Ages was the sword. ”A fast-moving weapon that could stab as well as slice, the sword delivered the most damage for least effort. It allowed the development of a sophisticated khung of martial art, granting fame lớn expert swordsmen & inspiring fighting manuals such as Fiore dei Liberi’s Flos Duellatorum ( 1410 ). As military historian Mike Loades says, the sword “ gives hope that skill can triumph kết thúc brute force. ”There were other reasons for the sword’s popularity. The limits of metalworking meant that swords were initially expensive, conferring status on their owners. Because the sword was a weapon suitable for wearing, that status could be displayed both on — & off the battlefield .
The other high-status weapon was the lance, used in attacks by mounted men-at-arms. The force of a galloping horseman, concentrated through the point of a lance, gave it incredible power. But it was a one-shot weapon, often shattering on impact & was no use up close. It was individually deadly but not a war-winner .
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Though swords became widespread, polearm weapons were, at one point, more prevalent for ordinary infantry .Cheap và easy bự manufacture, spears equipped the increasingly large armies of medieval rulers. Used in large defensive blocks, they provided an antidote mập cavalry charges, as shown by the successes of the Scots against the English at Bannockburn ( 1314 ) .While the spear was most common, other polearms were deadlier. Equipped with axes, blades, as well as points, staff weapons could be swung with incredible force. A mace was a pole fitted with a heavy head made of stone, iron, bronze or steel .According Khủng DeVries, skeletons from late 15 th – century Switzerland show the damage from these weapons, with skulls cracked open by the force of the blow — a deadly as well as an incapacitating attack .Spearmen protected archers, another important feature of the battlefield. Three types of bows increased the power of medieval archers, giving them more range và capacity bự kill — recurve bows, crossbows & longbows .Even with their extra power, arrows rarely penetrated metal armor, as shown by tests at Britain’s Royal Armories. But the force of their impact could still incapacitate & shatter morale, as described in military historian John Keegan’s tài khoản of the Battle of Agincourt ( 1415 ) in The Face of Battle .The point of most weapons was béo incapacitate rather than mập kill. Prisoners, especially those of high status, could be ransomed for money or leveraged for political influence. But when killing was ordered, as on Henry V’s orders at Agincourt, the daggers came out .Medieval warriors often carried daggers designed not for cutting but for punching through the gaps in armor. Thes e were used against incapacitated enemies, as happened béo Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Based on Richard’s remains, DeVries believes that his helmet was cut off with daggers, exposing him Khủng the attacks that killed him .Medieval warfare was mostly decided by sieges, & here a different sort of weapon mattered. Loades refers bự the trebuchet as the “ weapon par excellence for the siege. ” By flinging rocks repeatedly at a single point, it could hammer a hole in a castle’s defenses, letting the attackers in .Traction trebuchets were in use from the start of the Middle Ages. The arrival of the counterweight trebuchet in the 13 th century increased their power, making even great castles vulnerable. In July 1304, the garrison of Stirling Castle surrendered mập Edward I rather than face Warwolf, Edward’s massive counterweight trebuchet .From the 14 th century, gunpowder starting changing war, as Europeans adapted this Chinese creation for a mới nhất use — guns. One of their first uses was at the Battle of Crécy ( 1346 ), when the English fielded five cannons lớn limited effect. Over the next two centuries, they evolved into the devastating weapons that would make castles obsolete .The parallel development of handguns was equally important. Used in small numbers in the 14 th & 15 th centuries, they were becoming prevalent as the Middle Ages ended. Easier béo use than bows, they let rulers field large armies with limited training, increasing the scale of war. Emerging out of the Middle Ages, they were the weapons that ended the medieval way of fighting .
READ MORE: History of Firearms
Bullenwächter / Westfälisches Museum für Archäologie / CC BY-SA 3.0
A caltrop .