In the medieval times, battles were often fought with a variety of weapons. One of the simplest yet effective weapons used was the cudgel. A cudgel is a thick, heavy stick or club, often made from wood. It might not look as fancy as a sword or as intimidating as a mace, but it was a powerful tool in combat.

What is a Cudgel?

A cudgel is essentially a short, sturdy club. It could be as long as your arm or even shorter. People made cudgels from strong types of wood, like oak, so they wouldn’t break easily during a fight. Some cudgels had one end thicker than the other, making them even more effective in delivering a strong blow.

How Long Are Cudgels?

A cudgel typically measured between 18 to 36 inches in length, making it about the size of a person’s forearm or slightly longer. The thickness of a cudgel varied, but it was usually around 2 to 3 inches in diameter at its thickest point. Some cudgels were designed with a tapered end, making one side thicker and heavier to deliver more powerful blows. Despite these variations, the overall design remained straightforward, ensuring the cudgel was easy to wield and effective in close combat situations.

Who Used Cudgels?

Cudgels were commonly used by peasants and lower-ranking soldiers. Unlike knights who had expensive swords and armor, these people needed a weapon that was easy to make and use. A cudgel was perfect for this because it required no special skills or training to use. This made it one of the most popular blunt hand weapons from the medieval times. All you needed was strength and the will to fight.

How Was the Cudgel Used in Medieval Times?

The cudgel was used in close combat. In a battle, a person wielding a cudgel could strike their enemy with powerful blows. The heavy end of the cudgel could cause serious injuries, like broken bones or even a concussion. Because it was so simple to use, it became a favorite among people who didn’t have the money or training to use more complex weapons.

Why Was the Cudgel Important?

Despite its simplicity, the cudgel was an important weapon in medieval times. It was a great equalizer on the battlefield. With a cudgel, even a common person could defend themselves against an armed and armored opponent. It was also easy to make, meaning almost anyone could have one.

In addition to battles, cudgels were also used in games and contests. For example, “cudgel play” was a popular sport where participants would try to hit each other with cudgels while avoiding getting hit themselves. It was a way to practice fighting skills and entertain the crowd.


The cudgel may not be as famous as swords or axes, but it played a crucial role in medieval times. It was a weapon of the common people, simple yet effective. Whether in a fierce battle or a lively contest, the cudgel proved that sometimes, the simplest tools can be the most powerful.