Medieval Weapons

During Medieval times c.476 - c.1500 many battles and wars were fought which led to a wide array of weaponary being developed - Discover the Vikings and Knights favourite weapon the Sword !

Learn about the History of warfare weapons such as Axes *Flails *Morning Stars *Siege Weapons *Maces *Pole Weapons Crossbows *Longbows and Much More...

Anglo Saxon Weapons

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 >>

Byzantine Weapons

The Byzantine army was a very efficient fighting force that used an array of well made Byzantine weapons in Skirmishes and battles during many medieval battles Read more about the Byzantine Weapons >>

Caltrops

Caltrop Medieval 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 >>

Carolingian Weapons

The Carolingian Army used several weapons, the most common Carolingian Weapons were the lance, bow and arrow and sword in that order Read more about the Carolingian Weapons >>

Castle Siege Weapons

Medieval Siege Weapons used against Castles

Castle Siege Weapons *Battering Rams *Mangonels *Trebuchets were used to pound castles walls during a Castle Siege! Read more about the Castle Siege Weapons >>

Close Combat Weaponry and Weapons

A wide range of Weaponry and Close combat weapons were used in medieval European warfare Read more about the Close Combat Weaponry and Weapons >>

Daggers

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 >>

Early Medieval Weapons List

Many weapons used in the early medieval period closely resembled those used by the Roman armies Read more about the Early Medieval Weapons List >>

Flail Weapon

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 >>

Gun Powder Weapons

Early Gunpower weapons were not very accurate but became better and more prominent in the 13th century until the end of the medieval period Read more about the Gun Powder Weapons >>

Halberd Weapon

Halberd Weapons Swiss Soldiers

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 >>

Lance Weapon

Two Knights fight with lances in a medieval tournament, knights were allowed four charges and only three broken lances per Jousting match was permitted. Read more about the Lance Weapon >>

Longbow 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 >>

Mace 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 >>

Medieval Baton Weapons

Medieval Batons were training weapons made from wood or whalebone. Batons helped knights and medieval soldiers practice in mock combats Read more about the Medieval Baton Weapons >>

Medieval Blunt Weapons List

War Hammers, Maces and Flails are classed as Medieval Blunt Weapons - used by Medieval Soldiers and Knights Read more about the Medieval Blunt Weapons List >>

Medieval Cleaving Weapons List

Medieval Cleaving Weapons such as the Maul, War Hammer or Horseman's pick were power weapons designed to inflict maximum damage against strong armour Read more about the Medieval Cleaving Weapons List >>

Medieval Crossbow *Arbalest

Crossbows were also known as Arbalests - 'cross shaped' hence the name 'crossbow' Read more about the Medieval Crossbow *Arbalest >>

Medieval Knights Weapons

Medieval Knights Weapons

Medieval knights had to master a varied assortment of both short and long ranged medieval weapons, but the medieval sword was always first choice. Read more about the Medieval Knights Weapons >>

Medieval Pell

Pell Training for Knights

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 Ranged Weapons List

Medieval Ranged Weapons were weapons that could be used to attack the enemy from a distance such as Bow and Arrow, Crossbow and Arbalest Read more about the Medieval Ranged Weapons List >>

Medieval Spear Weapons List

Spear Weapons the Ahlspiess, Boar Spear, Ox Tongue Spear and Spetum were used throughout the medieval period by armies at war Read more about the Medieval Spear Weapons List >>

Medieval WarHammer

Close up Image of Medieval Warhammer Weapon

A medieval Warhammer was used as a heavy impact weapon, war Hammers could inflict serious injury to even the most heavily armored medieval knight. Read more about the Medieval WarHammer >>

Normans Weapons

The Normans used a wide range of weapons and Weaponry on the battlefield Read more about the Normans Weapons >>

Pike Weapons

Pikemen winning Battle

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 >>

Polearm Weapons List

Polearm weapons the Fauchard, Guisarme and Glaive were used to dislodge cavalrymen from their mounts so the Polearm was an important weapon Read more about the Polearm Weapons List >>

Poleaxe Weapon

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 >>

Poleaxe Weapons List

Medieval Pole Axe Weapons like the Pollaxe, Danish and Sparth Axe delivered forceful blows and were popular with medieval foot soldiers (infantry) Read more about the Poleaxe Weapons List >>

