While there were surely good time and happiness, the medieval times in history were one of violence. It was always a quest for power and wealth and power in European countries where there Kings and Queens in massive stone castles that protected them. There were battles, fights and wars on the lands around those castles and often they would be siege.
It was the Norman Conquest and the battle of Hastings that are time remembered, with sieges and warfare amuck. But what weapons did they use back in those days? Before canons and guns were created, how did they fight those battles and wars? Here, we’re going to take a look at those weapons, some with a little bit detail to give you some idea what they had to work with:
Battering Ram: These were used to knock down doors or finish crumbling walls and were frequently made on-the-spot from a tree or other handy material that was big and strong enough.
Battle Ax: No, this wasn’t your high school Algebra teacher. It was a weapon commonly used for chopping down doors.
Caltrop: In order to slow down the approaching enemy, these metal spikes with multi points would be scattered along the anticipated path.
Crossbow: A long range weapon that came along after 1100 B.C. and was similar to what we know as a bow and arrow, but concealing it was easier. It used small arrows that were metal bolts and shot them with abundant force. You could carry several bolts at once making this weapon an advantageous one to have.
Dagger: This two sided blade would come in various forms, from elegant and regal to plain and simple. This was a common weapon among soldiers when they would lose their sword in battle.
Glaive: This weapon had a single edge blade and was similar to that of a spear that the foot soldiers and knights would use to kill from afar. It was not a weapon of choice within close quarters however.
Gunpowder: In 1250, a new technology that was powerful and strange was introduced to Europe, although the Chinese are credited with its discovery way before that. The Europeans would learn more about this technology than the Chinese were able and thus it become a powerful addition to new weapons like bombs, cannons and guns.
Knives: Normal to have one a single edge, this weapon wasn’t as large the dagger and the primary use of it was cutting, eating and repairing. Those who were poorest of all would use knives as a weapon because they couldn’t afford the luxury of actual weapons.
Lance: Much like a ceremonial spear used by knights while on horseback in jousting tournaments.
Longbow and Arrows: In the skilled hand of a foot soldier or knight, these were the choice for long range offense to fire arrows that were dipped in poison. So if the stab of the arrow itself didn’t kill the intended, the poison would.
Mace: This is not the stuff we know in a spray can today. It had a ball, usually a spiked ball on the end of a large club and was originally used by noblemen. They would surge in popularity in the 14th century because of the injury they delivered to the enemies even if they wore chain mail or plate armor.
Murder Holes: Hot water, oil, tar and even sewage would be poured out of these special holes or windows that were in the gates and walls of castles as the King and Queen were defended.
Sword: Probably the most famous and well known of all medieval weapons is the sword. It would most often have a double-edged blade that allowed the fighter to cut on the backswing as well as on the forward swing. They would be in a large variety that included broadswords, claymores and sabers.
Catapult or Trebuchet: Another weapon that would be created from the wood found on site. They were large devices that had a weighted throwing arm which was held under tension. Then large rocks and/or iron balls would be hurled toward castle walls when the tension was released, smashing down the doors and walls. It wasn’t uncommon for those who had died in battle as well as diseased animals to be thrown instead if there were no rocks or iron balls at hand. Fireballs would be hurled as well in attempt to set fire to the inside of the castles.
We can now picture these weapons being used in real life and imagine the foot soldiers and knights going back to their own home, or inside the castle they just won, to enjoy a cold brew in their favorite horn or mug (not together in the same room of course!).