medieval weapons

Medieval Weapons: An Illustrated List for History Buffs

If you’re a history buff, then you know that the medieval period was a time of epic battles, brave knights, and powerful weapons. In this article, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive list of medieval weapons with accompanying pictures. This list is perfect for those who want to deepen their knowledge about medieval weaponry and gain a better understanding of the weapons used in warfare during that time.

Key Takeaways:


Medieval swords were some of the most iconic and versatile weapons in history. They came in a variety of shapes and sizes, each with its unique characteristics. Here, we present some of the most popular types of medieval swords:

Type Description Picture
Longsword A two-handed sword with a straight blade, used for both chopping and thrusting.
Arming Sword A one-handed sword with a straight blade, used primarily for thrusting and quick strikes.
Broadsword A one-handed sword with a slightly curved blade, used primarily for chopping and cutting.

Swords were often adorned with elaborate designs, crafted with high-quality materials and precious metals. They were favored by knights and wealthy nobles and were symbols of power and status. Their versatility and effectiveness made them a popular choice for medieval warriors, and they continue to captivate history buffs and enthusiasts alike.


Medieval axes were some of the most versatile weapons on the battlefield. They could be used for chopping, cleaving, and even throwing. Here are some of the most common types of medieval axes:

Axe Type Description Picture
Battle Axe A single-handed weapon with a sharp blade and a spike on the backside.
Throwing Axe A lightweight axe designed for throwing at enemies from a distance.
Pole Axe A long-handled axe with a spear-like point on the end.

One of the advantages of axes was their ability to pierce armor. The blade of an axe could split through chainmail or plate armor, making it a formidable weapon against heavily armored opponents. Axes were also relatively easy to produce and maintain compared to other medieval weapons.

Overall, medieval axes were an important component of the medieval armory and played a key role in many battles of the middle ages.

Bows and Arrows

Medieval archery was a crucial part of warfare and hunting, and the use of bows and arrows was widespread. Different types of bows and arrows were used, some designed for speed and accuracy while others were intended to pack more power.

The most well-known of all medieval weapons was the longbow, which could be up to six feet long. It was a powerful weapon with a deadly range, capable of piercing armor from a distance. Crossbows were also commonly used, especially in sieges. They had shorter ranges but were more accurate and easier to use than longbows.

Composite bows were another type of bow used during the medieval period. They were made from several materials, including wood, horn, and sinew. These bows were highly effective and could be used on horseback, making them popular among cavalry troops.

Arrows were an essential part of archery, and a skilled archer could shoot as many as ten arrows per minute. Medieval arrows were typically made from wood and had a metal tip for piercing armor. Some arrows had barbs on the tip to make them difficult to remove from the body, causing more damage.

Type Description Picture
Longbow A powerful, six-foot-long bow that could pierce armor from a distance.
Crossbow A shorter ranged weapon that was easier to use and more accurate than the longbow.
Composite Bow A highly effective bow made from several materials and used by cavalry troops.
Arrow A wooden shaft with a metal tip used for piercing armor. Some arrows had barbs to create more damage.

The use of bows and arrows played a significant role in medieval warfare, and these weapons continue to captivate history buffs and enthusiasts to this day. The intricate designs and unique features of these weapons are a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of medieval craftsmen.

Spears and Polearms

During the medieval period, spears and polearms were go-to weapons for many warriors. These long-range weapons were designed to keep enemies at bay, making them popular on the battlefield. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the different types of medieval spears and polearms.


Javelins were one of the most common types of spears used in medieval warfare. These weapons were lighter and shorter than other spears, making them ideal for quick attacks. Javelins were often used in conjunction with shields to form a formidable defense.


Pikes were long spears that were designed for large-scale formations. These weapons could be up to 18 feet long, allowing infantry units to keep their enemies at bay while delivering deadly stabs.


Halberds were polearms that featured a spearhead, an axe blade, and a hook. These weapons were versatile and deadly, allowing warriors to pierce, chop, and disarm their enemies. Halberds were often used by foot soldiers and could be wielded with one or two hands.


Glaives were similar to halberds but featured a single-edged blade. These weapons were designed to slash through enemy armor and were often used to devastating effect in close-range combat.

Spear/Polearm Description Picture
Javelin A lightweight spear used for quick attacks
Pike A long spear used in large formations
Halberd A polearm with a spearhead, axe blade, and hook
Glaive A polearm with a single-edged blade

Spears and polearms were integral weapons on the medieval battlefield, providing long-range attacks and formidable defense. The variety of weapons available allowed warriors to choose the best option for their fighting style and tactics.

Maces and Flails

Medieval warfare was brutal and unforgiving, and maces and flails were two of the deadliest weapons on the battlefield. These weapons may not have been as flashy as swords or bows and arrows, but they were just as effective in taking down an enemy.

The mace was a heavy, blunt weapon typically made of metal. Its design varied throughout the medieval period, but it generally consisted of a long handle with a large head at the end. The head could have spikes, knobs, or other shapes to inflict maximum damage upon impact.

The flail was a more complex weapon that required a skilled and powerful warrior to wield effectively. It consisted of a long chain or rope attached to a handle, with a spiked ball or other heavy object at the end of the chain. The flail could be swung in a wide arc, allowing the user to strike from a distance and bypass an opponent’s shield or armor.

