The Spear was one of the most important weapons used in medieval Europe for warfare. This was primarily because a spear could be wielded in many different ways and could be used for throwing, thrusting, cutting, piercing and slashing as well as for other purposes such as tripping horses.
Such versatility made spears a primary weapon for most medieval infantrymen as well as cavalrymen. It was also during the medieval period that many different types of spears came into being which were then used during different centuries across Europe.
An ahlspiess was a type of medieval spear that was used in regions of Central Europe during the late medieval period. This type of spear typically comprised of a spike measuring 39 inches in length which in turn was attached to a wooden shaft of 5 to 6 feet.
At the point where the shaft became attached to the spike, a circular protruding metal structure was stationed to protect the hands of the wielder. The use of ahlspiess was common in Germany, Austria as well as certain other European territories in the 15th and 16th centuries.
A boar spear is a type of short and heavy spear that, as the name suggests, originally evolved in order to hunt boars. The blade of such a spear typically came with two small wings at its back. These wings essentially prevented the spear from piercing too deep into the victim’s body to make retrieval difficult.
Although originally meant for hunting, the spear was also used in early medieval warfare since it was safe from the possibility of becoming entangled in shields, armour or the bodies of the victims. A related variant of the boar spear also came into use towards the later medieval period although its use was short-lived.
Ox Tongue Spear
The Ox tongue spear was a type of spear used in Europe during the late medieval period. It came into use in the 15th century and featured a blade that was broad-headed and double-edged. This type of spear was typically heavy and didn’t offer a lot of manoeuvrability. It was consequently used in skirmishing during battles and not put to any serious combat.
A spetum was a unique type of spear used in medieval Europe. The base of this type of spear was a pole that measures 6 to 8 feet in length. At the head of this pole, a sharp spear head was attached which was typically 12 to 14 inches in length.
This spear head was the primary thrusting and piercing weapon on the spetum. It was complemented by two projections at the base of the spear head which were effective for tripping cavalrymen and disabling the shields of the opponents. The spetum was used in different parts of Europe from 13th to 16th centuries.
Towards the end of the medieval period, inventive variants of spetum came to be used in Italy. One such variant was the folding spetum. Such a spetum had a spearhead situated at the top of the pole and the two side-projections at half-length. When the wielder wanted to use the projections, he could fold the pole in half, bringing the spearhead towards the foot of the weapon and taking the projections to the fore.