list of medieval weaponry

Uncover the Past: Comprehensive List of Medieval Weaponry

Are you fascinated by the medieval period and the weapons used during that time? Look no further! In this comprehensive list of medieval weaponry, we will take you on a journey through history, exploring the various types of weapons used during the medieval period and their significance.

From swords to siege weapons, each weapon played a unique role in shaping history and understanding their significance can provide insight into the battles and wars of the past.

Whether you are a history enthusiast or simply looking to expand your knowledge, this list of medieval weaponry is sure to pique your interest. Read on to discover the weapons that shaped the medieval era.

Key Takeaways

  • Medieval weaponry includes a variety of weapons used during medieval times.
  • Understanding the significance of these weapons provides insight into the battles and wars of the past.
  • From swords to siege weapons, each weapon played a unique role in shaping history.

Swords – Iconic Weapons of the Middle Ages

The sword is one of the most iconic weapons of the Middle Ages. It was a symbol of power and wealth, often adorned with intricate designs and precious stones. Medieval swords were designed for specific purposes, such as cutting, thrusting, or both. They came in various shapes and sizes, ranging from the small and light arming sword to the large and heavy longsword.

Types of Medieval Swords

There were several types of medieval swords, including:

  • Knightly Sword: A long and heavy sword used by knights in battle. It was designed for hacking and piercing through armor.
  • Arming Sword: A shorter and lighter sword used by foot soldiers and knights as a backup weapon.
  • Longsword: A versatile sword used for both cutting and thrusting. It was commonly used by knights and required two hands to wield.
  • Rapier: A long, thin sword used for thrusting. It was popular during the Renaissance period.
  • Greatsword: A massive sword used by foot soldiers to break through enemy lines. It required two hands to wield and was often six feet or longer.

Each type of sword had its own unique design and purpose, making them important weapons in medieval warfare.

Swords were also often adorned with intricate designs and engravings, making them not only functional but also decorative. They were often passed down through generations as family heirlooms and were considered a symbol of prestige and power.

In conclusion, medieval swords were a vital part of medieval warfare, and their designs and functions evolved over time. They remain iconic symbols of the medieval period and continue to fascinate and intrigue people today.

Armor – Protecting Medieval Warriors

In medieval warfare, armor played a key role in protecting warriors from the enemy’s weapons. Medieval armor offered different levels of protection depending on the type, style, and materials used.

The most popular types of medieval armor were plate armor, chainmail, and leather armor. Plate armor was made from metal plates that covered the warrior’s body and provided excellent protection against slashing and piercing weapons. Chainmail, made up of thousands of interlocking rings, offered excellent protection against cuts and thrusts but did not provide the same level of coverage as plate armor. Leather armor was a popular choice for light infantry or for those who could not afford the cost of metal armor.

Armor was often customized for the individual warrior and embellished with engravings, jewels, or other decorations. Medieval armor was not only functional but also a symbol of status and wealth.

Armor was not always foolproof, as weapons could still penetrate or break through it. However, it significantly reduced the chances of injury or death on the battlefield.

Armor was often accompanied by a helmet, which protected the warrior’s head from blows and arrows. Medieval helmets varied in design, from simple open-faced helmets to elaborate visored helmets that covered the entire head and face.

Medieval armor was a crucial element in medieval warfare and played a significant role in protecting warriors.

Polearms – Versatile Weapons of the Medieval Era

During the medieval period, polearms were highly versatile weapons used by warriors on the battlefield. These long-handled weapons allowed for powerful thrusting and slashing attacks from a distance, as well as for defense against cavalry charges. Some of the most common types of polearms include spears, halberds, and pikes.

Spears were some of the earliest and most basic polearms, consisting of a long wooden shaft with a metal spike or point at the end. Halberds, on the other hand, were more complex weapons that combined a spear-like point with an axe blade and a hook for pulling cavalry off their horses. Pikes were even longer than spears and were often used by infantry as a defensive barrier against charging cavalry.

The use of polearms in medieval warfare was widespread, with both foot soldiers and knights utilizing these weapons. The effectiveness of such weapons was due to their long reach, allowing the wielder to attack from a safe distance, and their versatility in both defensive and offensive maneuvers. They were particularly effective against mounted knights, who were vulnerable to thrusting and tripping attacks from polearms.

Today, medieval polearms remain popular among collectors and enthusiasts. From the simplicity of a basic spear to the complexity of a halberd, these weapons are a fascinating part of medieval history.

