Jomsviking: The Elite Brotherhood of Viking Mercenaries

Jomsviking: The Elite Brotherhood of Viking Mercenaries

If you’re a fan of Viking history, you’ve likely heard of the Jomsvikings – a legendary brotherhood of elite Viking mercenaries. The Jomsvikings were no ordinary warriors of their time; their reputation for being fearsome, skilled, and fiercely loyal made them a force to be reckoned with. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the origins, code of honor, training, warfare tactics, expeditions, notable leaders, and lasting influence of this renowned Viking brotherhood.

Key Takeaways

  • The Jomsvikings were a renowned brotherhood of elite Viking mercenaries.
  • Their reputation for being skilled, fearsome, and loyal made them a force to be reckoned with.
  • We’ll be exploring their origins, code of honor, training, warfare tactics, expeditions, notable leaders, and lasting influence.

Origins of the Jomsvikings

Welcome to the fascinating world of the Jomsvikings – an elite brotherhood of   renowned for their bravery, loyalty, and unparalleled fighting skills. But where did they come from? What sparked the creation of this legendary group of warriors?

The origins of the Jomsvikings are shrouded in mystery and steeped in legend. According to Norse saga, they were founded in the 10th century by a man named Palnatoke, a legendary warrior who had lost favor with the Danish king and was exiled to Jomsborg, a legendary fortress located in modern-day Poland.

Palnatoke established the Jomsvikings as a brotherhood of elite warriors who lived by a strict code of honor and loyalty, bound by their oath to each other above all else. They became known throughout Scandinavia as fierce mercenaries, willing to fight for the highest bidder.

The foundation of the Jomsvikings was not only based on their fighting skills and dedication to their brotherhood, but also on a strong sense of community and religious faith. Many of the Jomsvikings were devout followers of Odin, the god of war, and believed that their success in battle was linked to their faith and adherence to his teachings.

The Jomsviking Code of Honor

The Jomsvikings were known for their strict code of honor, which guided their behavior both on and off the battlefield. Their code was based on the traditional Viking warrior code, but with some unique elements that set them apart as a brotherhood of mercenaries.

At the core of the Jomsviking code was the principle of honor. Jomsvikings were expected to act with integrity, bravery, and loyalty at all times. They were forbidden from showing fear or cowardice in battle, and were expected to fight to the death if necessary.

Another key element of the Jomsviking code was loyalty. Jomsvikings were bound together as brothers, with a shared sense of purpose and a commitment to one another’s safety and well-being. Breaking this bond was considered the ultimate betrayal, and could result in expulsion from the brotherhood or even death.

The Jomsviking code also placed great value on fairness and impartiality. Members of the brotherhood were expected to settle disputes through legal means, rather than resorting to violence or revenge. In addition, they were required to treat all people with respect and dignity, regardless of their status or background.

In order to uphold these principles, the Jomsvikings had a strict set of rules and regulations that governed their behavior. These included prohibitions against theft, fraud, and murder, as well as requirements for proper conduct during battles and other engagements.

Overall, the Jomsviking code of honor was a reflection of the values and beliefs that defined Viking culture. It emphasized bravery, loyalty, and fairness, and helped to establish the Jomsvikings as one of the most respected and feared brotherhoods of Viking mercenaries in history.

Jomsviking Training and Warfare Tactics

The Jomsvikings were renowned for their rigorous training and unique warfare tactics, which made them one of the most feared groups of Viking warriors. To become a Jomsviking, you had to pass a strict physical and mental test, proving your strength, endurance, and loyalty to the brotherhood.

Once accepted, you would undergo extensive training in various combat techniques, including sword fighting, archery, and hand-to-hand combat. You would also receive instruction in strategy and tactics, learning how to launch surprise attacks, set ambushes, and outmaneuver larger enemy forces.

One of the most distinctive aspects of Jomsviking warfare was their use of the “shield wall” formation. This tactic involved lining up shoulder to shoulder with other warriors, interlocking shields to create a formidable barrier against enemy attacks. The Jomsvikings were skilled in executing this tactic, allowing them to withstand enemy assaults and launch devastating counterattacks.

In addition to their collective strength, the Jomsvikings were also known for their individual combat prowess. They were skilled at using weapons such as the sword, axe, and spear, and were also adept at using their shields as both defensive and offensive weapons.

