Beautiful replica of a Viking axe, dated to around the 10 century. Found in the grave of a nobleman – Bjerringhøj – in Mammen, close to Viborg. The original is exhibited in the National Museum.
In the course of the 10th-11th centuries, the Dane axe gained popularity in areas outside Scandinavia where Viking influence was strong, such as England, Ireland and Normandy. Historical accounts depict the Dane axe as the weapon of the warrior elite in this period, such as the Huscarls of Anglo-Saxon England. In the Bayeux tapestry, a visual record of the ascent of William the Conqueror to the throne of England, the axe is almost exclusively wielded by well armoured huscarls. These huscarls formed the core bodyguard of King Harold at the Battle of Hastings. The Bayeux Tapestry also depicts a huscarl cleaving a Norman knight's horse's head with one blow.The Dane axe is also known to have been used by the Varangian Guard, also known as pelekyphoros phroura, the "axe-bearing guard".
In about the 10th century a young Viking called Halfdan, inscribed in the marble colonnade in the great Cathedral Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the words “I was here”. An act worthy of the modern tourist! Halfdan was probably a member of the elite Varangian, who were the personal guard for the Sultans at the time, but what it documents above all else, is how the Vikings over a millenium ago, already then, were comfortably travelling from the North Sea to the Mediterranean and beyond; as seasoned and respected traders and warriors.
Sterling silver pendant.