Varganing Guard-Artist Impression. The "Varangians" were battle hardened norse traders, who on their long journey down to Byzantium (modern day Turkey), had to fight against a lot of pirates, and thieves, who wanted to steal their goods. The Emperors of Constantinople hired them as their personal guards. The most famous one was Harald Sigurdson Hardrada.
Viking warriors, had to be vigilant all the time... After all, Charlemagne, the emperor of the Franks, and the Pope, had declared a war of total annihilation against them... because they were free pagans, and not tax slaves to the Vatican, and the political christian authorities!!!
Odin and Fenris (1909) by Dorothy Hardy. In both the Poetic Edda and Prose Edda, Fenrir is the father of the wolves Sköll and Hati Hróðvitnisson, is a son of Loki, and is foretold to kill the god Odin during the events of Ragnarök, but will in turn be killed by Odin's son Víðarr.
The Varangian Guards were Viking mercenaries who operated far beyond their native shores as an elite force within the Byzantine Armies. Descendants from a legendary line of warriors, the Varangian Guard was formed after a group of Viking mercenaries made a major contribution to the Byzantine Emperor Basil II’s victory over rebel forces in 988 AD
A Danish thegn attacks a Saxon freeman with his sword. Fyrd - The fyrd, were the freeman peasant levy (conscripts) that made up the bulk of warriors in north Germanic cultures. Usually they were armed with nothing but a spear, seax (long knife), and helmet. Single handed axes, and throwing axes (francesca) were common too. Body armor and true swords were reserved for thegns (Saxon: Thane) - the progenitors of the knightly class. -DK