Axes, swords, knives and short bows

The men looked at him, tense, hunched over, weapons ready, angry.
Forkbeard then, grinning,  slung his ax over his left shoulder, dropping it into the broad leather  loop by which it may be carried, its head behind his head and to the left. This  
loop is fixed in a broad leather belt worn from the left shoulder to the right  hip, fastened there by a hook , that the weight of the ax will not turn the belt,  which fits into a
ring in the otherwise unarmed, carry a knife at their master  belt. All men of Torvaldsland, incidentally, even if otherwise unarmed, carry a knife at their master belt. The
sword, when carried, and it often  is, is commonly supported might be mentioned, the common Gorean practice. It  can also, of course, be hung, by its sheath and sheath
straps, form the master  belt, which is quite adequate, being a stout heavy belt, to hold it. It is  called the master belt, doubtless, to distinguish it from the ax belt and the  
sword belt, and because it is, almost always worn. A pouch, of course, and  other accoutrements my hang, too, from it. Gorean garments, generally, do not  contain pockets.
Some say the master belt gets its name be cause it is used  sometimes in the disciplining of bond-maids. This seems to be a doubtful origin  for the name.  It is true,
however, questions of the origin of the name aside, that bond-maids,  stripped, are often taught obedience under its lash. Marauders of Gor, page 50 - 51
Eight held bows,  with arrows at the string; none had dared to approach the ship; the short bow of  the Gorean north, with its short, heavy arrows, heavily headed, lacks
the range  and power of the peasant bow of the south, that now, too, the property of the  rencers of the delta, but, at short range, within a hundred yards, in can  
administer a considerable strike. It has, too, the advantage that it is more  manageable at close quarters than a peasant now, resembling somewhat the Tuchuk  bow of
layered horn in this respect. It is more useful in closer combat on a  ship, for example, than would be the peasant bow. Too, it is easier to fire  through a thole port, the oar,
withdrawn. The two other men stood ready with  knives to cut the mooring ropes. Marauders of Gor, page 52-53


The helmets of the  north are commonly conical, with a nose-guard, that can slip up and down. At the  neck and sides, attached by rings, usually hangs a mantle of linked
chain. The  helmet of Thorgard himself, however, covered his neck and sides of his face. It  was horned. Their shields, like those of Torvaldsland, are circular, and of  wood.
The spear points are large and heavy, of tapered, socketed bronze, some  eighteen inches in length. Many too, carried axes. Marauders of Gor, page 73

Sheilds and spears

"Welcome to the hall  of Ivar Forkbeard," he had said. I had washed my hands and face in the bowl,  held by the master of the house himself, and dried myself on the towel.
Then  invited within I had been seated across the hall, he had given me a long  swirling cloak of the fur of the sea sleen; a bronze-headed spear; a shield of  painted wood,
reinforced with bosses of iron; the shield was red in color, the  bosses were enameled yellow; a helmet, conical, of iron, with hanging chain, and  a steel nosepiece, that
might be raised and lowered in its bands; and, too, a shirt and trousers of skin; and, too, a broad ax, formed in the fashion of  Torvaldsland, large, curved, single-bladed; and
four rings of gold, that might  be worn on the arm. Marauders of Gor, page 96

Fighting with the ax

There are many tricks  in the use of the ax; feints are often used, and short strokes; and the handle,  jabbing and punching; a full swing, of course, should it miss, exposes
the  warrior; certain elementary stratagems might be mentioned; the following are  typical; it is pretended to have taken a full swing, even to the cry of the  kill, but the
swing is held short and not followed through; The antagonist then,  if unwary, may rush forward, and be taken, the ax turned, off guard. By the back  cut, from the left right;
sometimes, it is possible, too, if the opponent  carries his shield too high, to step to the left, and, with a looping stroke,  cut off the shield arm; a low stoke, too, can be
dangerous, for the human foot,  as swift as a sapling, may be struck away; defensively, of course, if one can  lure the full stroke and yet escape it, one has an instant to
press the  advantage; this is sometimes done by seeming to expose more of the body then one  wary to the ax might, that to tempt the antagonist, he thinking he is
dealing  with an unskilled foe, to prematurely commit the weight of his body to a full  blow. The ax of Torvaldsland is one of the most fearful of the weapons of Gor.  If one
can get behind the ax, of course, one can meet it; but it is not easy to  get behind the ax of one who knows its use; he need only strike one blow; he is  not lively to launch it
until it is assured if its target. Marauders of Gor,  page 101-102

