From the early period of medieval times all kinds of medieval weapons were being developed as wealthy landowners and Kings sought to increase their wealth and power by invading other people's territory, hoping to steal their land and treasures such as gold, silver and other precious metals.
There were many differant types of medieval weapons used throughout the medieval period for example such as clubs and maces which were effective against chain mail and plate Armour, Daggers were used mainly for stabbing and thrusting moves in close combat situations. There were a wide range of axes that would be used as cleaving, chopping and crushing weapons, the best and most favoured of these types of weapons was the pollaxe or poleaxe as it was also commonly known.
Spears were very popular medieval weapons as they were cheap and easy to make and very effective, All you needed was a wooden pole and you could attach a variety of weapon heads to the end of the pole. Foot soldiers and mounted troops also liked to use Bill and Staff weapons on the battlefield and these consisted of bladed weapons such as polearms, pole hammers and mainly long staff weapons were very popular.
Other types of weapons that were used in medieval battles and were common weapons of the times were one-handed swords, Longswords and the Great swords, and lets not forget one of the battlefields most treasured weapons in medieval times because of their effectiveness, Longbows (Popular in England) and Cross Bows (Popular in Europe).
The Anglo Saxons used a variety of weapons such as Spears, Axes and Daggers but their favourite weapon was without doubt the sword which was passed down to later generations Read more about the Anglo Saxon Weapons >>
The caltrop weapon was effective in stopping medieval cavalry horses. The caltrop created an upturned spike that would stick into the hooves of cavalry horses injuring them. Read more about the Caltrops >>
Medieval crossbows weapons were also known as Arbalests, they were shaped as a cross hence the name crossbow and were used by crossbowmen. Larger similar type weapons called Ballista were developed as castle siege weapons. Read more about the Crossbow Weapon >>
Medieval daggers were used in close combat situations usually as a weapon of last resort, There were many different daggers such as the ox-tongue and Basilard to name a few. Read more about the Daggers >>
The Medieval Flail Weapons were a brutal but not very accurate medieval weapon as they were difficult to aim and direct. Medieval Flail weapons were commonly used by Knights and foot soldiers. Read more about the Flail Weapon >>
The Halberd weapon was a type of Pole Arm weapon that was invented by the Swiss. The Halberd was popular as it was cheap and easy to produce but also an effective weapon, it combined an axe, hook and pike weapon. Read more about the Halberd Weapon >>
The longbow was a medieval weapon used by specially trained longbowmen, in later medieval wars such as the battle of crecy, the longbow arrows fired by the longbowmen destroyed the best knights that France had to offer. Read more about the Longbow Weapon >>
The Mace weapon was originally used by the infantry and later became a cavalry weapon, medieval mace weapons were usually made from bronze, steel or Iron and possibly gold and silver Read more about the Mace Weapon >>
The Pell was simple but effective training device for medieval knights. The Pell could be a simple stick or tree trunk in the ground that medieval knights could practice their swordsmanship skills, Read more about the Medieval Pell >>
Medieval Pike weapons were similar to spears, however they were very long sometimes up to 20ft in length. Pike Weapons were so long they needed two hands to hold them and Pikemen needed to be very strong. Read more about the Pike Weapons >>
The Poleaxe was a formidable weapon that could be used for differant battle purposes depending on the type of head. A Poleaxe head could be a blade, spike or even a hammer Read more about the Poleaxe Weapon >>
During Tudor times there was a transformation from traditional medieval weapons to newer Gunpowder weapons, Medieval bows were replaced by Muskets and Canons Read more about the Tudor Weapons >>
England, France & The Vatican – Medieval Weapons Superpowers
Medieval times were violent as Europe’s elite constantly fought to gain more wealth and power from other medieval people and elites, battles raged throughout this thousand year medieval history, the most violent and blood thirsty countries of the medieval world seemed to be concentrated in Europe with England & France being Medieval Military super powers and they were constantly at war with each other trying to gain complete superiority over each other.
It was no coincidence that western countries such as England and France were the best weapon makers in medieval times and that they were the tip of the spear for medieval weapon advancement, Castle design and Armour manufacture, in fact this is what allowed them become such a powerful countries on the world stage.
However there was a third military might in those times, that was not even a country and whose armies were even more powerful than the armies of England & France. These formidable armies wore the white and red cross of the Knights Templar and were used in Christian crusades all around the world, you may be surprised to learn that the Church and the Vatican were the most powerful military might in medieval times and that the Vatican was classed as a state in its own right, with the all powerful Pope at its head the Vatican did not belong to any country.
Formidable castles were built that were used as bases to plan out and execute raids on other medieval towns, villages, manors and castles. Medieval weapons were made from early medieval times and these weapons advanced throughout the medieval period. As medieval weapons became more powerful and destructive, the armies became more organised and better training was needed to use these more sophisticated and advanced medieval weapons.
Grouping of Medieval Weapons
Medieval weapons were put into different classes of weapons to help organise them into groups for easier reference.
