Very Early - Warriors
Warrior Equipment AD 793-899
A spear is the primary weapon for all warriors, grasped in one hand and used over-arm. A large wooden round shield is the primary form of defence, faced in leather or cloth and with an iron boss covering the centre grip. Additional weapons could include a seax, a large single edged knife; a hand axe, with or without a beard; a langseax, a 45-60cm long single edged knife; or if they are very lucky, a sword. Swords are incredibly expensive and normally only carried by the rich aristocratic warrior class. The seax was carried by the English, both as a status symbol and as a weapon of last resort.
Rich aristocratic warriors are generally better armed and protected. On their head they can wear a domed iron helmet, with a spectacle face plate if they are Vikings. The conical helm is known in mainland Europe and would be classed at the time as ‘cutting edge’ technology. For added protection and as a status symbol, a ‘byrnie’ style of mail shirt is sometimes worn, with or without padding underneath.
Warriors fight on foot and as one unit. Combat starts with exchanges of arrows, javelins and clubs. There are no specific units of 'Archers'. The two shield walls would then advance and engage with spear and shield. Many spears carry pennons and each lord would have with him a banner-man to carry his personal standard.