Drawings of Anglo-Saxons


Drawings of objects

Anglo-Saxon Weapons

Warfare was a part of Anglo-Saxon life. Warriors were seen as important people. Only men carried weapons, however women would have probably used any available weapons to defend their homes.

What weapons did the Anglo-Saxons use?

Knives, called aseax by the Anglo-Saxons, would have been one of the most basic weapons, that most people would have carried. However they were mainly used as tools and for eating, rather than as weapons.

Warrior drawn by Luke age 8
Luke age 8
Axes, called aex or aesc by the Anglo-Saxons, were another tool which could have been used as a weapons. Some axes were designed to be weapons. A warrior using an axe would probably also have carried a shield for protection. An axe was used in close hand-to-hand combat.
Spears, called spere, ord, aesc, sceaft or gar by the Anglo-Saxons, were a relatively common weapon. They were often over 2 metres long and could have been used for hunting and warfare. According to Anglo-Saxon laws, every freeman should have had a spear.
Spearhead drawn by Tommy age 10
Tommy age 10
Shield drawn by Matthew age 10
Matthew age 10

Shield bosses are often found in Anglo-Saxon male graves. They would have formed the centre of a wooden shield, which a handle behind.

iron shield grip from Abingdon

Shields were carried to protect warriors and were used with weapons such as axes, swords and short spears.

Swords were called sweord, secg, heoru, and ecg by the Anglo-Saxons. Not many people would have had a sword because they were hard to make and expensive objects. So someone who had a sword was probably quite important.

Click here to find out more about swords.

Sword drawn by Chelsea age 10
Chelsea age 10
Helmets and chain mail would have been worn by the most important and richest Anglo-Saxon warriors. These would have given them more protection than most most warriors would have had.
Helmet drawn by Tommy age 10
Tommy age 10
Bow drawn by Amber
Amber age 8
The bow was also used by Anglo-Saxons. Bows and arrows were probably used more for hunting than warfare. Bows are rarely found by archaeologists because they rot in the ground. Metal arrowheads are sometimes found but not often in Anglo-Saxon graves.

We know what weapons Anglo-Saxons used because they were buried them in graves. They are also shown in images, such as on the Bayeaux Tapestry.

Weapons were worn to show a man's position in Anglo-Saxon society as much as a for killing people. In fact warfare was not really that common in Anglo-Saxon society.

Find out more about Viking weapons and what happened when the Saxons met the Vikings.