Medieval Weaponry

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Soldiers in medieval Europe used a variety of weapons. A soldier's choice of armor depended on the time during which he lived, the type of fighting he did, and his economic situation. For hand-to-hand combat soldiers typically used swords, axes, clubs, and spears. Crossbows, bows, and javelins served as projectiles for most of the medieval period, though firearms had begun to appear toward the end of the era. Siege weapons such as catapults helped armies break into castles and towns. Many soldiers wore armor to protect them from opponents' weapons. This armor evolved from mail made of metal links to full plate armor as projectile weapons improved. Medieval soldiers used a variety of weapons for hand-to-hand combat. All knights carried swords with them, and the best soldiers were expected to be skilled at swordplay. A sword consisted of a long blade and a handle called a hilt. Hilts could be made to accommodate one or two hands. Basic hilts were topped with a crosspiece that kept an opponent's sword from sliding down the blade and striking the soldier's hands. Some later swords had more elaborate hand guards. At the end of the hilt was a lump of metal called a pommel, which served as a counterweight to the blade. Sword blades could have one or two cutting edges, and the blades could be curved or straight, depending on how they were meant to be used. Most swords had a sharp point at the end to allow stabbing thrusts. Sword blade lengths varied greatly. The Vikings in the 800s used a sword that was about 3 feet long with a hilt that was usually held in one hand. Blades grew slightly longer during the 11th and 12th centuries. The long sword was common in the 14th through 16th centuries. It had a thinner and lighter blade than earlie... ... middle of paper ... ...nd use it to protect himself from blows while wielding a sword or other weapon in his right arm. A shield was also a convenient place on which to display a coat of arms, a combination of images that identified the soldier. Works Cited Cosman, Madeleine Pelner, and Linda Gale Jones. “warfare and weapons in the Middle Ages.” Handbook to life in the Medieval World. New York. Facts on File, Inc. 2008. Ancient and Medieval History Online. Facts on File, Inc. Cosman, Madeleine Pelner, and Linda Gale Jones. “weaponry and armor in the Middle Ages.” Handbook to life in the Medieval World. New York. Facts on File, Inc. 2008. Ancient and Medieval History Online. Facts on File, Inc. “Weapons.” The Middle Ages: An Encyclopedia for Students. Ed. William Chester Jordan. Vol. 4. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1996. 179-181. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web.

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