4 Legendary Viking Swords & Norse Weapons

Viking swords and Norse weapons are iconic artifacts that defined the martial prowess and cultural identity of the Norse people during the Viking Age (8th to 11th centuries).

Viking swords were typically double-edged, straight, and well-balanced, crafted with precision by skilled blacksmiths. These weapons often featured intricate hilt designs and were symbols of status, used in both battle and as revered possessions. Additionally, axes, spears, and seaxes (single-edged knives) were integral to Viking weaponry, reflecting the versatility required in their harsh environment.

Norse weapons were not just instruments of war; they held deep symbolic and mythological significance, often tied to legendary tales of gods and heroes. The craftsmanship of these weapons, coupled with their role in Norse society, highlights the rich historical and cultural legacy of Viking weaponry.

List of Legendary Viking Weapons

The Ulfberht sword, Torana via Wikimedia Commons

The Ulfberht swords are exceptional Viking weapons renowned for their superior craftsmanship during the late 8th to early 11th centuries. Characterized by a distinct inscription, “Ulfberht,” on the blade, these swords signaled exceptional quality and advanced metallurgical techniques for their time. The numeric inscription, “±ᚢᛚᚠᛒᛅᚱᚸᚺᛏ±” or similar variations, added an element of mystique.

These swords featured high-carbon steel, making them remarkably strong and resilient. Their blades were produced using a sophisticated technique called pattern welding, involving the combination of soft and hard steel for flexibility and sharpness.

Ulfberht swords were likely created by skilled craftsmen in specialized workshops, indicating a level of technological prowess rare in the Viking Age. The legacy of the Ulfberht swords endures as a testament to the advanced metallurgical knowledge and exceptional craftsmanship of the Norse people.

NameUlfberht sword
Time PeriodLate 8th to early 11th centuries
InscriptionDistinct “Ulfberht” or similar numeric variations
MaterialHigh-carbon steel, indicating advanced metallurgy
CraftsmanshipPattern welding technique for strength and sharpness

Gram, also known as Balmung, is a legendary Norse sword steeped in myth and folklore. Crafted by the legendary swordsmith Wayland the Smith, this mythical weapon boasts exceptional strength and magical properties.

Gram gained renown as the dragon-slaying weapon of the hero Sigurd (Siegfried). Its blade, inscribed with runes, possessed the ability to cut through iron and stone. Weighing over 10 pounds, Gram was a formidable two-edged sword, measuring about 38 inches in length. The sword played a pivotal role in the Norse saga of Sigurd, where he used it to slay the mighty dragon Fafnir.

Beyond its physical attributes, Gram holds a significant place in Norse mythology, embodying heroism and the triumph of good over evil. The tales of Gram’s creation and its feats in battle contribute to its enduring legacy in Norse lore.

NameGram (also known as Balmung)
Legendary ForDragon-slaying, associated with the hero Sigurd
CraftsmanWayland the Smith, a renowned Norse mythical blacksmith
Physical AttributesA two-edged sword, over 10 pounds, approximately 38 inches in length
Magical PropertiesCapable of cutting through iron and stone, inscribed with powerful runes
King Svafrlame Secures the Sword Tyrfing, Lorenz Frølich via Wikimedia Commons

Tyrfing, a legendary Norse sword, is shrouded in a dark curse, making it a compelling figure in Norse mythology. Forged by the skilled dwarves Dvalin and Durin, Tyrfing is known for its intricate craftsmanship and malevolent reputation.

This cursed sword is characterized by its dual edges and a length of approximately 36 inches. Despite its exceptional design, Tyrfing brought tragedy to its wielders. The curse, unleashed by the dwarves’ grudge, compelled the sword to take lives, including that of its creator, Svafrlami, and his descendants.

The cursed nature of Tyrfing is a cautionary tale in Norse lore, underscoring the consequences of meddling with supernatural forces. This mythical sword, with its blend of exquisite craftsmanship and tragic destiny, adds a layer of complexity to the rich tapestry of Norse legends.

Forged byDvalin and Durin, skilled dwarven blacksmiths
Physical AttributesDual-edged sword, approximately 36 inches in length
CurseInfamous for a curse that led to tragic consequences, including the deaths of its wielders, such as Svafrlami and his descendants
OriginForged in Norse mythology, part of legendary tales warning of the perils associated with supernatural gifts

Gungnir, Odin’s mighty spear, is a symbol of divine power and authority in Norse mythology. Crafted by the skilled dwarves known as the Sons of Ivaldi, Gungnir is distinguished by its magical properties and unwavering accuracy.

