Is a sword a weapon of attack

The knight's weapons

The sword

The sword was the symbol of chivalry and the most important weapon of the knight. It was worn on the left side of the armor in the sword hanger.

Such a sword, which was passed on from generation to generation, accompanied the knight in all fights and tournaments throughout his life.

Before a knight drew the sword or swung the club, he first rode towards his opponent with the lowered lance.

The typical double-edged sword of the Middle Ages was forged from iron and had a short handle with a round pommel and short quillons. By the 13th century, the handle lengthened and was additionally covered with wood or leather.

When most knights protected themselves with plate armor, small and lighter swords with ever sharper points were forged in order to penetrate the gaps in the armor.

The swords of the Middle Ages were mainly used as thrust and cutting weapons.

The shield

A defensive weapon was also developed for the sword attack weapon. That was a protective shield with which the knight could defend himself against the blows of the sword.

The early medieval long shield was made of wood and covered with leather. The warrior carried his shield by sticking his arm through a leather loop and grasping a loop in the center of the shield with his hand. Like all weapons, the shield was constantly being developed and improved.

However, with the improvement of armor and chainmail, the shields became less important in combat. Large protective shields were made for the mercenaries fighting on the ground.

This protected themselves against the bow and crossbow shooters. The secure cover of a shield against the powerful projectiles (arrows, stones, spears, etc.) became more and more important in the armed conflicts in the Middle Ages.

In the 14th century, the shield had developed into a (almost) man-high transportable plaque. In the event of an attack, the first row of warriors would place their shields side by side in the ground, creating a thick wall that was difficult to break through.

bow and arrow

Bows and arrows were considered hunting weapons and were not worthy of a knight in the Middle Ages. The bow was a soldier's weapon.

But when the knights came into martial contact with the Arabs during the crusades, they learned the fighting power of the Muslim archers painfully in the truest sense of the word. In medieval Europe, however, the bow never achieved the rank of a knightly weapon.

Not that the knights were against bows in principle. No, there were simply practical reasons that prevented the knights from using the bow: Because of the armor, a knight on horseback could only use a small bow.

But that was not in keeping with the knights' fighting tactics. Their fighting technique consisted of riding towards the enemy ranks and breaking through them.



The wooden lance has been a knight's main weapon on the battlefield since the beginning of the 12th century. It had an iron, very sharp point.


In fights and tournaments, the knight galloped with the lance at the ready to hit the opponent. If the shaft broke on impact, the knight drew the sword to continue fighting.


The lance was also used as a weapon in joust, the knightly duel game. Two knights in full armor and with blunt or otherwise prepared lances rode towards each other on the right and left of a barrier, in order to knock the opponent off the horse with a targeted push of the lance, or at least land a hit on the opponent's shield or helmet.


A crossbow was a bow-like weapon with which arrows with a square iron point were shot at the enemy. These sharp bullets penetrated the strongest chain mail.


The crossbow was a weapon for ground combat, but was considered diabolical and was used by honorable knights as well outlawed again Morning star.


The iron, thorny ball of the morning star was attached to a wooden shaft with a chain. When using this weapon, the enemy was mostly seriously injured.


The Halberd was a polearm with a spearhead and an ax-like blade. The opponents tried to pull each other off their horses with the curved thorn.


Other weapons that were used in the Middle Ages were Battle ax, mace and the dagger.


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Photos 1 - 4: Courtesy of:
Knight tournament Kaltenberg Veranstaltungs GmbH

Photos 5 - 6: Mühlacker media workshop