War Hammers – Crushing the Enemy

The medieval period saw the widespread use of war hammers, a fearsome weapon used by warriors to crush their enemies. These weapons were particularly effective against heavily armored opponents, as the blunt force of the hammer could dent and deform metal armor, causing injury to the wearer.

War hammers came in a variety of designs, including the mace-like “horseman’s hammer” and the longer-handled “Lucerne hammer” with a spiked head for piercing armor. Some war hammers had a flat head on one side and a spike on the other, offering versatility in combat.

War hammers were often used in conjunction with shields, as warriors could use the shield to deflect an opponent’s attack and then deliver a powerful blow with the war hammer. The weight and balance of the weapon also made it effective in close combat, allowing warriors to quickly strike their opponents before they could react.

The use of war hammers declined in the later medieval period as plate armor became more advanced and could withstand the force of the hammer. However, earlier in the period, the war hammer was a popular weapon for knights and foot soldiers alike.

Maces – A Blunt Force Weapon

When it comes to medieval war weapons, maces were one of the most formidable. These weapons featured a head made of metal, typically outfitted with spikes or flanges, that delivered a punishing blow to enemies. The weight and design of the mace made it a powerful tool for close combat, allowing warriors to crush bones and even penetrate armor.

The use of maces varied among different regions and armies. In some cases, they were used as a primary weapon, while in others, they were employed as a backup to a primary weapon like a sword or axe. Being a blunt force weapon, maces were particularly effective against armored opponents, who would be vulnerable to the impact.

The design of maces varied as well, with different shapes and sizes being used for different purposes. One popular variation was the morning star, which featured a spiked head on a short staff. Morning stars were useful in close combat and could easily be swung in tight spaces like narrow corridors or trenches.

The Mace in Popular Culture

“It’s just a flesh wound!” – The Black Knight, Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Perhaps the most famous depiction of a mace in popular culture is the scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. In it, the Black Knight fights against King Arthur with a mace, famously refusing to yield even after losing his arms and legs.

Maces are also commonly seen in medieval fantasy settings, like role-playing games and movies. In these cases, they are often depicted as weapons wielded by brutish, powerful characters who can easily crush their foes.

Overall, maces were a unique and deadly weapon used in medieval warfare. While they may not have the same iconic status as swords or bows, they were no less effective on the battlefield in dealing damage to enemy combatants, making them a crucial part of any medieval warrior’s arsenal.

Archery – Precision from a Distance

The use of archery technology allowed medieval warriors to strike their enemies from a distance, minimizing their own risks in battle. Longbows, crossbows, and composite bows were the most common types of bows used in medieval period. Longbows were made of a single piece of yew or elm wood and used for long-range shooting. These bows were known for their incredible accuracy and were the perfect weapon for an skilled longbowman. Crossbow, on the other hand, were popular among the less skilled archers and were easier to use. Composite bows, made of different materials such as horns, wood, and sinew, were the most expensive yet effective bows, often used by elites and professional armies.

The success of archery was not only because of the weaponry, but also the training and discipline of the archers. They received rigorous training in order to master the art of archery, which was considered to be a valuable skill in the medieval period. Archers had to develop excellent aim, judgment of distance, and timing to be able to shoot their arrows with precision and accuracy.

Archery played a significant role in medieval warfare, particularly in battles where the terrain was uneven or difficult to navigate. Its use was also widespread in castle sieges, where archers shot down at defenders from the top of the walls.

The use of bows and arrows has survived to this day as a popular sport, but it was more than just a sport in the medieval period. It was a deadly weapon used to take down enemies from afar and played a crucial role in shaping history.

Siege Weapons – Breaking Down Fortress Walls

Siege warfare dominated medieval battles, and breaking through fortified walls required specialized weaponry.

Trebuchet: This siege engine was capable of launching heavy projectiles over long distances, making it a formidable weapon against fortresses. The trebuchet utilized a counterweight system to propel stones, logs, and other heavy objects towards the enemy.

Catapult: A less accurate, but still effective siege weapon utilized by medieval armies. This type of weapon used a tension system to launch stones or other projectiles at high speeds towards the enemy.

Battering Ram: This weapon was used to break down fortress gates and walls. It consisted of a large log, suspended from a frame, which could be swung back and forth to repeatedly strike the same spot. The ram was typically protected by a covering or roof to shield the attackers from enemy fire.

Medieval siege weapons were essential for breaking down fortress walls and gates. They played a significant role in medieval warfare, shaping the course of battles and ultimately, the outcome of wars.