Shield bearers in a duel

He  grinned. "I approve you," said he, "as the champion of Hrolf of Inlet of Green  Cliffs." Then he said to me, "As you are the champion of the challenged, it is  your right to
strike the first blow."
I  tapped the shield of Bjarni of Thorstein Camp, it held by another ruffian from  his camp, with the point of my sword.
"It is struck," I said.
With a cry of rage the shield bearer of Bjarni of Thorstein Camp rushed at me,  to thrust me back, stumbling, hopefully to put me off my balance, for the  following stroke of
his swordsman.
I stepped to one side. The shield bearers charge carried him almost tot he hazel  wands. Bjarni, sword high, had followed him. I now stood beside Bjarni, the  small sword at
his neck. He turned white. "Let us try again," I said. Quickly he  fled back, and was joined by his shield bearer. In the second charge, though I  do not know if it were elegant
or not, given the properties of the formal duel,  I tripped the shield bearer. One is not supposed to slay the shield bearer but,  as far as I knew, tripping, though perhaps not
in the best of form, was  acceptable. I had, at any rate, seen it done in an earlier match. And, as I  expected, neither of the referees warned me of an infraction. I gathered,
from  the swift looks on their faces, that they had thought it rather neatly done,  though they are supposed to be objective in such matters. The fellow went  sprawling.
Bjarni, quite wisely, he obviously brighter than his shield bearer,  had not followed him so closely this time, but had hung back. Our swords met  twice, and then I was under
his guard, the point of my sword under his chin.  "Shall we try again?" I asked.
The shield bearer leaped to his feet. "Let us fight!" he cried.
Bjarni of Thorestein Camp looked at me. "No," he said. "Let us not try again."  He took the point of his sword and made a cut in his own forearm, and held it  out, over the
leather. Drops fell to the leather. "My blood," said Bjarni of  Thorstein Camp, "is on the leather." He sheathed his sword. Marauders of Gor,  page 149-150

Even though Tarl himself uses the long bow, it is very uncommon up north.

I  turned away from her. The target in the shooting was about six inches in width,  at a range of about one hundred yards. With the great bow, the peasant bow, this  is not
difficult work. Many marksmen, warriors, peasants, rencers, could have  matched my shooting. It was, of course, quite unusual in Torvaldsland. I put  twenty sheaf arrows
into the target, until it bristled with wood and the  feathers of the Vosk gull.
When I retrieved my arrows, to the shouting of the men, the pounding of their  bows on their shields, the girl had been already unchained from the block.  Marauders of Gor,
page 167
In their best dress,  the Jarls do have the fancier weapons.
He wore beneath his  cloak yellow wool, and a great belt of glistening black, with a gold buckle, to which was attached a scabbard of oiled, black leather; in this scabbard
was a  sword, a sword of Torvaldsland, a long sword, with a jeweled pommel, with double  guard. Marauders of Gor, page 172
I  want to make a note here that because the norther shields are made of wood,  leather and at times only bound in metal, that they cannot withstand the direct  hit of a Kur
Kurii leapt down the long sides of the hall, slashing, cutting men down as they  fled to their weapons. The wooden shields of Torvaldsland no more stopped the  great axes
than dried skins of larma fruit, stretched on sewing frames, might  have resisted the four-bladed dagger cestus of Anango or the hatchet gauntlet of  eastern Skjern.  
Marauders of Gor, page 205
Two  things here, again we can see that this spear is a big one, it has a bronze tip  and eighteen inches long! At close range it can pierce a southern shield and  here we see
if pierces the body of a Kur.
Near one wall I yanked  a spear free from the hands of a fallen man-at-arms. Momentarily I sickened at  the sight of the exposed lungs, sucking air, the hand scratching at
the wall  beside him. I hurled the spear. It had a shaft of seven foot Gorean, a head of  tapered bronze, some eighteen inches in length. At close range it can pierce a  
southern shield, shatter its point through a seven-inch beam. It passed half  through the body of a Kur. Its ax fell. Marauders of Gor, page 210
Land of the Brave and the Strong. Beware lest you hear the call:
"The men of Torvaldsland are upon you!"
This research is done on the series of books written by John Norman, the comments in italics are mine and my point of view.
Woman of Gor
All rights reserved.
This image was unsigned, but quite beautiful, I am not the
artist behind it and thank whomever took the time to create it.
Longhouses, Buildings and Halls