The early medieval army was composed of about one-third mounted knights, a few professional soldiers, and the rest were peasants who were conscripted for the battle. The soldiers wore whatever they had available; most were clothed in a leather jerkin with iron rings. They carried a battle shield for better protection.
One of the most storied and legendary civilizations in recorded history is that of ancient Rome. Although it was started as a monarchy, the political structure shifted to an oligarchic republic during its span. During a time when empires rarely lasted for than a few generations, the Roman Empire thrived for over a thousand years in various incarnations.
Although there is a myriad of facets that make up the complexion of the society, the military is one of the most important. While Ancient Roman swords and armor would obviously be rudimentary by today’s standards, they were in line with their contemporaries. Along with Ancient Greece—who had a considerable influence on Rome—the two make up what is now referred to as the “classical period.”
A Falchion is a sword of European origin, handled by one hand, whose design is somewhat similar to the Persian Scimitar or the Chinese Dao.
The weapon combined the weight and power of an Axe with the versatility of a simple sword. Falchions are found in different forms throughout the 11th-16th centuries. In some versions the Falchion looks more like the Seax or the Sabre, and in other versions the shape is irregular and looks more like a Machete.
Chainmail armor was used by the last of the Romans, and by some of the invading Germanic tribes, including the Goths. Chainmail armor kept its popularity among the nobility of medieval Europe until, in the 13th century, plate armor began to be used instead, providing greater protection. This change was due to the fact, that the sharp tip of a sword or an arrow could pass through the chainmail.
Crossbows were already known in ancient China but, apparently, were invented again in Europe around the 5th century BC. They had good range and were more powerful that most of the bows, although it took much longer for them to load. A crossbowman could shoot an average of two arrows per minute.
The use of maces in battle was quite common during the Middle Ages, as the weapon was quite inexpensive to produce. Many of the maces on display in museums today are highly decorated for this reason. Though a mace is just a type of club, the image of the spiked mace is what comes to mind for most people.
The bows used in the Middle Ages were of several types: short-range bows, compound bows and long-range bows. Short-range bows measuring between 1 and 1.20 meters in size, and were fairly simple to manufacture and handle. They were the type of bow used most frequently. They had a medium-range, accuracy and strength, and required a good experience and a perfect training so that their use would be effective.
In the battles of the Middle Ages, ranged weapons and projectiles of all types played an important role. They were used as weapons of attack against individual targets on the battlefield and during sieges. In some cases, they were used as weapons against a certain given area on the field.
Since the appearance of the Cavalry, approximately in 1000BC, troops on horseback hadplayed several key roles in the battles. They acted as Scouts, Fighters, shock troops in skirmishes and rear guard force. They also served to pursue enemy army during its retreat. The cavalry was divided into different categories, depending on their equipment and their training. Some of these categories were better prepared than others to perform certain tasks.
Prior to World War II, the butterfly sword was not well-known outside of China. The deadly swords feature a single-edged blade that is as long as a human forearm. This length allowed for concealment inside loose sleeves or boots. Typically, butterfly swords are wielded in pairs.