People used weapons in medieval times for different reasons, including self-defence, hunting, warfare, and sport. In many cases, the use of weapons in the Middle Ages was necessary for survival, as society was often violent and unpredictable. Explore medieval weapons of Great Britain and Europe, including various types of swords, maces, hammers, daggers, bows, crossbows, clubs, and more. Or continue to armour or siege engines.
Here are some common questions about what medieval weapons were, how they were used, and why – including the most popular uses for weapons in the Middle Ages (such as self-defence, hunting, warfare, or recreation) and the most popular weapons themselves.
Self-defence was a significant reason why people carried weapons. Travelling through unfamiliar territory could be dangerous in medieval times, and individuals often carried weapons to protect themselves from bandits, robbers, and other criminals.
Hunting was another important reason why people used weapons in the Middle Ages. Because hunting provided a source of food and materials, weapons such as bows, crossbows, and spears were used to bring down game.
Lastly, warfare was perhaps the most significant reason why weapons were used in medieval times. Weapons such as swords, axes, maces, and spears were needed for battles fought between rival kingdoms, armies, and factions to kill or incapacitate enemies.
Finally, sports and recreation were also good reasons to use weapons then. Jousting, sword-fighting, and archery contests were popular forms of entertainment, and many individuals trained with weapons as a form of exercise or to improve their martial skills.
The most popular medieval weapon varied depending on the time period and the region where it was used. However, some of the most common and popular medieval weapons included the longbow (a powerful and accurate weapon used by English archers), the sword (a versatile weapon that could be used for slashing and thrusting), the mace (a blunt weapon with a spiked head), the spear (which could be used for both thrusting and throwing), and the crossbow (a powerful ranged weapon that could penetrate armour).
Explore medieval siege engines and devices designed to help to besiege armies and breach the defences of a castle, including springalds, mangonels, warwolves, trebuchets, caltrops, and more.
Do you want to learn more about medieval weaponry? Here are some of my favourite books covering weapons, castle defences, what life was like for a knight or warrior, and more.