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  • Vikings are some of the most notorious warriors in history.

  • For centuries they terrorized Europe and were dreaded for their savage raiding, pillaging,

  • and conquering.

  • Viking warriors struck terror into the hearts of their enemies with their fearlessness in

  • the face of death, and they were equally feared for their mythical weapons, like the battle

  • axe that fought off an entire English army.

  • Although history remembers the Vikings as a savage group of bloodthirsty fighters, daring

  • raiders and intrepid explorers, in reality, the majority of the Viking people in the middle

  • ages were quiet, simple people, farmers and fur traders who worked tirelessly to eek out

  • a meager living in the harsh northern landscapes of Scandinavia.

  • Things began to change in the 8th century when the first Scandinavian kings appeared

  • in the history books and began to organize their disparate people into more centrally-controlled

  • communities.

  • The Viking Age officially kicked off at the end of the century in 793 A.D., and the following

  • 3 centuries would be characterized by extensive sea travel and countless raiding expeditions

  • to foreign lands.

  • The Viking explorers were certainly open to trade, but more often than not they would

  • simply take what they wanted during their barbaric raids, returning home with mountains

  • of treasure like silver bowls and goblets taken from unlucky victims, bejeweled crosses

  • stolen from coastal monasteries, and even human slaves to be taken back to Scandinavia

  • and put to work.

  • The Vikings' main goal, however, was to conquer new lands and expand their empire

  • with new - and better - lands for the Viking people to settle on.

  • To this end, the Vikings explored far and wide, raiding the coastal areas throughout

  • Europe, discovering the remote lands of Greenland and Iceland, and even crossing the ocean to

  • reach the Eastern coast of Canada many centuries before Columbus would claim to havediscovered

  • the new world.

  • As the Viking Age wore on and the Vikings spread throughout the world, their wealth

  • and power grew and the Vikings became a much-feared spectre in the minds of European peasants

  • and nobility alike.

  • The Vikings' already strong reverence for their warriors only grew during the pinnacle

  • of the Viking Age, giving rise to the mysterious warrior cults that still intrigue us to this

  • day.

  • Legends of Viking Berserkers have survived through the ages - tales of lone warriors,

  • naked but for an animal skin, fighting ferociously and without fear, often taking psychedelic

  • drugs to block pain and fear and allow them to destroy anyone foolish enough to cross

  • them.

  • Perhaps the best known of the Viking warriors, the Berkerskers were said to have donned nothing

  • but a bear skin for battle and worshipped Thor, Tyr and Odin, the old Norse gods of

  • war and justice.

  • Berserkers were often used as shock troops, sent into battle to terrorize the enemy.

  • Their power was as much psychological as it was physical - enemies were terrified by the

  • Berserkers' violent rage and total lack of fear.

  • Their battle cry was to violently bite down on their wooden shields, and Berserkers were

  • said to have ripped off their tunics in the heat of battle to fight naked, demonstrating

  • their lack of concern for their own safety and horrifying their enemies with their bloodlust.

  • The Vikings may have been considered primitive and barbaric by the more cultured European

  • peoples that they terrorized and conquered, but their weapons and fighting style were

  • cutting edge.

  • The Vikings possessed some of the most advanced ship-building technology in existence at the

  • time - their longships were narrow and deep, capable of holding up to 40 people and mountains

  • of supplies or booty, and were perfect for both crossing the open seas and sailing up

  • shallow rivers in search of settlements to plunder.

  • Weapons were an essential part of daily Viking life and were indispensable for self-defence

  • and plundering raids.

  • Viking warriors did not wear chainmail, as the delicate metal would have rusted during

  • soggy coastal raids, but this actually worked in their favor - their lack of protective

  • gear gave them a fearless appearance and terrified the populations that the Vikings attacked

  • and raided.

  • Instead, the Viking relied on their infamous shields as their main defensive weapon, often

  • standing shoulder to shoulder and overlapping their shields to form a formidable shield

  • wall.

  • Oddly enough, although the stereotypical Viking is often depicted in modern media as wearing

  • a horned helmet, archeologists have found very little evidence of these helmets and

  • many experts believe they were less common than we thought.

  • As far as offensive weapons went, Vikings employed a wide variety of weapons that were

  • common throughout Europe at the time, like bows and arrows, lances and spears.

  • The most elite Vikings carried swords, which were more costly to make, but common Viking

  • warriors mainly used the notorious Viking broad axe.

  • These more common axes were hardly a subpar weapon - they were one of the most recognizable

  • of the Viking weapons and just the sight of a fierce Viking warrior carrying a bloody

  • battle axe was enough to strike fear into the hearts of defending armies.

  • A typical Viking battle axe was a large, 2-handed weapon.

  • Archeologists have unearthed ancient axes with wide, thin blades, featuring distinctive

  • horns at either end and a razor sharp cutting edge nearly 10 inches long.

  • The blade itself would have been reasonably light, weighing around 28 ounces, and they

  • were forged using a complicated process that yielded a thin but strong blade, and incorporated

  • a stronger type of steel along the blade's edge.

  • The blade would have been attached to the handle with a brass band, which would have

  • shone like gold in the sun on the battlefield.

  • The shaft itself would have been between 3 and 4 feet long, giving the weapon a large

  • lethal range.

  • Viking battle axes were truly impressive and intimidating weapons, especially when wielded

  • by a fearless - and possibly naked - Viking Berserker.

  • After centuries of raiding and pillaging and countless bloody battles, many Vikings had

  • settled on English soil and lived, somewhat uneasily, alongside their English neighbours

  • - Vikings had even infiltrated the Anglo-Saxon nobility who ruled England by the 11th century.

