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  • The Crafty Weapons of the Medieval Knight

    Posted on March 22nd, 2011 admin No comments

    Medieval Knights had to use different weapons for different tasks. If they were engaged in ground combat, they needed one set of tools and if they were on their horses charging toward an opposing knight or enemy, then they would need an entirely different weapon. Each weapon had a specific purpose. Different stages or phases of battle required different weapons. So knights needed an arsenal of weapons. As one example, when knights are engaged in combat on the ground, they typically made use of the poleax. The poleax was so lethal, in fact, that even body armor was not enough protection. The poleax could slice right through the body armor and penetrate flesh. With its wooden handle and heavy metal head, the knight’s mace could fell an enemy knight from his horseback. With its protruding metal edges, a flanged mace would allow the knight to dent or even penetrate an enemy knight’s armor.

    The sword was an important piece of equipment. This long metal weapon had a cross-guard for the protection of the knight carrying it. This prevented the knight’s hand from sliding down the blade and cutting himself. The blade on the sword was sharp as a razor. The length of the sword allowed the knight to keep distance between himself and his enemy. However, when in close quarters, the knight employed his dagger for stabbing and thrusting his enemy. When the battle wore into a heat, the knight on the ground could get far more use and efficacy from his dagger than his sword. The lance is a popular weapon and we’ve all seen pictures of the knight on his horse with his lance. This long, wooden weapon sported a very sharp metal point. The lance’s design is based upon the spear. When knights rode on horseback against other knights, they needed their lance. This was a necessary weapon for combat via horseback. As the knight rode directly toward his enemy, he extended his lance in front of him in an effort to knock his enemy from his horse.

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  • A Brief History of Medieval Knights and Warfare

    Posted on March 10th, 2011 admin No comments

    During the Middle Ages, the most terrifying weapon an army had was the knight, whose weapons, combat skills and armor made him nearly impossible to stop.

    For nearly five centuries, from about the 10th century to the 15th century AD, knights were the epitome of death and destruction – on horseback, a knight could skewer the enemy with a lance, while his heavy armor, either plate or chain mail, protected him from most weapons; on foot, he could battle long and hard with a battle ax, long sword or heavy mace and his shield would protect him from hard blows from his opponent (shields were usually painted with the knight’s coat of arms so that knights could easily identify friend from foe). Any European leader who wanted to be successful on the battlefield needed a cadre of knights.

    On a level field, a line of charging knights would easily overwhelm an enemy’s defenses simply through the sheer weight of the assault. For example, the famed English king Richard the Lionheart led the Christian knights to a victory against the Muslim armies at the battle of Arsuf in 1191, relying heavily on the advantages of the armored and well-trained knights of Europe. This defeat was one of the first ever suffered by the great Muslim commander, Saladin, who prior to Richard’s arrival in the Holy Land, had won victory after victory. King Richard I, the Lionheart

    King Richard I of England earned his nickname the Lionheart during his crusades in the Holy Land, where he displayed an exceptional strategic mind and amazing bravery on the battlefield. Though he would only rule England from 1190 to 1199, Richard I is still revered today as one of England’s greatest warriors. Richard I’s reputation reached it’s pinnacle during the Third Crusade, when this tall and majestic leader led the campaign against the great armies of Saladin. Richard’s victories included such famous battles as the Battle of Arsuf and the Siege of Acre. Though Richard was never able to seize control of Jerusalem from the Islamic army, he did convince Saladin to sign a treaty that would allow Christian pilgrims to travel safely to the Holy Land. Like many great men, Richard was complex, sometimes appearing deeply sensitive and charismatic while at others displaying a dangerous sense of recklessness. After the Siege of Acre, Richard demonstrated a cruel and inhuman side when he ordered the massacre of Muslim prisoners. Yet for all his swagger, Richard’s success on the battlefield was largely due to the heavy armor and fierce weapons that he and the other Medieval knights used.

