The Medieval Mace: A Brutal and Effective Weapon of the Middle Ages

The medieval period was marked by numerous battles and conflicts, and warriors of the time relied on a variety of weapons to protect themselves and their kingdoms.

Among these weapons, the mace was one of the most effective and brutal. In this article, we will explore the history of the medieval mace and its use in battle.

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“The mace was an incredibly effective weapon that could easily crush armor and bones alike. Its simplicity and effectiveness made it a popular choice among soldiers of the medieval period.”

Dr. Kelly DeVries, Professor of History at Loyola University Maryland and author of “Infantry Warfare in the Early Fourteenth Century.”
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History of the Mace

The mace is believed to have originated in the Near East and was used as a weapon as early as 3000 BCE. In Europe, the mace became popular during the medieval period and was used by knights and foot soldiers alike.

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

The design of the mace evolved over time, with early maces featuring a simple wooden handle and a metal ball or spike. Later versions incorporated additional features such as flanges and spikes to increase the weapon’s effectiveness.

“The mace was one of the most fearsome weapons of the medieval battlefield. Its blunt force made it a favorite of knights and soldiers alike, and it was capable of inflicting serious damage on opponents even if they were wearing armor.”

Dr. Richard Abels, Professor of History at the United States Naval Academy and author of “The Knightly Art of Battle.”
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Types of Maces

There were several types of maces used in medieval times, including the morning star, the flail, and the war hammer. Each of these weapons had its own unique design and was used for different purposes.

The morning star, for example, featured a spiked ball attached to a handle and was used to crush armor and inflict serious damage. The flail, on the other hand, had a chain attached to the handle with a spiked ball at the end, making it useful for striking opponents from a distance.

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“The mace was an ingenious weapon that allowed medieval warriors to overcome the limitations of armor. Its design was simple yet effective, and it proved to be a deadly weapon in the hands of skilled fighters.”

Dr. Peter Konieczny, Editor of “Medieval Warfare” magazine and author of “The Knights Templar on Trial: The Trial of the Templars in the British Isles.”

Effectiveness in Battle

The mace was an incredibly effective weapon in medieval battles. Its weight and design allowed it to easily penetrate armor and inflict serious injuries.

Additionally, the mace was a popular choice for foot soldiers because it did not require the same level of skill or training as a sword or other bladed weapon. Even untrained soldiers could effectively use a mace to defend themselves and their kingdom.

“The mace was a brutal and efficient weapon that could break bones and shatter skulls with ease. Its blunt force made it a popular choice for foot soldiers who lacked the training and skill required to wield a sword effectively.”

Dr. Daniele Cybulskie, historian and author of “The Five-Minute Medievalist.”
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A German Knight Holding a German Heavy Mace

Legacy of the Mace

While the mace is no longer used as a weapon today, its legacy lives on in various forms. For example, the ceremonial mace is still used in some countries during parliamentary proceedings as a symbol of authority. Additionally, the mace has inspired the design of other weapons, such as the modern-day baseball bat.

Heavy Metal Mace
Heavy metal mace

“The mace was a versatile weapon that could be used in a variety of situations, from hand-to-hand combat to breaking down doors and gates. Its design evolved over time, with new features added to increase its effectiveness and adapt to changing battlefield conditions.”

Dr. Kelly DeVries, Professor of History at Loyola University Maryland and author of “Medieval Military Technology.”


The medieval mace was a brutal and effective weapon of the Middle Ages. Its weight and design made it a popular choice among warriors of the time, and it played a significant role in numerous battles and conflicts. While the mace is no longer used as a weapon today, its legacy continues to live on in various forms.