Medieval weapons tend to be organized in the following groups:
*Short & Long Sword medieval weapons *Blunt & Cleaving medieval weapons *Spears, Polearm & Pole-axe medieval weapons *Ranged medieval weapons such as Longbows *Castle Siege Attack & Defence medieval Weapons
There is some confusion in regards to what grouping some medieval weapons should appear in as some medieval weapons had several uses, and you may find the same weapon listed in two or more medieval weapon groupings when researching this subject, in fact some of the historical records about medieval weapons from history are a bit ambiguous.
Short and Long Medieval Swords
Medieval Short Sword
Short swords normally related to swords that were short in length and were medieval weapons that could be used in close combat situations with one hand, they went by many different names in medieval times such as the small sword, the cut and thrust sword etc. Most people think of the short sword as a one-handed medieval weapon with a cruciform hilt and this basic design was the most popular medieval short sword design as it was light and flexible and it was widely used in battle during the medieval period.
Like all medieval weapons there were different variations on the short sword model and some small minor changes were made to the appearance and physical properties of the medieval swords design during the medieval era, such as making the handle more comfortable or the blade more dangerous. Short swords would be used in close combat fights on the battlefield usually by Foot Soldiers or Knights and criminals also used the short sword as their favoured medieval weapon.
Medieval Long Swords
A Brutal and direct attack on your enemy could be achieved using one of the armies favourite medieval weapons the long Sword. The Long Sword has many different names due to the f ranged weapons act that different variations were used across medieval, which meant that Europe different countries would have different names for the same sword, there were also slightly different variations of the long sword in its design and different medieval craftsmen would make changes to the long swords design, its hilt and blade.
The longsword was a medieval weapon that didn’t appear until later in the medieval period. The long Sword was a heavy medieval weapon and a soldier would need considerable strength to use it for any length of time and both hands were needed at the hilt of the Longsword to be able to control it in the correct manner.
Longsword had both straight and double edged blades and they were adapted to be more robust as the medieval period progressed to combat the improvements made in Armour technology. The cross sections at the hilt of the Longsword were strengthened; the blades were streamlined and made more pointed to counter the improvements made in military Armour.
There are many medieval weapons in the short & Longsword class and we discuss all of these medieval weapons and swords on other pages in detail individually on other pages on this website.
Blunt & Cleaving Medieval Weapons
Medieval goods including weapons such as the battle-axe, flail and the ball and chain were some of the most brutal medieval weapons. Battle axes were powerful and scary medieval weapons which were one-handed medieval weapons, these battle axes were used by medieval Knights whereas two-handed battle axes tended to be used by soldiers on the ground as they were much heavier weapons but could cause a lot of damage with the increased range that they provided and their brutal force on impact.
There are many medieval weapons that are classed as blunt & cleaving medieval weapons and we discuss all of these medieval weapons on other pages individually of the website.
Spears, Pole-arm & Pole-axe medieval Weapons
these types of weapon we usually used for fighting at close quarters v the user had long wooden poles with different types of metal Spears and axis at the top or head they were really different variations of a spear and have different uses are also known as a pole weapons the wooden pole effectively increase the range of the metal weapon at the end it’s a spear or axe or other head.
The pole arm will Pole-axe helps to increase the striking power or soldier a small force could be gained by swinging these medieval weapons. Another advantage was that they were cheap to make because they were mainly made of wood with a small amount of metal at the end and this is why they were favoured by the main force and army foot soldier.
Ranged Medieval Weapons such as Longbows
Ranged weapons were very effective in battle situations; a range weapon was basically any weapon that could fire a projectile like an arrow a distance.
Long range medieval weapons were a lot safer to use for the military as they were not involved in close combat and it was difficult for the enemy to injure or kill them, ranged weapons could be anything from a javelin, spear, throwing axes and longbows which were one of the most effective and favoured long-range weapons.
Ranged weapons were a formidable weapon that could take out entire armies and a good group of longbow men were invaluable military men. Cross-bows were also an effective military weapon that could be called loaded quickly fired rapidly however they did not have the awesome power to destroy like the longbow, however they were easier to use and training to use a crossbow was much easier.
We talk in detail about long-range or Ranged weapons individually in other areas of the website.
Castle Siege Attack & Defence medieval Weapons
There were also weapons specifically designed to attack castles such as Battering Rams and Trebuchet (Giant Catapults) these medieval weapons were designed to destroy castles and kill the soldiers and the medieval castle staff inside, we go into more detail about medieval Siege Weapons in our medieval siege article.
Gunpowder & Guns ends this medieval weapons period
Medieval weapons in the early period of medieval times were fairly basic but as the medieval period progressed medieval weapons became more and more advanced. The introduction of guns and gun powder were invented in the late medieval period and this made most of these traditional medieval weapons became ineffective and eventually disappeared from the military landscape.
This ended the medieval weapons period of wood and metal weapons including Blunt and Cleaving weapons, Pole arm and Pole-axe weapons, ranged weapons, and particularly close combat weapons like Short swords and Longsword. The brutal medieval period was also coming to an end and the great Renaissance period was just around the corner.