mace types

Crushing Blows: Exploring the Different Types of Maces in History

In the world of weaponry, few weapons are as powerful and visually striking as the mace. With its distinctive design and devastating impact, the mace has played a significant role in warfare throughout history. From its earliest origins to its modern-day usage, the mace has undergone a fascinating evolution, resulting in a range of mace types that each boast their own unique features and significance.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of maces, exploring their different types throughout history. We will examine the notorious medieval flanged mace, with its distinctive flanges that provided a devastating impact, and the menacing spiked club, which struck terror into the hearts of opponents.

Key Takeaways:

  • Maces are a powerful and visually striking weapon that have played a significant role in warfare throughout history.
  • The mace has undergone an evolution resulting in a range of mace types, each with their own unique features and significance.
  • The medieval flanged mace and the spiked club are just two examples of the diverse range of mace types.

The Evolution of Maces: From Ancient Times to the Middle Ages

Before we explore the different types of maces in history, we must first take a look at their development. Maces have been around for centuries, with evidence of ancient maces used by civilizations such as the Egyptians and Greeks. These early maces were typically made of stone or bronze and had a simple design, with a handle and a rounded head.

It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that mace development really took off in Europe. The European maces of this time were crafted from metal and had a more complex design, with different types of heads and spikes. One of the most notable differences between the ancient and European maces was their length. Ancient maces were usually short, while European maces were longer and more versatile in battle.

The development of maces during the Middle Ages was heavily influenced by the armor worn by knights. Bladed weapons were less effective against armor, so weapons like maces and hammers, which relied on blunt force, became more popular. The increased use of plate armor also led to the creation of different types of maces, such as the flanged mace and the morning star mace.

The Flanged Mace

The flanged mace was one of the most popular mace types during the Middle Ages. This type of mace had distinctive flanges on the head, which were meant to increase the force of the impact. The flanges also gave the weapon a gruesome appearance, making it an intimidating sight for opponents on the battlefield. The effectiveness of the flanged mace in combat, coupled with its relatively low production cost, made it a popular weapon among foot soldiers.

The Morning Star Mace

The morning star mace, also known as the spiked mace, was another popular mace type during the Middle Ages. This type of mace had a spiked head that could penetrate armor, making it a deadly weapon in battle. The spikes on the morning star mace were often made of iron or steel and were designed to cause maximum damage to opponents. This weapon was primarily used by knights, who could afford the cost of its production.

In conclusion, understanding the evolution of maces throughout history is essential in appreciating their significance. From the ancient maces made of stone and bronze to the intricate flanged and morning star maces of the Middle Ages, maces were weapons of choice in various historical contexts, including warfare. In the next section, we will explore the mighty flanged mace and its role in medieval warfare.

The Mighty Flanged Mace: Unleashing Devastating Blows

The flanged mace is a fascinating weapon that originated in the early Middle Ages and was widely used until the Renaissance. Its distinctive feature is the flanges that adorn its head, providing a devastating impact. Flanges are sharp-edged, triangular or square-shaped projections that protrude from the mace’s head at right angles. They were designed to penetrate armor and cause severe injuries to enemies.

The flanged mace also had a unique construction, consisting of a long wooden handle and a metal head. The head could be fashioned in various shapes, but the most common was round or hexagonal with flanges. Some flanged maces had spikes in addition to the flanges, making them even more lethal.

Medieval warriors loved the flanged mace for its effectiveness on the battlefield. It was capable of crushing armor and bones, making it a favorite of knights and foot soldiers alike. The flanged mace also had a psychological effect on enemies, striking fear into their hearts with its menacing appearance.

Besides its use in warfare, the flanged mace was also used in tournaments and jousts. Competitors would wear heavy armor to protect themselves, and the maces were blunted to prevent serious injuries. These contests were popular in medieval times and attracted large audiences.

The Fearsome Morning Star Mace: A Deadly Spiked Weapon

The morning star mace, also known as the spiked mace, is a lethal weapon that struck fear into the hearts of its opponents. With its menacing spikes, the morning star mace was designed to deal swift and devastating blows to its targets.

