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Saturday, August 20, 2022

10 Medieval Weapon Types

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1) Viking sword:

Deriving its look based on the late Roman Empire’s spatha, the Viking sword was forged by the northerners of the Scandinavian peninsula, who by seafaring, raided the mainland of Europe, the British Isles, the Balkan Peninsula, Minor Asia, the Levant and parts of northern Africa. Iron was the metal this sword was made out of; while the hilt itself was either finely engraved wood layered with metal, bronze, copper or in rare cases iron. The grip handle was wrapped around with leather for the wielder’s easier and tighter grasp. The sword itself weighted around 1 kilogram. The entire swords’ length from the beginning of the hilt to the end of the blade was somewhere between 84 centimeters to 1 meter and 5 centimeters. The blade itself on the other hand, had 70 centimeters to 90 centimeters length. The end was approaching for the Viking Age. The Normans paved the way for the knight class to be formed, so due to all this, the Viking sword was replaced with the Arming sword.

2) Arming sword:

The staple sword for the knights of the High Middle Ages was simply referred to as the knightly sword. This sword had seen most of the battles and wars Europe had been ravaged by, as well as actions in the Holy Land, Asia Minor and Northern Africa. First it was made out of iron for general use, but was later made out of steel, while gold and silver were used for ceremonial versions of the sword, like coronations, knighting, celebrations and festivals. The hilt was made out of iron, the blade out of steel. Additionally, the handle was wrapped in leather scraps for an easier use. Weighting 1.1 kilogram precisely, the entire sword’s length was 90 centimeters while the blade itself was 75 centimeters.

3) Dane Axe:

This weapon gave the rise of popularity to the two-handed weapons in Europe. Used during the 10th and the 11th century mostly, it was at times the decisive factor on the battlefield, as it would easily break shields or grip them with its head, thus allowing the wielder to disarm his foe. Due to its long reach, it could kill, wound or incapacitate as well. The Dane axe had its head made out of carbon steel, while its shaft was typically made out of wood, being finely engraved as long as the wielder could afford it. The head was in the shape of either the letter L or the letter M. It allowed deep cuts to be inflicted, penetrating somewhere between 20 centimeters and 30 centimeters, while the shaft was typically 90 centimeters to 1 meter and 10 centimeters. In weight it varied between 1 and 2 kilograms.

4) War hammer:

Resembling a pickaxe, a hammer or an ice axe, the war hammer was used in the later part of the Medieval Ages as a means to counter armored opponents, as maces became fundamental for all armies alongside swords in close quarter combat. The head was used in three ways, either to pierce armor with its pickaxe part, bludgeon with its hammer side or poke with the spear head, making it a very versatile weapon on the battlefield. The entirety of the war hammer was made out of steel, with strips of leather adoring the grip to provide a better hold of the weapon. As with all maces, there is no certain weight or length described to it, as they were made in a variety of ways with little or no consistency between them apart the name that distinguished them.

5) Yari:

Yari was the weapon used in every battlefield or war in the Shogunate Era of Medieval Japan. It was often overlooked because of the popularity of the Katana swords. As yari is a general term for the weapon, having quite the number of variations in looks, weight and length, its main depiction is that of a straight double-edged dagger with approximately 30 centimeters in length. The shaft was made from native wood types found in Japan. The length reached from 1 to 6 meters at most. Used mostly by peasants, militias or ashigaru (and with Japan at the time lacking any quality iron), it was decent at best on its own, thus devastating in huge numbers.

6) Chakram:

The Chakramt originated from India and later spread to every part of Asia. It had the most devastating effect as a throwing weapon. It resembled a circle of 12 to 30 centimeters in diameter, with its edges sharpened or with spikes protruding outwards. It was made out of steel or brass, with the grip handle made from bamboo or steel. It was wrapped around with leather scraps to allow the wielder an easier use, and weighted 2 kilograms the most.

7) Longbow:

Two instances in the world saw the use of the longbow as a weapon of choice in an army, namely, in Medieval England and during the Shogunate Era of Japan with the yumi. Made out of yew or any type of hardwood, it stood about 1 meter and 80 centimeters in length, with its weight being decided by the type of wood it was made of. Requiring immense strength by its wielder, paired with great stamina and dexterity to be able to shoot fast, the weapon itself ended battles before they had even begun.

8) Crossbow:

Deriving its origins to ancient China, the crossbow was the most effective weapon for defense. Also, it was quite decent in offense. Allowing the wielder to precisely shoot bolts from low to medium range, the body of the crossbow was made out of varieties of wood. Its mechanism was made out of iron at first, but then the steel was used. As there are a number of variations of the crossbow, be it light, heavy or siege, there is no standard length or weight we can attribute to it.

9) Arquebus:

As the use of gunpowder spread in Europe, it allowed for the construction of very first firearms, among which were the Arquebus rifles. Even though primitive and somewhat lacking in power at first, they later replaced bows and crossbows in the battlefields. They paved the way for better gunpowder armaments to appear. The body was made out of wood, hardened and lacquered, while the tube was made out of steel. These riffles were prototypes of muskets later on. Every single Arquebus differs from the other, be it by weight, length or even by use.

10) Messer:

Meaning large knife in German, these two-handed swords were used typically by special regiments of infantry such as Landsknecht or people that were wealthy enough to afford making one. Used to break the rows of pikes of the opponents, dismount the rider off his horse, or cleave a part of said horse to stop it in its charge, these swords were horrifying to behold on the battlefields. Either straight or curved, the blade was made out of steel alongside its hilt, and the overall length of the weapon was 76 centimeters. The Messer’s blade alone was 62 centimeters in length and usually weighted somewhere between 1 and 2 kilograms.

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