Quarterstaff Weapon

Quarterstaff Weapon Fighting Techniques

A Quarterstaff or Quarterstave was a very simple, cheap and effective self protection weapon that was light and easy to carry around Read more about the Quarterstaff Weapon >>

Reconquista Weapons

The Reconquista armies, often representing Christian kingdoms, usually used a wide range of weapons Read more about the Reconquista Weapons >>

Scabbard

The medieval Scabbard was a container usually made of leather or wood that was used to protect the blades of daggers and swords of medieval warriors. Read more about the Scabbard >>

Tudor Weapons

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 >>

Viking Weapons List

Weapons were an important part of the Viking society and were considered the pride of Viking warriors Read more about the Viking Weapons List >>



A wide array of medieval weapons were developed *cast *forged by skilled blacksmiths throughout medieval times, often designed for a specific military purpose*

Medieval weapons were constantly being *upgraded *re-designed *used in different battle formations and medieval weapons trends could change over time!

Medieval Knight Close Combat weapons

A selection of knights ground fighting weapons including a mace and morning star

Medieval Weapon Types *Uses

*Clubs *Maces and *Warhammers were effective weapons for infantry (foot soldiers) and knights against chain mail and plate armor to first stun and then maim an opponent *a crude but effective weapon.

A Collection of Medieval Knights Weapons - Medieval Mace Weapons

A collection of medieval Knights close combat weapons mainly maces and war hammers


Medieval Axes

* Axes could also be used as cleaving, chopping, and crushing weapons, axes often had multiple uses, they were the favored weapons of the ‘Vikings’ and ‘English’ armies during the ‘Battle of Hastings’. The ‘Battle Axe’ became less of a favored weapon in the latter part of the medieval period.

Who Used the Battle Axe?

The Axe was used throughout medieval history by foot-soldiers (infantry) in close combat fighting, the Franks were known to use a small throwing axe called the Franciska which was around 2 feet in length.

The Vikings are probably the most famous recognizable users of the axe *Vikings favored the ‘Battle Axe’ also commonly known as the ‘Danish Axe’ which could have a shaft of around 5 feet in length and had to be wielded with both hands!


Pole Weapons

Medieval foot soldiers (infantry) commonly used pole-type weapons for close combat on the battlefield *bladed weapons such as poleaxes, polearms, pole hammers, and other long staff weapons.

Pole-Axes

The poleaxe is also known as the *pollaxe *pole-axe *pole axe *poleax was a European polearm weapon.

A Pole-Axe was used by foot soldiers (infantry) to stun ‘poleaxe the enemy’, to hit, kill, knockdown*

The Pole-Axe was a later medieval adaptation of the long poled axe, with a bladed head, spear point, and hammer at the back.

*Knights used the Pole-axe when fighting on the ground

Medieval Poleaxe Footsoldier

A medieval foot soldier holds a Medieval Poleaxe Weapon

Halberd

The Halberd was a popular pole-arm weapon in medieval times, probably the most commonly used amongst infantry, it had a long wooden shaft *spiked top *axe head* curved spike at the back

Halberd-weapon


Swords

The medieval sword was the weapon of choice for ‘medieval knights’ and could be used effectively in battle on horse-back or when dismounted *The Sword more than just a weapon it was symbolically tied to the whole concept of the medieval knight and Knighthood, a mythical weapon of chivalry and virtue!

Medieval swords were developed to be light enough to be used effectively on horseback for knights and other mounted warriors, swords were also an effective weapon in close combat situations on the ground for both Knights and other foot soldiers in medieval battles.

Medieval Knights Weapons

Skilled Blacksmiths cast and forged a wide array of swords during medieval times, over the medieval period there were many different styles and names given to various swords but they were mainly a type of short or long sword.

Medieval Blacksmith Medieval Craftsmen

Common names for medieval swords are *Knightly Sword *One-handed sword *Short Sword *Longsword *Great Sword *The sword was the favorite weapon of the Medieval Knight!

Medieval Swords Claymore Sword Hilt

Medieval Swords Claymore Sword Hilt

Knightly Sword

The sword was the favorite weapon of the medieval knight, but it was in fact more than a weapon, it was a badge of honor and prestige. Indeed the Knights medieval sword had symbolic value as depicted in the medieval tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round table Excalibur (/ɛkˈskælɪbər/) was the legendary sword of King Arthur!

King Arthur Excalibur

King Arthur and the famous sword Excalibur

The bond between knights and their swords in medieval times was shown in rituals and events such as dubbing ceremonies, in which squires would be become knights and be blessed by the church.

