associated with “Vikings” is that they wore horned helms. The other most common misconception is calling them “Vikings,” but that is another argument. Viking was something they did, not who they were.  They were the Norse and went viking. Norse helms never had horns on them. Contrary to the popular belief that Vikings wore horned helmets, there is no evidence that this ever happened. The horned and winged helmets were an invention of 19th century art and theater. If you think about it, as cool as a…

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