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  • Do you know the Rules of Medieval Jousting

    Posted on December 9th, 2010 admin No comments

    During the Middle Ages, jousting was an extremely popular game. Knights jousted in an arena with a crowd watching and cheering them on. It was quite the spectacle and people flocked to the events. However, what few people realize is that jousting was also a legal spectator sport–and one of the few during the time period. It is estimated that the practice of jousting for public viewing began sometimes during the tenth century. We assume this because the Romans had gladiators performing similar-type events for entertainment, but those events were banned across Europe around 400 A.D. Prior to that time, gladiator competitions were enormously popular. The rules of jousting are fairly straight-forward.

    First you must understand the objective of the joust. Objective:

    Two knights faced one another on horseback. They armed themselves with long lances. Then they charged directly toward the other knight in an effort to knock him from his horse. However, the opposing knight had the same objective. Once a knight feel from his horse, the other knight then halted his horse and dismounted. After he climbed down from his horse, the two knights began a sword fight. This continued until the surrender of one or the other of the knights.

    Scoring System:

    Each jousting tournament had a point system. The point system was not static, but was determined at tournament time. Thus, each tournament had its own point system. When you struck the opposing knight on the chest with your lance, you earned the most points. The only other maneuver which yielded the maximum points for a single blow was striking the center of the opposing knight’s shield.

    Variations on the system

    Tournaments basically made their own rules. Thus, the weapons or styles of combat may vary from one tournament to another. Knights adapted depending upon which tournament they were participating in. For example, one tournament might allow the knights to make three passes on their horses, while another one might only allow one pass.

    Joust Length Varied:

    The length of the joust was based upon the tournament itself. Some jousts were designed like a modern day tournament: elimination rounds that culminate in a showdown round. Others had all of the knights battling the king–or the champion of the king.

    Jousting Disqualification:

    If a knight killed a horse, he was disqualified. Another thing that would cause a knight to be ousted from the tournament proceedings was allowing his lance to touch anywhere on the opposing knight’s body–with the exception of the center of the chest. Both of these were grounds for disqualification.


    Geoffroi de Purelli is credited with writing a manuscript detailing the rules of jousting during medieval times. He wrote it in the year 1066. Purelli later died during a joust.

  • Medieval Weapons, the Dark and Middle Ages

    Posted on November 29th, 2010 admin No comments

    “Lay down our weapons? If you want them, come and get them.”

    (480 BC) King Leonidas and his 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae.

    Judging by this quote, weapons are one of the most important accessories to war, no great warrior would go to battle without his sword or other kind of weaponry he/she might carry. From the dark ages to the middle ages there were many different kinds of weapons which included the famous sword, spear and flail or club; these weapons were designed for close range battle. There were also short bows and long bows that were weapons designed for distance and required skilled aiming. It took months even years of observation as well as practice to master one of these weapons.Over the years, weapons had enhanced in order to keep up with the different kinds of protection that was being used by foes. During the years of the spartan (about 480 BC) the common weapons that a soldier would carry would be a long spear, a short sword (secondary weapon) and their rounded shield. In the beginning of the middle ages (the 5th century) the common weapons used in this era included a large variety of different long range weapons which were spears, bows, cross bows and catapults. They also had a variety of different close range weapons that included a long sword, short sword, battle flail and daggers as well as muskets which didn’t start until the late middle ages (14th century). These are all just some of the medieval weapons used in ancient history, there are still more that were used and some that have yet to be discovered!

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  • The famous French soldier Pierre Bayard

    Posted on June 23rd, 2009 admin 5 comments

    Pierre Bayard : French Soldier

    Born in 1473 at Chateau Bayard, Dauphine, Seigneur De Pierre Terrail Bayard was a French soldier who descended from a noble family who were noted for their great success in two hundred years of battle. In 1487, Bayard left his employment as a page for Charles I, Duke of Savoy, at the invitation of Charles VIII of France, who added him to the followers of Seigneur de Ligny. Read the rest of this entry »

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