Medieval Squire becoming a Knight

After years of hard work and military training a squire was pronounced a knight in a dubbing ceremony

Early Medieval swords were long, but swords in the later medieval periods were shorter and more rigid than their earlier counterparts. Ancient swords were made by casting bronze, but later more advanced medieval swords were developed using iron which offered more flexibility in the design and development.

Viking Swords

Although Vikings are often depicted as wielding axes, their weapon of choice like Knights was the sword, in fact, warfare historians describe Vikings as being prolific sword makers!

Viking swords were outstanding in many ways with many variations of hilt design. Viking swords were very well made and the most common type was designed with a pommel that had three lobes.

There were later improvements in Viking sword design which became heavier and more robust around the 1oth century during medieval times.


‘Ulfbehrt’ Sword

The ‘Ulfbehrt’ Sword was a popular medieval sword that was manufactured in the 9th – 11th Century.

Falchion Sword

The Falchion Sword was popular in the 13th – 14th century*

A Fachion Sword


Crossbows *Arbalest

Crossbows also called *Arbalest were used by medieval foot soldiers *infantry – a close to a mid-range weapon with an effective range of somewhere in the region of (20-40 Yards) on the battlefield, whereas longbows were used as very long-ranged weapons.

Crossbows had a cross-shaped body that could be made from wood, horn, sinew, and as the medieval period progressed steel. Crossbows fired a Bolt called a ‘Quarrell’, thicker than an arrow and around a foot in length.

Crossbow Parts

Different sections of the crossbow are labeled in this image

Crossbows did not fire as rapidly as Longbows but improved as the medieval period progressed, especially when metal was used for the body and the loading mechanism improved.

Medieval Soldier loading a Crossbow

Medieval Military Loading up a cross-bow

Crossbows had an automated loading mechanism, unlike longbows that were manually operated and required great strength to drawback.

Large Pravise Shield

Large Pavise Shield used by Crossbowmen

Crossbows were popular in the 12th – 13th Century and used by French mercenaries during the Famous battle of Crécy.

Crossbow Trigger

This image shows the trigger of a crossbow used to fire bolts


Longbows

Longbows had a wooden stave, commonly made from Yew – looking at the longbow you would notice it had a D shape. The Longbow was large around ‘six feet’ in height.

Medieval Longbow used by Longbowmen

Wooden Longbow made of Yew – Weapon of medieval Longbowmen

The longbow was a faster firing weapon than the mechanical crossbow and this was a testament to the skill and strength of highly trained longbowmen.

English longbowmen Battle of Agincourt

English longbowmen fire a series of arrows on the enemy at the Battle of Agincourt

The longbow had a major impact during the Hundred Years War in the battles of Slury, Crecy, Poitiers, and Agincourt.

Medieval Bowyers Longbow

Medieval Longbow was made by bowyers

During these battles, the Longbow was used by large numbers of highly trained archers, packed into tight formations, who drew back the string of their longbows and fired a terrifying number of arrows simultaneously that would have rained down on the enemy.

Foot Soldiers longbowmen

Battle of Agincourt. longbowmen foot soldiers face each other


Warhammer

The war hammer was used in the later medieval periods, there were two types of medieval Warhammer, the short and long Warhammer.

A battle Hammer

An Iron Battle hammer used in Medieval Times

The Long Warhammer called a ‘maul’ was designed so that infantry soldiers could target knights and other mounted warriors. The Short Warhammer, on the other hand, was used by the mounted cavalry.

The Warhammer was a very effective weapon against mounted warriors, as it could be used to attack horses’ legs in order to trip them, bringing the mounted foe to the ground. Since mounted warriors often wore armor, the hammer was effective in striking against the armor and causing concussions even without piercing it.

 

Medieval Warhammers

There were two types of Warhammer one was short and the other had a longer handle

The foot soldiers then used spikes to attack the felled horsemen and fight them at closer quarters. In contrast, the shorter war hammer was used by mounted soldiers.

Warhammers Maul and Short War Hammers

Warhammers were invented to counter the plate armor that was introduced in later medieval times


Maces

The Medieval mace was a popular weapon in medieval times, it was mainly used by the cavalry but was probably an infantry weapon initially. The medieval mace weapon was a frightening-looking weapon and often associated with the medieval knight, especially in tournaments.

