Update to the Use of Medieval Weaponry

Here’s a question on Quora on this very topic, answered by Eric Lowe: What were the relative advantages and disadvantages of various medieval weapons? How do I decide if I should use a sword, a spear, a mace, or a battle axe?

Eric begins:

Man … this is, like, the ur-question for the medieval weapons section of Quora.

I love that this question isn’t trying to reduce things to a simplistic “which is better?” or, even worse, “which would win?” framework. Kudos on asking about relative advantages, which is the only reasonable answer you can give to the “which would win?” questions anyway.

I’ve spent six years on Quora answering smaller versions of this question. I think this is the first time someone has just come out and asked the big question directly.

So, this is all in Lowe’s book, but if you haven’t yet bought The Use of Medieval Weaponry, this answer provides a very brief review of when and in what situations these weapons might be used. With footnotes! And links!

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3 thoughts on “Update to the Use of Medieval Weaponry”

  1. After reading your latest post I thought to myself, I should really read that book. Turns out I not only already bought it last year, but it’s actually sitting on my Kindle right now! (Just buried a bit…)

  2. Yes, Lowe makes that point when explaining why sword and sword alone was such a common choice, or sometimes sword and buckler, but generally not two swords.

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