Axes – Deadly Chopping Weapons

Axes were versatile weapons used by medieval warriors. They were especially useful in close combat, as they allowed a fighter to deliver powerful, chopping blows to their opponent.

The most common type of axe used in medieval warfare was the battle axe. These weapons had long, sturdy handles and a wide, flat blade that was sharp on one side and often had a point on the other.

Throwing axes were also popular among warriors, particularly those who fought on foot. These axes were lighter and had shorter handles than battle axes, allowing for quicker, more agile movements in combat.

While not as popular as battle or throwing axes, there were also specialized types of axes used in medieval warfare. For example, the Dane axe had a longer handle than a battle axe, which allowed for greater reach on the battlefield. There were also executioner’s axes, which had wider blades and were used for beheadings.

Overall, axes were deadly weapons that played a significant role in medieval combat. Whether for close-quarters combat or thrown from a distance, they were a formidable weapon in the hands of a skilled warrior.

Daggers and Knives – Versatile Sidearms

Daggers and knives were an essential part of a medieval warrior’s arsenal. These versatile sidearms were used for a variety of purposes, from stealthy assassinations to utility tasks like cutting rope or preparing food on the battlefield.

Medieval daggers and knives came in various shapes and sizes. The most common type was the baselard, a short, pointed dagger with a cross-guard that protected the user’s hand. Another popular design was the dagger with a rondel, which had a circular guard near the hilt that provided additional protection.

Knives were another type of medieval weapon that saw frequent use. These weapons were often carried in a sheath on a warrior’s belt and were commonly used for cutting, slicing, and thrusting.

Today, medieval daggers and knives are popular among collectors and history enthusiasts. Many reproductions are available for sale, offering a glimpse into the past and providing a tangible link to the weapons of medieval warriors.


In conclusion, the medieval period was a time of great conflict and upheaval, and the weapons used during this time played a critical role in shaping history. From the iconic swords and armor to the versatile polearms and deadly war hammers, each weapon had its unique purpose on the battlefield.

Despite the passage of time, many of these weapons continue to capture our imagination, and some even remain available for sale to enthusiasts or collectors. Whether you’re a history buff or simply fascinated by the weaponry of the past, exploring the world of medieval weapons is an adventure worth taking.

So, which weapon is your favorite?

Did you find yourself drawn to the precision of archery, or the raw power of the war hammer? Perhaps the unique design of the mace caught your eye, or the versatility of the axe and dagger are more to your liking. Whatever your preference, we hope this comprehensive list has given you a greater appreciation for the weapons of the medieval era.

Thank you for joining us on this journey through history, and we invite you to continue exploring the rich tapestry of the past.


Q: What are some iconic medieval weapons?

A: Some iconic medieval weapons include swords, armor, polearms, war hammers, maces, archery weapons, siege weapons, axes, and daggers/knives.

Q: What was the role of swords in medieval warfare?

A: Swords were one of the most iconic weapons of the Middle Ages. They were used by knights and warriors for close combat and slashing attacks.

Q: How did armor protect medieval warriors?

A: Armor provided protection to medieval warriors by shielding them from enemy attacks. Different types of armor, such as plate armor, chainmail, and leather armor, offered varying degrees of protection.

Q: What were polearms used for in the medieval era?

A: Polearms, such as spears, halberds, and pikes, were versatile weapons used for thrusting, poking, and striking enemies on the battlefield.

Q: What made war hammers effective in battle?

A: War hammers were effective weapons due to their crushing power. They were designed to deliver devastating blows and could cause significant damage to armored opponents.

Q: How were maces used during the medieval period?

A: Maces were popular blunt force weapons in medieval warfare. They had spiked heads or flanges and were used to deliver powerful blows that could crush armor and incapacitate opponents.

Q: What were the different types of bows used in medieval archery?

A: Longbows, crossbows, and composite bows were the main types of bows used in medieval archery. Each had its own advantages and was used for different purposes.

Q: How did siege weapons aid in medieval sieges?

A: Siege weapons, such as trebuchets, catapults, and battering rams, were used to breach fortified walls and structures during medieval sieges.

Q: What were the different types of axes used in medieval combat?

A: Battle axes and throwing axes were commonly used in medieval combat. They were versatile weapons that could be used for chopping, hacking, and throwing.

Q: What were daggers and knives used for in the medieval period?

A: Daggers and knives served as versatile sidearms during the medieval period. They were used for stealthy attacks, utility purposes, and as backup weapons.