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What weapons did medieval knights use?

In order to survive in warlike conflicts in the best possible way, the knight had attacking and defensive weapons, the so-called ordnance, and protective weapons. Armor, helmet, and shield were among the weapons of protection. The weapons used included the lance, the morning star and the sword. Since the beginning of the 13th century, the dagger came as part of the constant armament of the knight. A goal of the training of the knight was the secure domination of the attack and defense weapons.

The lance

The lance was one of the weapons with which a high symbolic content was linked. For example, the early medieval kings appeared on their seal pictures with a lance in their hands. With the lance, the rulers transferred power to their vassals. The lance consists of a wooden shaft with an iron-forged point. 

The morning star

The morning star was a bat weapon with a wooden handle that was about 50 centimeters long. At the end of the stem sat the head, which was mostly made of wood, but sometimes also of iron. Its diameter varied between eight and 20 centimeters. The head was studded with thorns that were one to five centimeters long. Opponents who were struck with the Morning Star often suffered significant injuries. The use of this weapon was considered unchivalrous and was rarely used by the knights.

The armor

The armor changed considerably over the centuries. Until the late Middle Ages, the chain armor belonged to the equipment of a knight. The technical progress led to the development of the armor, which showed its final form as plate armor from the end of the 1400s. Also, the armor belonging to the armaments experienced in the course of the centuries technical innovations, but also – like the armor – fashionable fluctuations.

The sword

The sword is still considered the hallmark of chivalry par excellence. Girded with him, the squire was only a knight. It was forged after the model of the Germanic longsword with only a few modifications in detail. Until the 11th Knight in the Battle (Crusader Bible) century, it featured a broad, double-edged blade with a sharpened or slightly rounded end. His length was around 1 meter. From about the 13th century, the hitherto usual hemispherical or mushroom-shaped development of the knob with a straight crossguard was replaced by the disc knob. In the 14th century, the broadsword was joined by a narrower variant with a tapered blade, which was often preferred as a pronounced thrust weapon. One of the most famous swords of the Middle Ages is the sword worn by Emperor Frederick II at his coronation in 1220. His grip and sheath are considered masterpieces of Sicilian-Saracen craftsmanship.

The shield

Defensive weapons included the armor and helmet as well as the indispensable part of the knight’s equipment. He served to ward off strikes and blows. Its shape was mostly triangular, rounded up and pointed down. It consisted of several layers of wood covered with leather and studded with iron. With the development of ever more effective armor of the knights’ armor, this shield shape became more and more obscure. In the 15th century, the setting shield replaced the old shield. This shield, called Pavese, consisted of a vaulted wooden plate studded with iron, which was straight up at the top and arched at the bottom. At the bottom, there was an iron spur, with which the shield could be driven into the ground.

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