A Beginner?s Guide To Medieval Weapons

Technological conditions and nature of availability of raw materials form the basis of any culture?s arsenal at any point of time in the history of mankind. Prehistoric human race, often better known as the Stone Age civilization were known for their intelligent usage of grinding tools, stone and shaping axes, and creating arrows and spears as weapons for survival strategies. But these implements improved over the years as the technological skills of these cultures improved.

The development of the metallic tools, implements and weapons that persisted through the Middle Ages were actually originated during the Bronze and Iron Ages and following that, these implements have dramatically altered over time. Eventually, with the appearance of gunpowder in Europe in the early 14th century most of these weapon were rendered useless and the castle too took a backseat to the extent of becoming redundant.

The castle was considered to be one of the most formidable weapons of medieval warfare while if we consider the smaller weapons, there were also a lot of lethal ones, the ones that were movable and capable of wreaking havoc and death of an opponent. Thus despite having played a key role in the deaths of many people during the Middle Ages, it is a category of its own and hence will be kept out the following discussion on medieval weaponry.

The Middle Ages witnessed the dominance of double edged swords, metal-headed spears and axes among weapons while arrows and short bows were also in vogue. A very interesting fact that is pretty well known in this regard is that the Saxons valued swords very highly to the extent of considering the value of a sword to be equivalent to the value of 120 oxen or 15 male slaves and thus according great importance and status to a man possessing a sword. Because of these weapons being simple to construct and easy to wield, throughout the Middle Ages these weapons remained popular.

In spite of the three weapons of the sword, the spear (or lance) and the battle-axe being very prevalent during the 12th century, yet the crossbow quickly gained popularity. Compounded with the rapidly rising popularity of the horse warfare that supposedly made movement easy and allowed a benefit to its martial riders who held spears and the beginning of massive siege engines, eventually these hand-held weapons helped invaders like the Normans to overpower these less technologically advanced people.

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