Skip to content

Viking Atgeirr: Reevaluating the Origins of European Firearms

See Dr. Crawford’s video here: />
Update: Old English specialist Simon Roper has some fascinating insight into the Old English derivation of “atgierr” as well:

“Men of Terror: A Comprehensive Analysis of Viking Combat” by Reynir Óskarson and William Short is available on Amazon:

My helmet was generously provided by Grimfrost:

I have been privileged to be part of an original research project in collaboration with Dr. Jackson Crawford studying the early medieval origins of firearms in Europe. Studying manuscripts in the National Museum of Iceland, Dr. Crawford unearthed records of events that point to the accidental discovery of gunpowder during the Settlement Period on Iceland. Further study has revealed that the “atgeirr” references in some Icelandic sagas is, in fact, a long-forgotten early firearm. Consider, from Njal’s Saga:

“Hallgrímr had an atgeirr which he had ordered enchanted with dark magic, so that no weapon could kill him except for it. The enchantment also caused men to know right away when the weapon was used to kill someone, because the weapon would sing before it killed, so that it was heard far away. This was the great magic in the weapon.”

With the help of two craftsmen I recreated what we believe an atgeirr would have looked like, and took it out to the range. Lo and behold, it worked even better than we could have anticipated! It was truly an honor to be a part of this groundbreaking research.

Cool Forgotten Weapons merch!

Forgotten Weapons
6281 N. Oracle 36270
Tucson, AZ 85740

Leave a Reply