The construction of the morning star mace varied, but it typically consisted of a wooden or metal shaft with a heavy ball at the end, adorned with spikes. These spikes could be straight or curved, and some morning star maces had multiple balls and spikes.

Design Usage
The spikes on the morning star mace were designed to penetrate armor, making it a particularly effective weapon in medieval warfare. It was often used by knights and foot soldiers alike and was a common sight on the battlefield.
Some morning star maces had chains that connected the head to the shaft, giving it greater reach and flexibility. These chained morning star maces were particularly effective against opponents on horseback.

The morning star mace has appeared in various historical contexts, from ancient Greece to medieval Europe. Its use declined in the Renaissance era, but it remained a popular weapon among certain groups, such as pirates and outlaws.

Today, the morning star mace is mainly admired as a historical artifact, but it has also made appearances in popular culture. It has been featured in video games such as Dark Souls and World of Warcraft, as well as in movies like Gladiator and The Lord of the Rings.

The morning star mace’s brutal effectiveness may be a thing of the past, but its impact on history and culture continues to be felt.

From Flail to Mace: Unconventional Variations of Maces

While the traditional mace design featured a simple handle and a spiked head, some mace types deviated from this convention. The flail mace, for example, incorporated a flexible handle that could be swung with greater force, while the chained mace had a long chain connecting the handle to the head, lending it greater reach. These unconventional variations provided unique advantages in combat, catching enemies off-guard.

The flail mace, also known as a ball-and-chain mace, featured a chain connecting the handle to the spiked head. The handle could be swung in rapid circles, enabling the heavy head to build up momentum, unleashing a devastating blow upon contact. Despite its effectiveness, it was a challenging weapon to wield, requiring a great deal of skill and practice.

Flail Mace Chained Mace

The chained mace, meanwhile, had a long chain connecting the handle to its spiked head, providing greater reach and enabling it to be swung around obstacles. This made it a useful weapon in certain situations, such as when dealing with opponents wielding shields.

Other unusual mace types included the horseman’s pick, with its tapering head designed for striking enemies from horseback, and the push dagger mace, which combined the piercing ability of a dagger with the crushing force of a mace.

Overall, these unconventional variations of maces showcased humanity’s creativity and ingenuity, while serving as a testament to the endless possibilities in the world of weapon design and development.

Maces Beyond the Middle Ages: Renaissance and Beyond

Although the Middle Ages were the golden era for maces, these crushing weapons continued to evolve and find uses in the centuries that followed. In the Renaissance, maces were still used in combat, but their design became more refined and ornamental. Renaissance maces were often made with decorative features and were carried by nobles as a symbol of rank and power.

In modern times, maces have found new uses and applications. They are often used in ceremonial settings, such as graduation processions or as part of military parades. Contemporary maces take many forms, from simple designs to elaborate and decorative pieces.

One notable example is the mace used by the United States House of Representatives. The House mace is a highly ornamental piece, made of silver and partially gilded. It is carried into the House chamber by the Sergeant at Arms at the beginning of each session as a symbol of the authority of the House.

Similarly, maces have also found a place in pop culture, appearing in video games and fantasy novels. They serve as weapons of choice for characters who prefer blunt force over sharp edges, adding a unique flavor to their fighting style. In some cases, maces have even been used as a unique form of character design, with variations such as the crystal mace or the elemental mace.

Overall, maces have had a lasting impact on history and continue to make their presence known in the modern world. Whether used as ceremonial objects or admired as artifacts, these weapons remain a testament to human ingenuity and martial prowess.

Mace Collecting: Appreciating the Artifacts

For those fascinated by history and weaponry, maces hold a special allure. Antique maces offer a glimpse into the past, revealing the ingenuity and craftsmanship of bygone eras. For collectors, these historical weapons serve as prized possessions, cherished for their unique designs and cultural significance.