Jomsviking Expeditions and Raids

Using their superior training and tactics, the Jomsvikings embarked on numerous expeditions and raids throughout the Viking world. They were particularly active in the Baltic and Eastern European regions, where they established strongholds and engaged in lucrative trade and raiding activities.

The Jomsvikings were also known for their involvement in legendary battles such as the Battle of Hjörungavágr, where they fought alongside other Viking leaders against the Norwegian king Olaf Tryggvason. Although they were ultimately defeated, the Jomsvikings’ bravery and fighting skills were widely respected by their enemies and allies alike.

Overall, the Jomsvikings were a highly skilled and influential group of Viking mercenaries, leaving an enduring legacy in Norse culture and history.

Jomsviking Expeditions and Raids

As elite Viking mercenaries, the Jomsvikings were known for their wide-ranging expeditions and daring raids. They were especially active during the 10th and 11th centuries, when Viking expansion was at its peak.

The Jomsvikings were renowned for their prowess on the battlefield, and their raids were often carried out with precision and strategic cunning. They favored surprise attacks, often targeting coastal towns and cities that were vulnerable to plundering.

One of the most famous Jomsviking expeditions was the invasion of England in the late 10th century. Led by the legendary warrior Sigvaldi Strut-Haraldsson, the Jomsvikings joined forces with the English king, Ethelred the Unready, to repel a Danish invasion. Despite initially finding success, the Jomsvikings were ultimately unsuccessful and were forced to return to Denmark.

The Jomsvikings also conducted raids throughout the Baltic region, venturing as far east as present-day Russia. They were known for their naval superiority and often relied on their fleet of ships to launch surprise attacks on their enemies.

Their expeditions and raids had a significant impact on Viking expansion and trade routes, and they played a crucial role in shaping the political and economic landscape of the Viking Age.

Notable Jomsviking Leaders and Legends

The history of the Jomsvikings is filled with tales of heroic leaders and legendary figures. These warriors were renowned for their outstanding bravery and strategic prowess on the battlefield. In this section, we will highlight some of the most notable Jomsviking leaders and legends.

Thorkell the Tall

Thorkell the Tall was one of the most prominent Jomsviking leaders. He was a fearsome warrior and a skilled tactician, who led his men to many successful raids and battles. Thorkell is renowned for his role in the Battle of Hjörungavágr, where he commanded the Jomsviking fleet and defeated the combined forces of Norway and Denmark.

Sigvaldi Strut-Haraldsson

Sigvaldi Strut-Haraldsson was another renowned leader of the Jomsvikings. He was the brother of Thorkell the Tall and was known for his cunning and strategic mind. Sigvaldi is best known for his role in the Battle of Svolder, where he betrayed the Norwegian king Olaf Tryggvason and sided with the Danish and Swedish forces.

Styrbjorn the Strong

Styrbjorn the Strong was a legendary figure in Jomsviking lore. He was said to have been the son of the Swedish king Olof Bjornsson and the lover of the Danish queen Thyra Danebod. Styrbjorn was known for his immense strength and was said to have slain a bear with his bare hands. He led the Jomsvikings in several battles and is believed to have died in the Battle of Fyrisvellir in 985.

Harald Bluetooth

Harald Bluetooth was a Danish king who was closely associated with the Jomsvikings. He was said to have been a patron of the brotherhood and may have even been a former member himself. Harald Bluetooth is mentioned in several Jomsviking sagas and his reign is believed to have coincided with the height of the brotherhood’s power.

These are just a few examples of the many leaders and legends associated with the Jomsvikings. Their heroic tales and enduring legacy have made them an integral part of Viking history and culture.

Jomsviking Influence on Norse Culture

The impact of the Jomsvikings on Norse culture remains significant to this day. Their reputation as elite Viking mercenaries has been cemented in Norse sagas and folklore, and their influence can be seen across various mediums.

Viking Art and Literature

The Jomsvikings are a prominent feature in Viking art and literature. They are often depicted as fierce warriors, clad in armor and wielding weapons with great skill. Their tales have been immortalized in sagas such as “Jómsvíkinga saga,” which tells the story of their battles and their code of honor. The Jomsvikings are also referenced in other sagas, such as “The Saga of the Greenlanders” and “The Saga of Eric the Red.”

