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How did the Saxons fight?

Updated: 8/22/2023
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15y ago

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I'm surprised no one else has answered, but of all my readings of Anglo-Saxon history the principal weapon was the spear. This was not unique to the Anglo-Saxons but was true of most north Germanic nations who adopted the battle strategy of the 'shield-wall'. The sword was also an important weapon and one that was highly treasured being the most expensive to have made and often worn as an heirloom. A reading of the poetry seems to indicate that although the spear was the main weapon, the sword was utilised on a personal level or when the spear was 'shattered'. The other often unmentioned weapon was the 'scramasaex'. This was essentially a long knife or short sword, often inscribed with runes and in rare cases made from a pattern welded blade which is more usually associated with swords. They did use bows and arrows though no great mention is ever made of it and also a small throwing axe known as a 'francisca', pronounced 'frankisher' after the Frankish weapon.

A reading of any translation of the Anglo-Saxon poem 'The Battle of Maldon' will furnish details of the contemporary weapons, tactics and mindset of those particular warriors. A very fine translation can be found in 'Earliest English Poems; trans. Michael Alexander, Penguin Classics,.

A very good starting point for all things Anglo-Saxon is 'Anglo-Saxon England' by F.M. Stenton, Oxford University Press.

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1y ago
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13y ago

I'm surprised no one else has answered, but of all my readings of Anglo-Saxon history the principal weapon was the spear. This was not unique to the Anglo-Saxons but was true of most north Germanic nations who adopted the battle strategy of the 'shield-wall'. The sword was also an important weapon and one that was highly treasured being the most expensive to have made and often worn as an heirloom. A reading of the poetry seems to indicate that although the spear was the main weapon, the sword was utilised on a personal level or when the spear was 'shattered'. The other often unmentioned weapon was the 'scramasaex'. This was essentially a long knife or short sword, often inscribed with runes and in rare cases made from a pattern welded blade which is more usually associated with swords. They did use bows and arrows though no great mention is ever made of it and also a small throwing axe known as a 'francisca', pronounced 'frankisher' after the Frankish weapon.

A reading of any translation of the Anglo-Saxon poem 'The Battle of Maldon' will furnish details of the contemporary weapons, tactics and mindset of those particular warriors. A very fine translation can be found in 'Earliest English Poems; trans. Michael Alexander, Penguin Classics,.

A very good starting point for all things Anglo-Saxon is 'Anglo-Saxon England' by F.M. Stenton, Oxford University Press.

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15y ago

On foot, with sword and shield or axe and shield

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12y ago

the Saxons made their weapons by using stuff

the Saxons made their weapons by using stuff

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12y ago

with rock tools

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Q: How did the Saxons fight?
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