Types of Maces and Flails

There were several types of maces and flails used in medieval warfare. The morning star, for example, was a mace with a spiked head that resembled a star. The Holy Water Sprinkler mace had a fluted head and was used by the Catholic Church to bless holy water.

The ball-and-chain flail was the most common type of flail, with a spiked ball attached to a short chain. The two-handed flail, as its name suggests, required both hands to wield and included a longer chain and heavier ball or object.

Mace and Flail Pictures

Mace Flail

As you can see from these pictures, both maces and flails could be fearsome weapons in the hands of a skilled warrior. They were especially effective against heavily armored opponents and could cause serious injury or even death with a single blow.

If you’re a history buff interested in medieval weapons, studying maces and flails is a great way to deepen your knowledge of this fascinating era. Their unique design and deadly effectiveness make them an important part of medieval warfare history.

Siege Weapons

Medieval warfare relied heavily on siege weapons, which were designed to destroy fortifications and breach enemy lines. These weapons were essential in capturing and defending fortresses and castles. Here are some of the most significant siege weapons used in medieval warfare, along with their features and functions.

Siege Weapon Description Picture
Trebuchet A large catapult capable of hurling heavy objects over long distances. It was often used to destroy walls and fortifications.
Catapult A weapon that used tension or torsion to hurl projectiles at enemy fortifications. It was used for direct attacks on enemy lines or walls.
Battering Ram A long, heavy beam used to smash through gates and walls. It was often used in conjunction with other siege weapons.
Siege Tower A mobile tower that allowed soldiers to climb over enemy walls. It was often equipped with a drawbridge and a battering ram.

Siege weapons were a crucial part of medieval warfare, and their impact on battles cannot be overstated. They were used to breach enemy defenses, weaken morale, and ultimately gain strategic advantages. The trebuchetcatapult, battering ram, and siege tower were some of the most potent weapons in a medieval army’s arsenal.

Armor and Shields

The use of armor and shields was essential for medieval warriors to protect themselves from enemy attacks. Different types of armor were used by knights and soldiers depending on their rank, wealth, and the era they were in. Similarly, shields also varied in design, shape, and size, depending on their purpose.

Type of Armor Description Picture
Chainmail Consisted of small interlocking rings and was flexible enough to allow for movement. It was commonly worn over a padded gambeson to absorb the impact of weapons.
Plate Armor Comprised of large metal plates and was more effective against bladed weapons. It was expensive and required a long time to craft, so only wealthy lords and knights could afford it.
Helmets Covered the head and protected the face, neck, and sometimes the shoulders. They were made of metal and had a visor that could be lifted or lowered for better visibility.

Shields were also an important part of a warrior’s defense. They could be made of wood, leather, or metal, and were often painted with symbols or figures to represent their owner’s identity.

Type of Shield Description Picture
Kite Shield Shaped like a kite and was larger than most shields, providing more protection for the warrior’s body. It was used by knights and soldiers on horseback.
Round Shield Round in shape and was easier to maneuver in combat than larger shields. It was used by foot soldiers and could also be thrown as a weapon.
Pavise Shield A large rectangular shield used by crossbowmen as cover during reloading. It could be propped up on the ground or attached to a wall.

Armor and shields played a crucial role in medieval combat, allowing warriors to survive battles and protect their lord’s kingdom. Their designs and usage have been a fascinating subject for historians and enthusiasts alike.


In conclusion, this comprehensive list of medieval weapons with pictures is a must-have for history buffs and enthusiasts. From swords and axes to bows and arrows, spears and polearms, maces and flails, siege weapons, and armor and shields, this article has covered a wide range of medieval weaponry.

With the help of relevant pictures, readers were able to gain visual insights into the unique features of each weapon. Whether you are a history lover, gamer, or simply curious about the past, this article has provided a valuable resource for deepening your knowledge about medieval weaponry.

So what are you waiting for? Start exploring the fascinating world of medieval weapons today!

Keywords: medieval weapons list with pictures, history buffs


Q: How accurate are the pictures of the medieval weapons?

A: The pictures provided in this article aim to accurately depict the appearance and features of the medieval weapons. However, please note that artistic interpretations may vary, and there can be some degree of variation in the design and details of these historical weapons.

Q: Are there any specific sources or references for the information provided?

A: The information presented in this article is based on extensive research from reputable sources, including historical texts, scholarly articles, and expert opinions. However, it is always encouraged to further explore and consult additional sources for a comprehensive understanding of medieval weaponry.

Q: Can I use the pictures for educational or personal purposes?

A: The pictures included in this article are intended for educational and informational purposes. You may use them for personal use, educational presentations, or non-commercial projects. However, please ensure that you properly attribute the source of the pictures if you use them in any public or online platforms.

Q: Are there any other types of medieval weapons not covered in this article?

A: While this article strives to provide a comprehensive list of medieval weapons, it is possible that some lesser-known or region-specific weapons may not be included. The focus of this article is to cover the most prominent and widely recognized medieval weapons. However, if you have any specific inquiries, feel free to reach out, and we will be glad to assist you.

Q: Are there any modern variations or recreations of these medieval weapons?

A: Yes, there are modern variations and recreations of medieval weapons available today. These can range from functional replicas made for historical reenactments or collectors, to modified versions made for recreational purposes like fencing or martial arts. It is important to remember that safety precautions should always be taken when handling any kind of weapon.