Unusual Medieval Weapons

Unusual Weapons of the Knight

The Middle Ages was a time of much conflict and warfare. During this time many unusual weapons were created to solve battlefield problems. Many of these weapons are familiar to us such as the sword, axe, or lance. But there were many lesser known and unusual weapons that were created during this time in history.

  • The Man-Catcher- Not all weapons were created specifically for battle or for hand to hand combat against an armored foe and a good example of this was the Man Catcher. This unusual weapon was a long pole arm with a semi-circular pronged shape catch at the end. There was a spring-loaded trap on it and it was used to reach up, capture, and pull down someone mounted on a horse. The primary use of this weapon was to capture enemy royalty for later ransom.
  • The Sword breaker was another unique weapon developed and used during the Middle Ages. This was a long and very sturdy dagger that had slots on one side much like the teeth of a comb. This was a standard off hand weapon that was used to capture an opponent’s sword blade. Once the blade was caught a quick twist of the sword breaker would snap the opponent’s sword blade
  • The Caltrop - Not all weapons were hand-held and the caltrop is a good example of the ingenuity of the art of combat and the dynamics of the battlefield. The caltrop was a fabrication of metal that had four points much like a childs Jack. The unique thing about the caltrop was that if you threw it on the ground, because of the four pointed structure, it would always fall with one point standing straight up and this was a serious danger and deterrent to cavalry or even foot soldiers.
  • Dagger Variations - Some of the most unique and unsual designs in weapons were in the realm of the dagger and many different daggers came out of the Middle Ages including the Rondel which was a long conical shaped dagger. It was specifically a piercing weapon and it’s conical shape made it look much like a long and slender ice cream cone. The Poniard was another unusual dagger because it had either a square or triangular shape. This shape was effective for piercing armor.
  • Medieval Shield Variations - Shields are often thought of as defensive weapons. But, they can be used as percussive weapons and striking an opponent with a shield can be very effective. But, it goes beyond this in that shields were actually designed as "Offensive weapons". Two of these shield designs are known as the Lantern Shield and the Gun Shield. You can read more about these shields on my page of Unique and crazy Medieval Weapons.

The Middle Ages saw a trememdous development in many types of weapons. Some of these weapons are still in use today but some of the more unique ones, because of their very specific applications, are no longer seen. Yet they remain as a testament to the nature of the medieval battlefield.  

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