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Deadly and Brutal Medieval Battle Axe

Designed with slender heads attached to the long hewing edge, the medieval battle axe allowed warriors to leave enemies devastated from the blow. The medieval Battle axe was deadly and brutal. Axes during the medieval age were considered more effective than swords. They required fewer skills and precision, and most foot soldiers and knights could use them without heavy training.

Ancient battle axes found during the medieval period were used as a close contact weapon. Most of them had broad socket heads that allowed the axe head and shaft to fit together and the crescent-shaped blade of about 10 inches fixed between the lower and upper points of the broad cutting edge. These could lop off the head on the battlefield in a single clean swipe.

History of Medieval Battle Axe

Medieval Battle Axe
Medieval Battle”, by The Guy who knows everything, is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The medieval period was a violent era in the history of battles. Many techniques like deadly weapons and torturous devices were used to make the enemies suffer. Battle axes were also very common in Europe during the Viking age and migration period. They were made by Blacksmiths using iron, steel, bronze, and also wood. It is believed the first axe was produced in 6,000 BCE using stone, and it was popularised in Europe by Romans.

Between 1100 and 1400, the European mounted knights preferred expensive swords over axes. They believed swords with long, straight steel blades could easily slash the enemies. However, these were still expensive, and only upper-class combatants could afford them. And most knights were covered in steel plate armour, which could easily defeat the sword’s attack. With time, it was replaced with mace, a vertical flange that could tear the body tissues and was cheaper than swords.

Battle axes took the design of mace one step further. The blacksmiths started concentrating on the weight and sharpness. Now, they were capable of slicing the opponent through armour too. The stabbing spikes could be added to it on demand. With time, most battle weapons were designed with metal. But in the 1600s, gunpowder-driven projectiles became popular and more valuable. Due to this, medieval battle axes became redundant as these were not enough to fight against these projectiles.

Designs of Medieval Battle Axe

Designs of Medieval Battle Axe
Designs of Medieval Battle Axe”, by One lucky guy, is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Medieval battle axes were designed using different materials, such as iron, copper, metal, and more, and each played a major role during medieval battles.

Double-bladed Labrys Axe

Double-bladed Labrys Axe
Double-bladed Labrys Axe”, by Lilla Frerichs, is licensed under CC0 Public Domain

This medieval double-sided battle axe was a hafted, single-bitted axe made with bronze and later with iron. Heavy infantry of ancient Greece used it as a weapon of war.

Socketed Head Medieval Battle Axe

Socketed Head Medieval Battle Axe
Socketed Head Medieval Battle Axe”, by Portable Antiquities Scheme, BH, is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Most medieval battle axe designs had the socketed head. It had a broader blade with an opening, where a wooden shaft or long metal strips were inserted.

Battle Axe with Mace

Battle Axe with Mace

This battle axe of the medieval period had the flanged mace (another medieval period weapon) design. This axe was more sharpened and had a crescent-shaped wedge on the metal plate. It could slice the enemy’s armour and cut them into the flesh beneath.

Barbarian Axe

The barbarian axe was designed with a single piece of iron and had the S-shape, lower edge of the blade, and single elbow. The lower part of the head was attached to the handle, and the upper edge was used to attack.


There were more medieval battle axe designs, such as throwing axe, handheld axe, Viking battle axe with an ornamental socket, medieval two-handed battle axe, double-headed battle axe, and more. Each of these was used as a close-combat weapon.

A few platforms also put the medieval battle axe for sale. If you are lucky enough, you can get a chance to buy the battle axe that played a major role in European history.

We hope you enjoyed reading about the medieval battle axe. If you liked reading this, you should definitely check out 10 Most Terrifying Medieval Torture Devices and 5 Most Terrifying Medieval Torture Methods!

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