  • But things were far from peaceful, and before long, tensions would come to a head in a violent

  • clash between the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons that would mark the end of the Viking Age.

  • In January, 1066, the English King Edward the Confessor died without an heir, throwing

  • England into turmoil.

  • Harold Godwinson, the Earl of Wessex and a descendant of the Vikings, was named the new

  • King of England, but he faced stiff competition for his crown.

  • Not only did he have to worry about an invasion from the South by the French, but he also

  • had fierce enemies among theVikings.

  • King Harold of England had earned the lifelong hatred of his own brother, Tostig Godwinson,

  • when he helped to have Tostig ousted from his position as Earl of Northumbria, and Tostig

  • wanted revenge for the slight.

  • Tostig formed an alliance with another King Harald, the Norwegian Viking King known by

  • his nickname, Hadrada, which meanthard rulerin Old Norse.

  • Tostig agreed to help Hadrada conquer England in return for being restored to his Earldom

  • if they were successful.

  • Tostig and Hadrada crossed the North Sea with 300 Viking longships and more than 11,000

  • Viking warriors, sailed up the Humber River and occupied the region of York.

  • As the Vikings wreaked havoc on the people of York and solidified their hold over the

  • area, King Harold of England had a tough choice to make - would he stay in London and prepare

  • for the inevitable invasion from the South, or would he travel North to deal with Viking

  • invaders?

  • Not one to sit around and wait, the English King roused his army and headed North to meet

  • the Vikings.

  • On September 25, 1066, the Bloody Battle of Stamford Bridge would mark the end of the

  • Viking Age and the last time that Vikings attempted to conquer England - but it was

  • by no means an easy fight for the English.

  • The Vikings were not aware that King Harold, expecting threats to his crown, had already

  • assembled his army, so they were taken completely by surprise when the English army appeared

  • on the crest of the hill overlooking the Stamford Bridge, near where the Vikings had made their

  • camp.

  • As the English army swept down the hill towards them, many of the Viking warriors found themselves

  • trapped on the West bank of the river, and some had even left their weapons and armor

  • on the ships, not expecting to face an attacking army so soon.

  • As the Vikings scrambled to cross the narrow bridge to reach the safety of the East bank,

  • the English army brutally slaughtered those caught on the West bank.

  • Despite this early success, it would not be a swift victory for the English.

  • The Vikings still had a secret weapon up their sleeves - a battle axe that fought off the

  • entire English army.

  • According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, an ancient historical text and one of the only

  • sources from the period that survive to this day, the English army was nearly defeated

  • by a single Viking soldier and his fearsome battle axe.

  • As the surviving Vikings scrambled back over the bridge, the English army made to follow

  • them and finish the job they had started.

  • But the English soldiers had to cross the narrow Stamford bridge to reach the Vikings

  • on the other side, and they quickly found their way blocked by a terrifying sight.

  • As the English army bottlenecked at the edge of the river waiting to cross the bridge,

  • a single Viking warrior had taken hold of the bridge and blocked their passage.

  • The Viking Berserker must have looked fierce to the English soldiers, standing alone on

  • the bridge facing an entire army, clothed in nothing but animal skins and carrying only

  • a single weapon - a lethal Viking battle axe.

  • As wave after wave of English soldiers attempted to cross the bridge, the fearless Viking cut

  • them down one by one with his axe, buying the Vikings enough time to arm themselves

  • and regroup on the East bank.

  • Eventually, a brave English soldier climbed into a half-barrel upstream, and floated down

  • the river towards the bridge.

  • As he floated under the bridge where the mighty Viking stood, he pushed his spear up through

  • the planks in the bridge and killed the fearsome Viking warrior, but not before he had single

  • handedly slaughtered 40 men.

  • Emboldened by their warrior's sacrifice, the Vikings on the East bank had formed a

  • shield wall and were ready to meet the English when they finally crossed the river.

  • At first, it looked as though the tide was turning in favor of the Vikings, but they

  • took a serious blow when King Hadrada was killed by an arrow to the throat.

  • The English King offered his brother peace, but Tostig, intent on his revenge, refused.

  • Tostig was ultimately killed in the battle, and some sources say that it was his own brother

  • who killed him by cutting off his head.

  • The Vikings were defeated, having lost thousands of warriors, and they returned to Norway with

  • just 24 of their 300 boats.

  • The Vikings would never again attempt to conquer England, and the Viking Age was over.

  • The fighting at Stamford bridge was so severe that, 50 year later, chroniclers wrote that

  • a great mountain of dead mans' bones still lay on the battlefield.

  • King Harold may have won this battle, but the war for his crown was far from over, and

  • though he didn't know it at the time of his victory against the Vikings, King Harold's

  • days were numbered.

  • Just 3 short weeks later, the Norman Invasion by William the Conqueror would mark the end

  • of King Harold and the Anglo-Saxons, too, forever changing the face of England.

  • The Viking Age may have come to a bloody end at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, but in true

  • Viking style, it went out the way it came in - with bloody violence, fearless warriors

  • and mythical weapons.

  • The legends of the ferocious Viking Warriors and the battle axe that fought off the entire

  • English army have survived through the ages and still fascinate us today.

  • If you thought this video was fascinating, be sure and check out our other videos, like

  • this one calledWhy Were Vikings So Much Better At Fighting?”, or perhaps you'll

  • like this other video instead.

  • As always, thanks for watching, and don't forget to like, share and subscribe!

  • See you next time!

Vikings are some of the most notorious warriors in history.

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Battle Axe That Fought Off Entire English Army

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/03/18
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