Medieval Cleaving Weapons List

Cleaving weapons are a category of weapons designed primarily for cutting or cleaving through targets, often with a focus on inflicting deep, powerful cuts.

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“In the tumultuous battleground of the Middle Ages, cleaving weapons emerged as the embodiment of brute force. Axes, with their unwavering determination to cut through defenses, and falchions, curving like fate itself, were the tools that hewed paths through armor and defiance, leaving a mark on history as symbols of unyielding power.”

Professor Gabrielle Reynolds, Medieval Weaponry Historian

These weapons are known for their ability to deliver devastating strikes by utilizing a sharp edge to slice through armor, flesh, and bone.

1. Axes

Battle axes and other types of axes are classic examples of cleaving weapons. They have a heavy, broad blade that is designed to deliver powerful chopping and cutting strikes. Axes were used in various cultures throughout history for both combat and practical purposes.

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2. Falchions

A falchion is a one-edged, single-bladed sword with a curve towards the tip. It’s designed to optimize cutting power, making it effective for delivering cleaving strikes. Falchions were popular in medieval Europe.

Knights Falchion Swords

3. Machetes

While often associated with agricultural and jungle-clearing tasks, machetes can also be used as cleaving weapons. Their design makes them adept at cutting through vegetation and other obstacles.

A Fachion Sword

5. Greatswords

These large two-handed swords have wide, often slightly curved blades that provide a significant cutting surface. Greatswords were used in the late medieval and Renaissance periods and are designed to deliver powerful cleaving strikes.

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6. Zweihanders

Similar to greatswords, zweihanders are even larger two-handed swords with extended handles. They were used in late medieval Europe and are known for their cleaving and thrusting capabilities.


7. Glaives

Glaives are polearms with a blade mounted on the end of a pole. The blade is typically curved and used for cleaving strikes. Glaives were used in various cultures and time periods.

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“The choice of cleaving weapons in the medieval era was more than just a matter of tactics; it was a reflection of the warrior’s ethos. Greatswords and battle axes were not mere instruments of war but extensions of the warrior’s will, allowing them to shape the course of battles and shape the legacy of their time, one cleaving blow at a time.”

Dr. Roland Mercer, Military Historian and Author

Cleaving weapons are particularly effective against opponents wearing armor, as they can cut through or around the armor to reach vulnerable areas.

These weapons often have a more direct and brutal approach compared to weapons designed for thrusting or finesse.