Medieval Melee Weapons

In medieval times, battles were fought up close and personal, with warriors wielding a wide variety of melee weapons. These weapons, used for hand-to-hand combat, were essential on the battlefield. Understanding these tools helps us learn more about how medieval warriors fought and protected themselves.

Types of Medieval Melee Weapons

Medieval melee weapons came in many shapes and sizes, each designed for a specific purpose. They could be used to slash, stab, bludgeon, or pierce, making them versatile and deadly. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common types of melee weapons used during the medieval period.

List of Medieval Melee Weapons

  • Swords
    • Broadsword: A wide-bladed sword used for powerful slashing attacks.
    • Longsword: A versatile sword that could be used with one or two hands.
    • Arming Sword: A shorter sword often used with a shield.
    • Falchion: A single-edged sword with a curved blade.
    • Greatsword: A very large sword used with two hands for strong, sweeping attacks.
    • Scimitar: A curved, single-edged sword used primarily by Middle Eastern warriors.
  • Axes
    • Battle Axe: A heavy axe designed for combat, capable of delivering powerful blows.
    • Dane Axe: A long-handled axe used by Viking warriors.
    • Bearded Axe: An axe with a distinct “beard” or hook at the bottom of the blade.
    • Throwing Axe: A smaller axe designed to be thrown at enemies.
  • Maces and Clubs
    • Mace: A blunt weapon with a heavy head, used to crush armor.
    • War Hammer: Similar to a mace but with a hammerhead, used for bludgeoning.
    • Morning Star: A spiked club that could pierce armor.
    • Flail: A weapon with a swinging head attached by a chain, making it hard to block.
  • Polearms
    • Halberd: A weapon with an axe blade, spike, and hook, all on a long pole.
    • Glaive: A long pole with a single-edged blade on the end.
    • Spear: A long pole with a pointed end, used for thrusting.
    • Pike: A very long spear used to keep enemies at a distance.
    • Bardiche: A long pole with a large, curved blade, used for powerful slashes.
    • Poleaxe: A versatile weapon with an axe head, hammer, and spike.
  • Daggers and Knives
    • Dagger: A short, pointed knife used for stabbing.
    • Dirk: A long dagger used by Scottish Highlanders.
    • Rondel: A dagger with a round guard, used for piercing armor.
    • Stiletto: A thin dagger with a sharp point, used for thrusting.
  • Other Melee Weapons
    • Quarterstaff: A long wooden staff used for striking and blocking.
    • Cudgel: A short, heavy club used for bludgeoning.
    • Billhook: A weapon with a hooked blade, used for cutting and thrusting.
    • War Scythe: A farming tool adapted for combat, with a long, curved blade.


Medieval melee weapons were crucial for warriors on the battlefield. Each weapon had its own unique design and purpose, making them effective in different combat situations. These weapons have left a lasting legacy, influencing how we view medieval warfare today. By studying these tools, we can better understand the bravery and skill of medieval warriors, and the tactics they used in battle.