Maces were usually made from bronze but could be made from other metals. They were designed to be light-weight making them easier to wield.

Maces had many different head designs throughout the medieval period *the spiked or feather head designs are instantly recognizable, there were flanged, knobbed, or spiked mace heads. Sometimes the Medieval mace would have a spike sticking out of the end of the head. The morning Star was also a weapon that could be described as being a Medieval mace.

Medieval Knight Close Combat weapons

A selection of knights’ ground fighting weapons including a mace and morning star

The mace weapon could be used for ceremonial purposes and in that event it could possibly be made from gold or silver.


Flail Weapon

One-handed military Flail Weapon

The one-handed military flail weapon was specifically designed as a combat weapon and was not used for any other purpose.

A Medieval Flail Weapon

Medieval Flail Weapon

The one-handed flail weapon is instantly recognizable, you will have seen Medieval knights using this weapon in jousting competitions in books and movies, they were mainly used by knights and infantrymen.

A Knight & Flail Weapon

*Templar Knight wields a flail weapon


Siege Weapons

Ballista *Bolt Thrower

The Ballista also known as the bolt thrower was an important medieval siege weapon that was used to fire bolts or stones for long distances.

Ballista Siege Weapon

Ballista Siege Weapon also used in ancient times

Battering Ram

A Battering ram was one of the most popular and commonly used medieval siege weapons and was used to break open the walls or gates of fortifications.

Battering Ram Rear

This image shows a medieval battering ram from the rear

Mangonel Siege weapon

The Mangonel Siege weapon was a type of catapult used in the medieval period in siege warfare. Heavy projectiles were thrown with the help of Mangonel in order to harass or harm the troops defending themselves inside the protective walls of a castle or medieval city.

Mangonel Siege Weapon

Mangonel Siege Weapon

Siege towers

Siege towers were a special kind of medieval siege weapon whose main purpose was the transportation of attacking soldiers onto castle walls. For this purpose, the height of the siege tower was made roughly equal to the height of the castle wall.

Siege Tower and Battering Ram

Siege tower *Battering Ram

Trebuchet Siege Engine

The Trebuchet was a popular medieval siege weapon that was very effective in destroying castle walls, it was also known as the counterweight siege weapon, there was also an earlier medieval siege weapon called the Traction Trebuchet but this was not considered to be a proper Trebuchet and leads to some confusion.

A Trebuchet Catapult Siege Attack on a Castle

Warwolf *Largest Trebuchet in History!

The Warwolf was a siege engine used by English armies during the Scottish Wars of Independence. It was built on the orders of King Edward in 1304 as he laid siege to the Stirling Castle in Scotland.

The Warwolf is notable for the fact that it was the largest trebuchet ever built. In contemporary terms, it was the most formidable siege engine and virtually no castle wall could withstand stones that rained down on it from the Warwolf siege engine.

Trebuchet Siege Weapon

Trebuchet Siege Weapon Size


Spears

Spears were very popular medieval weapons, cheap, easy to construct, and very effective, take a long wooden pole and attach a variety of weapon heads! Spears were commonly used by foot-soldiers.

The Anglo-Saxon infantry used Spears effectively in battle

Anglo Saxon Warfare

The Anglo Saxons used a shield formation as a tactic on the battlefield


Pike Weapon

Pike is a weapon is similar to spears and other pole-arm weapons. A Pike weapon consists of a sharp spike that is attached to a very long wooden pole that is around *16 to 20 feet long and usually made of Ashwood.

Victorious Pikemen at the *Battle of Rocroi

Pikes were also known as long spears and used in special formations by medieval infantry that was very effective against cavalry. *In England foot-soldiers that used Pike weapons were called Pikemen.

Pikemen in a Pike Formation

Pikemen *Pike Square Formation


Medieval Daggers

*Medieval daggers were used mainly for stabbing and thrusting moves and were very effective in close combat situations. Daggers were usually pointed with two sharp edges.

Daggers were often used as emergency weapons and they were also very good at piercing gaps in medieval armor. A popular medieval Dagger in the 15th century was the Rondel Dagger in the image below.

Rondel Dagger

The Rondel Dagger *Late Medieval Dagger


Lance

The lance was similar to a spear, it had a long wooden shaft and a metalhead. Lances were used as serious weapons on the battlefield and also in medieval tournaments by Knights.

Medieval Fighting Games Jousting

Medieval lances are also known as Lancing sticks, in some jousting contests even canes were used as lances!