Home | Engraving Information | Category List

A look at some Unique and Unusual Medieval Weapons - Education


A look at some Unique and Unusual Medieval Weapons   by Will Kalif

in Education    (submitted 2007-01-08)

The Middle Ages was a time of much conflict and warfare. During this time many unusual weapons were created to solve battlefield problems. Many of these weapons are familiar to us such as the sword, axe, or lance. But there were many lesser known and unusual weapons that were created during this time in history.

Not all weapons were created specifically for battle or for hand to hand combat against an armored foe and a good example of this was the Man Catcher. This unusual weapon was a long pole arm with a semi-circular pronged shape catch at the end. There was a spring-loaded trap on it and it was used to reach up, capture, and pull down someone mounted on a horse. The primary use of this weapon was to capture enemy royalty for later ransom.

The Sword breaker was another unique weapon developed and used during the Middle Ages. This was a long and very sturdy dagger that had slots on one side much like the teeth of a comb. This was a standard off hand weapon that was used to capture an opponent's sword blade. Once the blade was caught a quick twist of the sword breaker would snap the opponent's sword blade.

Not all weapons were hand-held and the caltrop is a good example of the ingenuity of the art of combat and the dynamics of the battlefield. The caltrop was a fabrication of metal that had four points much like a child's Jack. The unique thing about the caltrop was that if you threw it on the ground, because of the four pointed structure, it would always fall with one point standing straight up and this was a serious danger and deterrent to cavalry or even foot soldiers.

Some of the most unique and unusual designs in weapons were in the realm of the dagger and many different daggers came out of the Middle Ages including the Rondel which was a long conical shaped dagger. It was specifically a piercing weapon and it's conical shape made it look much like a long and slender ice cream cone. The Poniard was another unusual dagger because it had either a square or triangular shape. This shape was effective for piercing armor.

The Middle Ages saw a tremendous development in many types of weapons. Some of these weapons are still in use today but some of the more unique ones, because of their very specific applications, are no longer seen. Yet they remain as a testament to the nature of the medieval battlefield.