The Reconquista was the period between the 8th and 14th centuries when the Christian kingdoms in northern Iberia steadily pushed back the Moorish rule in southern Iberia and ultimately gained control of the entire Peninsula.
During this period, many battles were fought between the Moorish and Christian armies. The Reconquista armies, often representing Christian kingdoms, usually used a wide range of weapons. Some of these weapons were directly influenced by the Moors while others came either from the Visigoth legacy of the region or from other Christian neighbors in Western Europe.
Notable weapons used by the Reconquista armies included the lance, javelin, sword, and bow and arrow.
A Lance was a frequently used weapon by the mounted knights in the Reconquista armies.
This was complemented by similarly equipped Moorish cavalrymen in the enemy armies. Lances used by the Reconquista warriors were usually six to seven feet in length and made of wood or iron. When wielded by cavalrymen, the riders would give force to their lance’s strike by spurring their horse on and positioning the lance-head towards the front.
The use of stirrup made it possible for the riders to wield their lances securely which was vital in enhancing the role of lance on Reconquista battlefields.
Foot soldiers in Reconquista armies came equipped with a javelin, among other weapons.
The javelin was meant to be used as a missile weapon from the distance. The foot soldiers who were positioned at the head of the battle would first launch a barrage of javelins before the cavalrymen could proceed to charge towards enemy lines.
However, the effectiveness of a javelin in Reconquista battlefields was rather limited because it was wielded from a distance and the enemy warriors usually came prepared to withstand the initial barrage of missile weapons.
Swords were a vital weapon of the cavalrymen in Reconquista armies. Although the knights frequently used lances in their first charge, they quickly switched to swords in close combat.
Swords used by Reconquista knights were influenced by Frankish as well as Moorish designs, although in the later Reconquista period they bore more strong Western European influences.
Typically, the knights would carry a sword which measured as much as three feet in length and was double-edged.
Such a sword was made from iron or steel and the sharp edge of the sword’s blade was meant to be able to cut through an opponent’s armor.
A soldier joining a Reconquista army was required to bring a bow and an arrow as part of his arsenal.
The arrows used by the Reconquista armies usually carried bone heads. Initially, the regular bow was used by the Reconquista armies, possibly in imitation of their Moorish adversaries who carried light bows.
In time, the crossbow from Western Europe reached northern Iberia and increasingly replace the regular bow.
The Crossbow was useful in that it was able to launch a greater number of arrows over a longer distance.
Despite such advancements in archery, the bow and arrow played a limited role on the battlefield and the decisive fighting was done by the cavalry of a Reconquista army.