Acquiring an antique mace requires diligence and expertise. It is essential to verify the authenticity of the artifact and ensure it has not been altered or damaged over time. Mace collectors must also be knowledgeable about the historical context of the weapon and the period in which it was used.

Preserving an antique mace is also a critical aspect of collecting. These weapons require careful handling and storage to prevent deterioration. Some collectors opt to display their maces in cases or shadow boxes, allowing them to be admired without risking damage.

Despite the challenges of collecting antique maces, the rewards can be significant. These weapons serve as tangible links to our past, offering insights into the military tactics and societal values of different eras. For those with a passion for history and a love of weaponry, collecting maces is a unique and rewarding pursuit.

The Influence of Maces in Popular Culture

Maces, with their imposing appearance and deadly reputation, have made their way into popular culture. From movies to video games, they have become a staple in the world of entertainment, inspiring awe and fear among viewers and players alike.

In movies, maces have been featured in epic battles, often wielded by heroic warriors fighting against overwhelming odds. The Lord of the Rings trilogy showcased the brutal effectiveness of maces, with characters like Gimli, the dwarf, using them to devastating effect. In the movie 300, the Persian army wielded a unique variation of a spiked mace, highlighting the weapon’s versatility in combat.

In video games, maces are often used as heavy, close-range weapons that deal a significant amount of damage. Games like Dark Souls and Skyrim feature a variety of maces, from standard blunt weapons to ornate spiked ones that glow with magical energy. In World of Warcraft, players can acquire a range of maces, from basic ones to legendary artifacts that grant incredible power.

Maces have also made appearances in pop culture beyond movies and video games. In the popular TV show Game of Thrones, the character Brienne of Tarth wields an imposing Valyrian steel mace, cementing her status as a formidable warrior. In the Marvel comics, Thor’s hammer Mjolnir is sometimes depicted with a mace-like appearance, showcasing the weapon’s power as a symbol of the God of Thunder’s might.

Overall, maces have become an iconic representation of strength and power in popular culture. Whether wielded by heroes or villains, they continue to captivate and inspire audiences across various media.


In conclusion, this comprehensive guide has explored the fascinating world of maces, delving into their different types throughout history. From the ancient maces of civilizations like the Egyptians and Greeks to the development of European maces during the Middle Ages, we have traced their evolution. We examined the distinctive features of the flanged mace and the morning star mace, including their effectiveness on the battlefield. We also explored unconventional variations such as the flail mace and the chained mace.

Maces did not disappear after the Middle Ages, and we looked at their use during the Renaissance and in modern times. For enthusiasts, we discussed the world of mace collecting, providing insights into the acquisition and preservation of valuable historical artifacts. We also explored the influence of maces in pop culture, with notable appearances in movies and video games.

The Enduring Legacy of Maces

Throughout history, maces have held a significant role in warfare, leaving an enduring legacy. As crushing blows of the past, they not only captivate and fascinate, but also provide a testament to humanity’s ingenuity and martial prowess. Whether admired as historical artifacts or encountered in fictional realms, maces continue to arouse curiosity and inspire awe.


Q: What are maces?

A: Maces are weapons that consist of a long handle or shaft with a heavy head at the end. They are typically used for striking or bludgeoning.

Q: What are some famous types of maces?

A: Some famous types of maces include the medieval flanged mace, the spiked club, the morning star mace, and the flail mace.

Q: What is the significance of maces in history?

A: Maces have been used throughout history for combat, both in warfare and in personal combat. They were effective weapons due to their weight and ability to deliver powerful strikes.

Q: Can maces still be seen in modern times?

A: While maces are not commonly used in modern warfare, they can still be seen in ceremonial settings and are occasionally used by historical reenactors.

Q: Are maces legal to own?

A: The legality of owning a mace varies depending on the jurisdiction. It is important to research and understand the laws and regulations in your specific location.

Q: How can I start collecting maces?

A: To start collecting maces, you can search for antique mace dealers, attend auctions or antique fairs, and connect with other collectors. It is important to thoroughly research the authenticity and value of any mace before making a purchase.