Middle Ages Weapons Essay Examples

European warriors of the early Middle Ages used both indigenous forms of military equipment and arms and armor derived from late Roman types. One of the most widely used types of helmet was the Spangenhelm. Body armor was usually either a short-sleeved mail shirt (byrnie), made up of interlocking iron rings, or a garment of overlapping scales of iron, bronze, or horn. Shields were oval or round and made of light, tough wood covered with leather. Metallic mountings lined the rims. A hole in the center of each shield was bridged by a hand grip inside and a shield boss outside. Weapons were the spear, sword, ax, and the bow and arrow.

At the height of the Middle Ages, Saint Anselm (ca. 1033–1109) listed the equipment of a knight: his war horse (which by the thirteenth century was protected by mail and fabric), bridle, saddle, spurs, hauberk (a long-sleeved mail shirt, sometimes with a hood, or coif), helmet, shield, lance, and sword. Toward the end of the twelfth century, a new flat-topped type of helmet with side plates, which hid the face of a knight, became popular. To distinguish friend from foe, the knight’s triangular shield was painted with identifying symbols. By 1200, mail for the legs, called chausses, was commonly worn by mounted warriors. Later, boiled leather or steel pieces protected the knees (kneecops), while small squares of the same hard materials covered the vulnerable shoulder joints (ailettes).

By the fourteenth century, the improved crossbow was able to pierce shields and mail armor. To counter this, knights first wore a poncho-like coat with small rectangular plates riveted to it, while articulated plate armor was developed for the legs, arms, and hands. The small, square, convex shield of the time (the targe) was eventually relegated to use in tournaments, since improved body armor made it unnecessary. A new form of helmet joined the all-encompassing great helm and the wide-brimmed chapel-de-fer (war hat). This was the more streamlined, close-fitting bascinet, with a curtain of mail (camail) from chin to shoulders, which frequently had a movable visor. By the late 1300s, solid breastplates first appeared to protect the chest as part of the short, tight-fitting coat of plates called a brigandine, while smaller plates covered the abdomen, hips, and back.

Within a few years, by about 1420, full head-to-toe plate armor was in use, completing the image of the knight in shining armor.

Michael Norris
Department of Education, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

October 2001

Medieval Weapons Essay

1494 Words6 Pages

Medieval Weapons

Medieval Weapons were (are) very dangerous. They Can kill, puncture, wound, hurt, or anything else. All weapons From the Middle Ages were looked upon as frightening and crucial Tools to kill. From a small dagger to a large cannon; all weapons Would kill, no doubt about it. A lot, in fact most of the weapons were used for siege and Defense against castles. Castles were the most integral part of the Middle Ages. They held the king, the servants and anyone else Important. If you wanted land or money, a castle was the perfect Place to hit. Movable Towers were just one thing used to lay siege on These castles. Not necessarily a weapon itself, it held Weapons…knights and peasants. Knights and (or) peasants carried…show more content…

Anyway used, it was a big dangerous Weapon. Medieval Warfare and Weaponry In the Middle Ages, the nobility of many cultures had large fortifications built to house a small town as well as themselves. These fortification were called castles, and they were so well defended that some historians have called it "the most formidable weapon of medieval warfare" (Hull 1). As one can imagine, conquering such a colossal structure cost much money, even more time, and many lives. There were three main ways to infiltrate a castle; each no more common than the other two. The first way to conquer to castle is known as the siege. In a siege, an army would bar passageways into the castle, and continue to pound away at the castle's defenses until it was vulnerable to a final attack. In this form of assault, the attacking party did not have to approach the castle, as was required in a storm, the second way to attack a castle. In a siege, large projectiles from catapults often bombarded the ramparts of the castle. Hunger, plague, or actual weapons such as Greek fire arrows killed off the defenders of the castle. Greek fire was a mixture comprised of highly flammable substances that was agonizingly hot. Bits of cloth were dipped into the Greek fire compound and wrapped it behind the head of an arrow, and then lit on fire. Yet another common tactic in the siege was undermining. Undermining was the digging of tunnels underneath towers. However, the purposes of such

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