Viking Helmets: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Viking helmets.

  • Most Viking helmets were very simple. They commonly consisted of just a bowl and a nose guard.
  • Although most people think Vikings wore horned helmets, most historians agree that they didn’t.
  • The bowl of a Viking helmet was made from several pieces of iron joined together with rivets.
  • A band of iron circled the bowl and two other bands crossed at the top of the helmet, and the four openings created were filled with iron plates, creating the bowl shape.
  • Sometimes hardened leather was used instead of iron plate. This was much cheaper, but obviously offered less protection.
  • The nose guard was riveted to the bowl.
  • It is thought that a Viking helmet had a leather layer inside the bowl, and it is also believed that sheepskin may have been used as a liner as well.
  • Many historians believe that Viking helmets had leather chinstraps to keen them in place during battle.
  • Some Vikings helmets had chain mail curtains to provide greater protection to the neck. Other helmets had cheek protectors made from iron plates.
  • It is estimated that Viking helmets weighed between 2kg and 4kg. Viking warriors often wore their helmets all day long.
  • Iron was expensive during the Viking era. As a result, not all Viking warriors could afford to wear a helmet.
  • Helmets were prized possessions. They were often repaired and passed down the generations from father to son.
  • Viking helmets were not able to protect the wearer from powerful blows. Viking axes, spear tips and sword thrusts could all penetrate a Viking helmet.
  • It is thought that Viking warriors marked their helmets in some way before battles to indicate who they were fighting for.

What next? Find out more about the Vikings by visiting our Vikings resources page.

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