This mythical weapon is approximately 8 feet long, featuring intricate details in its design. The spearhead never misses its mark, a testament to its supernatural attributes. Odin, the All-Father, frequently wielded Gungnir in battles and conflicts, relying on its potency as a symbol of his sovereignty.

Beyond its physical prowess, Gungnir embodies the cosmic order in Norse cosmology, representing the connection between the divine and mortal realms. The numerical information emphasizes its considerable length, underscoring its significance as a divine instrument in the hands of the chief of the Aesir gods.

CraftsmanCrafted by the Sons of Ivaldi, skilled dwarven blacksmiths
LengthApproximately 8 feet
Magical PropertiesUnerring accuracy, the spearhead never misses its mark
SymbolismEmblematic of divine power, wielded by Odin, the All-Father, in battles, and representing cosmic order in Norse cosmology

Comparison of Legendary Weapons

Gram, Tyrfing, and Gungnir – unveil a fascinating interplay of strengths, weaknesses, and unique characteristics that define their mythological significance.

Gram, the dragon-slaying sword, stands out for its exceptional strength and magical properties. Its ability to cut through iron and stone, coupled with its association with the hero Sigurd, highlights its heroic and mythical attributes.

Tyrfing, on the other hand, is distinguished by its cursed nature. Crafted by dwarves Dvalin and Durin, Tyrfing’s tragic legacy involves a curse that brings misfortune and death to its wielders, emphasizing the darker side of Norse mythology.

Gungnir, Odin’s spear, introduces a different dynamic. While not a sword, its magical properties and unerring accuracy make it a powerful symbol of divine authority and cosmic order in Norse cosmology.

In comparing these legendary weapons, Gram’s strength, Tyrfing’s curse, and Gungnir’s divine symbolism showcase the diverse and nuanced roles these artifacts play in Norse myths, contributing to the rich tapestry of Norse folklore and heroism.

History of Viking Weapons

The history of Viking weapons is a compelling journey through the evolution of arms during the Viking Age (8th to 11th centuries). Viking weaponry was diverse, reflecting the strategic needs of these seafaring people who navigated a world of raids, battles, and exploration.

Early Viking Weapons: In the early Viking Age, weapons were relatively simple. The typical Viking warrior carried a round shield, a spear, and a seax, a single-edged knife. Swords were a luxury reserved for the elite due to the high cost of production.

Transition to Swords: As Viking society prospered through trade and raids, the availability of resources increased. This led to a shift towards more sophisticated weaponry, with swords becoming more common. These swords were double-edged and had tapered points, ideal for both slashing and thrusting.

Axes and Spears: Axes were also popular Viking weapons, ranging from small hand axes to larger, two-handed battle axes. The versatility of axes made them effective for both close combat and throwing. Spears were widely used, especially in formations during battles, providing reach and maneuverability.

Innovations in Swordsmithing: Viking swords were prized possessions with intricate hilts and pattern-welded blades. Skilled blacksmiths used advanced techniques, including pattern welding, to create swords with sharp edges and resilient cores. Swords were often adorned with religious symbols, showcasing the cultural and spiritual significance of these weapons.

Symbolism and Cultural Significance: Viking weapons held not only practical value but also deep cultural symbolism. Swords, in particular, represented status and honor. They were often handed down through generations, becoming family heirlooms and symbols of lineage.


Viking swords and Norse weapons epitomize the dynamic evolution of weaponry during the Viking Age.

From humble tools to sophisticated swords like Gram, Tyrfing’s cursed legacy, and the divine Gungnir, these weapons embody the cultural, spiritual, and martial facets of Norse society. Symbolic of status and lineage, each weapon, adorned with intricate designs, reflects the resilience of a people who navigated both seas and battles.

Archaeological discoveries enrich our understanding, preserving these artifacts as tangible links to a bygone era. The legacy of Viking weaponry persists, encapsulating the ingenuity and identity of a society etched into the annals of history.


What are Viking swords called?

Viking swords, including notable examples like the Ulfberht swords, are collectively referred to as Viking swords or Norse swords.

Are there any real Viking swords left?

Yes, authentic Viking swords still exist. Archaeological finds and preserved artifacts provide tangible glimpses into the Norse weaponry of old.

What made Viking swords so strong?

Viking swords were strong due to high-quality iron, skilled craftsmanship, and advanced techniques like pattern welding, creating resilient and effective weapons.

How were Viking swords and axes made?

Viking swords and axes were made by skilled blacksmiths who used a combination of heating, hammering, and shaping to create the final product.

What was the most powerful Viking sword?

The Ulfberht swords are considered among the most powerful Viking swords, known for their high-quality steel and superior craftsmanship.