The Morning Star Weapon: A Formidable Medieval Armament

In the annals of medieval warfare, few weapons commanded as much fear and respect as the Morning Star!

Medieval Knight Close Combat weapons

This deadly armament, characterized by a spiked metal head affixed to a wooden handle, proved to be a devastating force on the battlefield.

Let’s explore the types of Morning Star weapons, how they were used in battle, their construction methods, their historical significance, and notable events where Morning Stars played a prominent role.

Medieval Flail Weapons

Types of Morning Star Weapons

Flanged Morning Star

This type of Morning Star featured a metal head with multiple flanges or protruding spikes arranged in a star-like pattern, hence the weapon’s name.

Heavy Metal Mace

Spiked Morning Star

The spiked Morning Star had a single large spike or several smaller spikes on its head, designed to deliver crushing blows and penetrate armor.

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Collection of Morning Stars

Ball-and-Chain Morning Star

Also known as a Mace-and-Chain Morning Star, this variant had a spiked metal head attached to a chain, allowing for greater reach and flexibility in combat.

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Usage of Morning Star Weapons in Battle

Morning Stars were primarily used by foot soldiers and knights during the medieval period. Their main purpose was to break through armor and incapacitate opponents.

The spiked heads were capable of inflicting severe injuries, even against heavily armored adversaries.

Morning Star wielders typically aimed for vulnerable areas such as joints, visors, or gaps in armor to maximize their effectiveness.

Medieval Knights Warfare 1

“The Morning Star was a fearsome weapon that played a significant role in medieval warfare. Its spiked metal head, mounted on a wooden handle, allowed for devastating blows capable of penetrating armor. The weapon’s effectiveness in breaking through defenses and incapacitating opponents made it a favored choice among knights and foot soldiers during the 14th and 15th centuries.”

Dr. Tobias Capwell, Curator of Arms and Armor at The Wallace Collection, and author of “Arms and Armor of the Medieval Knight.”

Construction of Morning Star Weapons

Morning Stars were carefully crafted by skilled blacksmiths. The process involved forging a metal head with spikes or flanges, often using iron or steel. The head was then mounted onto a wooden handle, creating a balanced and sturdy weapon. The spikes were sharpened to increase their piercing power, while the handle was designed to provide a secure grip for the wielder.


History and Prominence of Morning Star Weapons

Morning Star weapons rose to prominence during the 14th and 15th centuries, particularly in Europe. They were favored by knights and infantrymen as effective anti-armor weapons. The widespread use of plate armor during this period necessitated the development of weapons capable of piercing or denting such formidable defenses, making Morning Stars a valuable addition to a warrior’s arsenal.

German Heavy Mace

“The Morning Star was a formidable anti-armor weapon that emerged during the late Middle Ages. Its spikes or flanges were designed to deliver powerful strikes, targeting weak points in the enemy’s armor. The weapon’s prominence in battles such as Crécy showcases its effectiveness and contribution to the changing dynamics of medieval warfare.”

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

Notable Events in Morning Star History:

Battle of Crécy (1346): During the Hundred Years’ War, English longbowmen armed with Morning Stars played a significant role in the Battle of Crécy. They used the weapons to devastating effect against French knights, who struggled to defend against the powerful blows.

Battle of Crécy Longbowmen

Battle of Bosworth Field (1485): Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England, famously fought with a Morning Star at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Although Richard’s forces ultimately lost the battle, his use of the weapon showcased its efficacy and ferocity in combat.

Medieval King Richard III is pictured in the midst of battle

Clearing up the Confusion Between Morning Star Weapons & Maces

The main difference between a Morning Star and a mace lies in their design and construction.

Morning Star
A Morning Star is a type of spiked weapon consisting of a solid metal head with spikes or flanges attached to a handle. The spikes or flanges can be arranged in a star-like pattern or have a single large spike. Morning Stars were typically made of iron or steel and were designed to deliver powerful blows against armored opponents. Some variations of Morning Stars had a chain attached to the handle, allowing for increased reach and flexibility in combat.

Heavy Metal Mace

A mace, on the other hand, is a blunt weapon that features a heavy, solid metal head mounted on a handle. Unlike the Morning Star, the head of a mace is usually spherical or club-like in shape, without spikes or flanges. The mace’s head can be smooth or studded with small blunt protrusions. It is commonly made of metal, such as iron or steel, and its weight and force were intended to deliver crushing blows to armored or unarmored foes.

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In summary, the key differences are that the Morning Star has a spiked head, often arranged in a star-like pattern, while a mace has a blunt head, typically spherical or club-like in shape.

The Morning Star’s spikes or flanges are meant to penetrate armor, whereas the mace’s weight and impact aim to crush and incapacitate opponents.


The Morning Star weapon, with its spiked metal head and formidable striking power, left an indelible mark on medieval warfare. From flanged to spiked variants, Morning Stars were instrumental in breaking through armor and incapacitating opponents.

Their prominence in battles like Crécy and their association with historical figures like Richard III further solidify their place in history as fearsome and iconic medieval weapons.

Battle of Crecy 100 year war

Great Books about the Morning Star Weapon

“Weapons and Warfare Renaissance Europe: Gunpowder, Technology, and Tactics” by Bert S. Hall
This comprehensive book delves into various weapons used during the Renaissance period, including the Morning Star. It provides detailed descriptions, historical context, and analysis of the weapon’s design, usage, and impact on medieval warfare.

“Arms and Armour of the Medieval Knight: An Illustrated History of Weaponry in the Middle Ages” by David Edge and John Miles Paddock
This book explores the arms and armor utilized by medieval knights, including a section dedicated to the Morning Star. It offers insights into the weapon’s development, construction, and effectiveness in battle, accompanied by vivid illustrations and photographs.

“The Medieval Soldier: 15th Century Campaign Life Recreated in Colour Photographs” by Gerry Embleton and John Howe
Focused on the life of a medieval soldier during the 15th century, this book provides a visual journey into the weaponry of the era, including the Morning Star. Through detailed reenactment photographs and accompanying descriptions, it offers readers a glimpse into the equipment and usage of this powerful weapon.

“The Complete Encyclopedia of Arms & Weapons: The Most Comprehensive Reference Work Ever Published on Arms and Armor” by Leonid Tarassuk and Claude Blair
As an extensive reference guide, this book covers a vast range of arms and weapons throughout history, including the Morning Star. It offers a wealth of information, including historical background, variations of the weapon, and its role on the battlefield.

“Medieval Weapons: An Illustrated History” by Kelly DeVries and Robert Douglas Smith
Focusing on the impact of medieval weapons, this book examines the Morning Star and other significant armaments of the period. It provides an overview of the weapon’s development, usage, and the tactical considerations surrounding its deployment, accompanied by insightful analysis and illustrations.

These books collectively offer a wealth of knowledge and insights into the Morning Star weapon, providing readers with a deeper understanding of its historical significance, construction, usage, and impact on medieval warfare.