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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Macuahuitl, The Aztec Weapon That Could Decapitate a Horse’s Head In One Swing

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While reading the title you might think that this is made up…But here we are going to introduce you to the famous Aztec weapon that the famous Jaguar warriors used and wielded. It was so sharp and deadly that it could potentially decapitate a horses head with one single swing. So how much effective was this weapon then?

The Macuahuitl was a common weapon used by the Aztec military forces and other cultures that were located in Central Mexico. This was a weapon that had the shape and size of a sword and could be considered for one. The notice of this mysterious weapon was noticed in the 16th century by the Spanish explorers once they encountered the Aztec empire.

The Jaguar warrior had this weapon in his arsenal as a main weapon and had a shield for protection. As a secondary weapon was the javelin that was used with a atlatl or a spear thrower (projectiles were common) and this is why the shield was needed. Now for the sword it’s pretty unique. It’s the only sword that is made from a ceramic material on it’s edge and it causes serious lacerations from the blades that were located onto the sides of the weapon. They looked like scales but could either have the shape of blades or spikes.

The weapon was made from wood and for the materials that the blades were made from was obsidian. This is a famous volcanic glass that is well known for it’s sharpness, it’s even sharper than a high quality steel razor blade. While the weapon was mainly used by the Aztecs other cultures like Mayans, Mixtec, Tlaxcalan and even the Spanish used it.

About it’s start the weapon had a length of 3 – 4 feet or around 1 meter and was three inches in diameter or 8cm. Along the edge of the wooden panel pieces were added and were fixed firmly inside in order to withstand a strong hit. Note that the blades were the same size and they weren’t “forged”. Sometimes the fixed blade could be the same length as the wood and without any gaps in between. Also the blades were so well constructed inside the wood that it they couldn’t be pulled away no broke loose. It was a blade made for a one hand grip while using a shield in the other hand but could also be used in a two hand grip depending on the situation.

According to the current archaeologists there were two versions of this weapon. One that had six to eight blades on each side and another one that was a smaller club around 50cm with only four blades. This club was called macuahuitzoctil.

Currently there are no fully preserved Maquahuitl that we know of but with time some might be found. It’s really hard to find them because they were made from wood and that material doesn’t last forever. This was a weapon and also a tool that was used from the earliest periods in the Mesoamerican history.

This weapon was so sharp that it could decapitate a man without a problem, this is a text from a Spanish conquistador :

“I saw one day an Indian fighting with a mounted man, and the Indian gave the horse of his antagonist such a blow in the breast that he opened it to the entrails, and it fell dead on the spot. And the same day I saw another Indian give another horse a blow in the neck, that stretched it dead at his feet.”

There are other text saying how effective this weapon was. They cannot be displayed here for copyright purposes… Overall the weapon was made in a professional studio and was used on a ballistic horse and with one strike it’s head was cut off. This weapon brought fear into the battlefield because it could easily cut people, note that the Aztec warriors had low quantity and quality armor that wasn’t much effective in their warfare.

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