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The History Of Medieval Weapons

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For collectors and those looking for self-defense items, medieval weapons are quite possibly one of life’s greatest relics. Medieval weapons are used for a variety of reasons, whether it’s to practice sword swinging in your backyard or simply having a weapon for self-defense. For most medieval weapons collectors, collecting weapons is more than just a hobby—it’s a passion. Arming Long swords, walking sticks, as well as daggers are some of the most widely recognized medieval weapons. But if you’re an avid collector, you know that swords are just one type of medieval weaponry that they need in their collection.


Stilettos are a great weapon for collectors to add to their collection. A stiletto is a short dagger or knife that has a long and slender blade. The blade of a stiletto usually has a variety of different designs. A stiletto in itself is used as a stabbing weapon. Because it has a pointed end and is narrowly-shaped, a stiletto has the ability to penetrate deep into the skin. Stilettos were not designed specifically to cut, because the end of the blade is triangular in shape and thus not very effective at slicing or making a clean cut. Stilettos have their roots in the United Kingdom and seem to have been used by both the British and the Germans, according to medieval weapons experts.

Maces and clubs

Blunt hand weapons, including maces and clubs, are quite popular medieval weapons, simply because they possess spikes and other features that can easily penetrate skin and deter someone who is trying to hurt you or steal your possessions. Spiked clubs are especially threatening to thieves and those who seek to hurt or kill. When used quickly and effectively, clubs are quite dangerous. Similarly, maces are quite effective at deterring people. Maces have been used by foot soldiers since the Middle Ages. However, maces used by soldiers in the Middle Ages were typically short. Maces utilized by cavalrymen were better designed and typically much longer than maces that were typically used by soldiers.

Holy water sprinklers

Then, you have holy water sprinklers. Holy water sprinklers got their name, because they look like the aspergillum that is used in Catholic Mass. The morning star was first used in the 1700s by the British Army and were designed by professional smiths, experts say.

Ball and chains

Flails, which are also referred to as ball and chains, were used in the Middle Ages and are still touted as one of the greatest medieval weapons. Flails were also talked about in Victorian literature, so they have become a vital part of medieval thought and fantasy. Flails typically have one or two weights that connect to a handle with a chain or hinge.


Medieval weapons have been invented throughout history. Longbows, which were invented hundreds of years ago, have remained a popular memory among medieval weapons enthusiasts. Longbows were usually roughly six feet in length and were very effective in reaching targets from a distance of 400 yards. Because of their large size, longbows required someone who was very strong for them to be used effectively. Because longbows were not always effective in hitting their targets, they were most often used to drop on enemy troops, in an effort to bring down their forces.


Centuries ago, it was not uncommon to see knights riding on horseback. Knights riding on horseback were more threatening to enemy forces, because of their precision in hitting their enemies. Knights on horseback used broadswords. Broadswords had two edges, making them especially deadly. Weighing between three and five pounds, Broadswords were used in fights where enemies were in close proximity to one another. According to experts, a Broadsword could cut off limbs and decapitate quite easily.


Mail is yet another weapon that was used during Medieval Times. Made of small metal rings, mail formed a mesh that gave soldiers a heavy veil of protection. Mail protected soldiers from being stabbed with swords. However, it did not deter the impact of other weapons, such as the ball and chain. War hammers and maces were dangerous threats as well.

Plate armor

Often seen in movies today, plate armor was a popular form of medieval weaponry in the Middle Ages. Plate armor was typically made of steel and was used to cover the entire body. At the time, it was highly desired, because it provided more body coverage than many other weapons. However, plate armor was not very effective in protecting soldiers from blunt-force blows. Plate armor was effective until the advent of high power weapons, which could easily penetrate plate armor. Poleaxes, maces and war hammers could easily go straight through body armor, thus causing injury, and in many cases, death.

War hammer

In response to the effectiveness of plate armor, weapon makes in medieval times realized that they needed to design weaponry that could pierce through plate armor. With that goal in mind, weapon makers designed the war hammer, a pole weapon that possessed either a spike or a weight attached to the end of the pole. War hammers were also used to strike the legs of horses, so the were rendered helpless, thus leaving the soldier vulnerable to attack. If a horse’s legs were struck, the person riding the horse was easily toppled over.

The battering ram

The battering ram was yet another piece of medieval weaponry used to combat enemy forces. Because they were large and possessed strong momentum, battering rams could easily knock down doors in a single strike. The weight of a battering ram came from the giant log that was used to knock down doors with great force, experts say. Not surprisingly, battering rams were so effective in the Middle Ages that police still use them today.


If a battering ram didn’t allow soldiers to go through a door, they had another option—the catapult. A catapult was essentially a slingshot that hurled items to enemy forces. Items that were hurled during medieval times included diseased animal carcasses, burning items, rocks and other biological warfare. Catapults were used in World War 1 as well.


Today, cannons are still a quintessential sign of medieval fighting and weaponry. They were used to shoot foot soldiers and to demolish or hit war ships that were at sea. Cannons were first used in a war between the French and the British. Even to this day, you can find canons displayed in museums, proving that they are in fact a great part of history.


Hellburners were a highly effective and dangerous type of medieval weaponry used during medieval times. Hellburners were the medieval equivalent of the mass destructive weapons of today, because they had the ability to destroy an entire fleet or ship with gunpowder. Gunpowder was set on fire with a delayed fuse mechanism. Hellburners by their nature alone had the ability to strike fear and panic in the hearts of those who were targeted. They set ships on fire while forces were working, so they didn’t know right away that their ships were on fire. That’s why Hellburners were so highly feared. When Hellburners set ships on fire, forces on the targeted ship thought they were simply regular fire. As a result, they tried to extinguish the fire, not realizing that the ship had been set on fire by the enemy.

Jousting lance

During Medieval history, at a time when fighting raged between Israel and Europe, jousting lances were a popular weapon. A jousting lance is basically a straight sword used for jousting while soldiers were traveling by horse, experts say.

Medieval weapons have been an integral part of history, allowing medieval forces to defend themselves and giving collectors weapons they can be proud of. As times evolve, so do the weapons people use for self preservation. Not surprisingly, many medieval weapons created in the Middle Ages are still used and effective today. Along with the evolution of humankind, there also comes a growing need for weaponry that was created in the Middle Ages. The real truth is that everyone can benefit from owning some type of medieval weapon. Knowing what weapons are most effective will help you in your search for the right medieval weapon.

By Daryl Taylor