Medieval warfare was marked by a wide array of medieval weapons that demonstrated the ingenuity and skill of the era’s warriors. Among the vast arsenal of medieval weapons, certain ones stood out for their effectiveness, versatility, and impact on the battlefield. In this blog, we delve into the realm of the Middle Ages to explore the Top Five Best Medieval Weapons. From the renowned longsword, steeped in legends of King Arthur, to the devastating power of the Warhammer, these medieval weapons not only shaped battles but also became iconic symbols of power and authority. Join us as we journey through history to uncover the fascinating stories and features behind these formidable medieval weapons.
1. Medieval Longswords
During the Medieval Era, the longsword was a highly regarded medieval weapon with a straight, double-edged blade and cruciform hilt. Typically, the blade measured 85-110 centimetres in length, while the whole sword was 100-130 centimetres long. These swords were constructed with a steel blade and a wooden hilt, which could be replaced with bone or horn wrapped in leather or wire.
Throughout the middle ages, the longsword was popular among knights, cavalrymen, and elite warriors due to its ability to deliver deep and powerful cuts on horseback or foot.
One of the most famous longswords is Excalibur, which is associated with the legends of King Arthur and was believed to possess magical properties. Legend has it that only the rightful king of Britain could wield Excalibur.
The Medieval Longbow was a powerful medieval weapon known for its range and accuracy and was wielded by skilled archers. It was made from a single piece of yew wood, with a flat outer side and a rounded inner side. The longbow was primarily used by English and Welsh warriors, who were called longbowmen. They were highly valued for their ability to rain deadly arrows from a distance on the battlefield. The Mary Rose recovered from a Tudor Warship, is one of the most famous longbows. Other versions of the longbow include the Ottoman longbow from the Ottoman Empire and the Japanese yum used in the practice of kyudo, the Japanese art of archery.
The Poleaxe was a highly versatile medieval weapon that could cut, pierce, and bludgeon. It consisted of a long wooden pole, usually 1.5 to 2 meters in length, topped with an axe-like head made of iron or steel. The other end of the pole featured either a spike or hammerhead, making it a multipurpose weapon. This weapon was effective against various types of armour and opponents and was used by both medical knights and cavalrymen on the battlefield for both infantry and mounted combat. There were variations of this weapon such as the Bes De Corbin, which had a beak-shaped spike on one end and a hammer on the other, and the Lucerne Hammer, which had a four-pronged head with each prong serving a different function, including a central spike for thrusting.
During the Middle Ages, the Warhammer was a popular medieval weapon among knights and heavily-armoured infantry due to its ability to impede opponents. It had a unique appearance, featuring a long wooden shaft and a heavy metal head designed to crush armour. The head was shaped like a hammer on one side and a spike on the other and was often adorned with intricate designs or engravings. The Warhammer was primarily made of iron and wood, providing stability and strength.
For close-quarter combat, the Warhammer was an ideal weapon. Meanwhile, the Sledgehammer – a larger and heavier version of the Warhammer – was designed for devastating impacts against fortifications. Ultimately, the Medieval Warhammer was a symbol of power and authority on the battlefield.
The medieval crossbow was a game-changer in medieval warfare, providing a precise and deadly medieval weapon that could be used by warriors of different skill levels. Its unique appearance included a wooden stock with a horizontally mounted bow that had a mechanism for holding and releasing the bowstring. The stock was often decorated with engravings or carvings, showcasing the weapon’s excellent craftsmanship. It was constructed from durable hardwoods, and the bow was made of either horn or sinew for flexibility. The crossbow was a preferred weapon of infantry and was particularly popular among mercenaries. Even untrained soldiers could handle this lethal medieval weapon, and crossbowmen were often positioned on the front lines to provide long-range firepower. The French Arbalest is one of the most well-known variations of the crossbow.
The top five best medieval weapons, including the longsword, longbow, poleaxe, Warhammer, and crossbow, showcased the innovative craftsmanship and adaptability of medieval warriors. These medieval weapons were not merely tools of destruction but embodied the culture, legends, and tactics of their time. From the mythical Excalibur to the precision of the crossbow, each medieval weapon carried its own unique history and impact on the battlefield. As we reflect on these medieval marvels, we gain a deeper appreciation for the skill and ingenuity of those who wielded them, forever leaving their mark on history.