The Featuerd image of Medieval Mace

The Mystery of the Medieval Mace

Medieval maces were a form of blunt weapon popular during the Middle Ages. They were highly valued since they could quickly smash through plate armour and cause injury to the wearer against strongly armoured opponents. As a result, they were popular among knights and other combatants during the medieval period.

What is a medieval mace?

The origins of medieval mace can be traced back to ancient times when the Greeks, Romans, and Persians utilised it. The mace, however, had its greatest evolution and widespread use throughout the medieval period.

The maces of the early Middle Ages were basic weapons with a wooden handle and a hefty metal head. These early maces were primarily intended for use by foot warriors to burst through armour or cripple horses. The design of the mace got increasingly complicated and refined as the medieval period advanced.

A new mace style, the flanged mace, appeared in the 12th century. This mace style has a metal head with flanges or ridges to amplify the weapon’s impact. The flanged mace was a favourite weapon among knights and aristocrats because it was remarkably efficient against armoured opponents.

In different regions around the globe, there were variations of the mace. In Persia, for example, the mace was frequently fashioned of steel and had a short, pointed head. The mace was known as a Gada in India, and it was normally constructed of wood with a metal head. In Japan, the mace was known as the Kanabo and was constructed completely of metal.

Medieval Mace Types

Numerous varieties of mace weapons were employed by warriors and soldiers throughout the medieval era. The flanged mace, knobbed mace, and spiked mace were among them. Each of these maces had a distinct design and had different functions in warfare.

Flanged Mace

Flanged Mace
Flanged Mace is licensed under CC0 1.0

The flanged mace was a popular weapon throughout the medieval period. Its metal head with flanges or ridges intensified the weapon’s impact. The Gothic mace and the Gisarme, wielded by knights and nobles, are historical examples of the flanged mace. The Gothic mace featured a long handle and a four-flanged metal head, but the Gisarme had a shorter handle and a single-flanged metal head.

Knobbed Mace

Another form of mace popular throughout the medieval period was the knobbed mace. It had a metal head with knobs or protrusions that boosted the weapon’s impact. The Holy Water Sprinkler mace, employed by the Church during the Crusades, is an example of a knobbed mace in history. The Holy Water Sprinkler was made of metal and featured a long handle with several knobs. The knobbed mace was used for crushing bone and providing blunt force injuries to an opponent. 

Spiked Mace

Spiked Mace
Spiked Mace, by Can Pac Swire, is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The spiked mace was a mace with a metal head adorned with spikes or points. The spiked mace’s historical counterparts are the Indian Gada and the Persian Shishpar. The Gada featured a wooden handle with a spiked metal head, but the Shishpar had a pointed metal head and a long handle. The spiked mace was used to pierce armour and inflict bleeding wounds on opponents.

Who used Mace weapons?

The medieval mace was a sort of weapon used by soldiers and warriors throughout the medieval period. It was prevalent among knights and aristocrats, who used it in combat to crush their opponents’ armour and cause internal damage.

Even if the armour remained intact, the mace was useful against strongly armoured opponents since it could pierce holes in the armour or cause blunt force harm to the body. This was especially helpful when fighting on foot since it allowed the holder of the mace to strike at susceptible regions of their opponent without worrying about coming too near.

The mace could also cripple horses or knock riders from their rides, making it valuable against cavalry. This was especially essential in fights when horse charges were used often.

Famous Medieval Mace

Numerous renowned maces were used during the medieval period, each with unique historical significance. Here are a couple of such examples:

The Drogden Mace: Made in the 14th century, this mace is regarded as one of the best-surviving specimens of a Gothic mace. It features a long hardwood handle and a four-flanged metal head. The Drogden Mace is important because King Christian IV of Denmark used it during the Kalmar War against Sweden.

The Holy Water Sprinkler Mace: The Church used this mace throughout the Crusades. It featured a metal head with some knobs and a long handle, and it was used to crush the bones of non-Christian adversaries. The Holy Water Sprinkler Mace is notable because it symbolises the usage of the mace in a religious setting and emphasizes the Church’s involvement in medieval warfare.


Various varieties of maces were employed in medieval periods, including the flanged mace, knobbed mace, and spiked mace. The mace was a favourite weapon among knights, aristocrats, and foot warriors due to its efficiency against fully armoured opponents. Other renowned maces were used throughout this period, including the Drogden Mace, Holy Water Sprinkler Mace, Gada, and Flail, each having its historical significance and embodying distinct parts of medieval combat and culture. These examples reflect the diversity and evolution of the mace as a weapon and its significance in medieval culture.

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