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Danish axe

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The Danish long axe went by many names, including Dane-axe, English long axe, Viking axe, and hafted axe. Originally used by the Northman in Viking times, the Danish axe was a modification of a woodsman's axe that made it an amazingly effective weapon of war. The shaft of the axe was usually between 4 and 6 feet long, and quite heavy. The blade itself, while large, was reasonably light and ground very thin making it superb for cutting. Although the name retains its Viking heritage, the Danish axe became widely used throughout Europe through the 13th century. In addition to the Vikings, the Franks, and the formerly Danish occupied Saxons of England adopted the use of the Dane-axe. Specifically the huscarles were known for wielding this monstrous weapon of war, and there are ivory carvings of Byzantine Varangian guard carrying axes as tall as men. The axes used by the Huscarl bodyguards of King Harold at the Battle of Hastings, though relatively small, showed the power of this weapon. They were swung aroung the wielder's head before being brought down on the enemy, and (it is claimed) could cut through a Norman knight and his horse with one blow.
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This Day in History
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