Pop Culture

The Jomsvikings have also made their way into modern pop culture. They have been featured in video games, such as “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla,” and in television shows like “Vikings.” Their reputation as fearsome warriors and their unique code of honor have captivated audiences, showcasing their continued influence even in contemporary media.

Norse Mythology

The Jomsvikings have even been incorporated into Norse mythology. Snorri Sturluson, a 13th century Icelandic historian and poet, included them in his Prose Edda, a collection of Norse mythology and legends. In his work, the Jomsvikings are referenced as a group of warriors who fought alongside the god Thor during Ragnarok, the end of the world in Norse mythology.

The Jomsvikings’ impact on Norse culture is undeniable. Their legacy as an elite brotherhood of Viking mercenaries has been preserved through art, literature, pop culture, and even mythology. Their stories continue to fascinate and inspire, ensuring that their place in Norse history remains secure.

Decline and Disappearance of the Jomsvikings

The Jomsvikings were a formidable force during their peak, but their influence waned as the years progressed. There are various theories and historical records that provide insight into the decline and eventual disappearance of this elite brotherhood of Viking mercenaries.

One theory suggests that the Jomsvikings suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Norwegian King Olaf Tryggvason in the Battle of Hjorungavag in 986 AD. This battle is believed to have weakened their military power and damaged their reputation as invincible warriors.

Another theory suggests that the Jomsvikings were disbanded due to internal conflict and power struggles. It’s said that the group was divided into factions, with each faction vying for control and influence within the brotherhood. This infighting is believed to have led to their ultimate demise.

Some sources also suggest that the Jomsvikings may have simply merged with other Viking groups or assimilated into local societies as Viking raids became less frequent and powerful kingdoms emerged in Scandinavia.

Whatever the cause, the legacy of the Jomsvikings lives on in Norse sagas and folklore, immortalized as an elite brotherhood of fierce Viking mercenaries with a code of honor and unyielding bravery on the battlefield.


Now that we’ve explored the history, culture, and influence of the Jomsvikings, it’s clear that they were a remarkable brotherhood of Viking mercenaries. Their reputation as fierce warriors, their strict code of honor, and their unique training and warfare tactics made them one of the most respected groups of fighters in Norse history.

From their origins as a band of outlaws to their later role as elite mercenaries, the Jomsvikings made a lasting impact on Viking culture. Their expeditions and raids into Europe and the Middle East helped to expand trade routes and cemented their reputation as feared warriors. Their influence on Norse culture is evident in the many sagas and legends that have been passed down through the generations.

Despite their impressive legacy, the Jomsvikings eventually declined and disappeared from history. The factors that contributed to their downfall are still a topic of debate among historians, but their impact on Viking history and culture is undeniable.

In conclusion, the Jomsvikings were a unique and powerful brotherhood of Viking mercenaries. Their code of honor, training, and tactics set them apart from other warriors of their time and helped to shape Norse culture. As we continue to study and appreciate the history of the Vikings, the Jomsvikings will undoubtedly remain a significant and fascinating part of that story.


What are Jomsvikings?

Jomsvikings are a brotherhood of Viking mercenaries known for their elite status and fearsome reputation in Norse culture.

How did the Jomsvikings originate?

The Jomsvikings were formed under unique circumstances, and their origins can be traced back to legendary tales and the early years of their existence.

What is the Jomsviking Code of Honor?

The Jomsviking Code of Honor is a set of principles and values followed by the Jomsvikings, emphasizing honor, loyalty, and bravery as core tenets.

What kind of training and warfare tactics did the Jomsvikings employ?

The Jomsvikings underwent rigorous training and employed unique warfare tactics, showcasing their physical prowess, combat techniques, and strategic skills.

What were the Jomsvikings known for in terms of expeditions and raids?

The Jomsvikings undertook expeditions and raids, targeting specific regions and leaving a significant impact on Viking expansion and trade routes.

Who were some notable leaders and legends associated with the Jomsvikings?

There are several notable leaders and legendary figures associated with the Jomsvikings, featuring heroic tales that shaped Viking history and mythology.

How did the Jomsvikings influence Norse culture?

The Jomsvikings had a lasting influence on Norse culture, being represented in various art forms, literature, and popular culture, contributing to the perception of Vikings.

What led to the decline and disappearance of the Jomsvikings?

The decline of the Jomsvikings can be attributed to various factors, theories surrounding their fate, and the historical context that ultimately led to their downfall.