Weapons and military equipment in medieval Europe

Weapons and military equipment in medieval Europe

In the Middle Ages, people almost all their lives were associated with weapons. Freedom and honor, home and wealth were not simply protected by legal clauses. For many centuries, the destinies of people were resolved through fights, battles, uprisings, riots, conspiracies, tribal and personal conflicts. All this contributed to the intensive development of weapons business.

The most common offensive weapon was a spear and a long sword. If necessary, used a large bow with arrows, peaks and crossbows. In the VII century. appeared saber. One of the most important inventions of the early Middle Ages was the stirrup. Without him, the mounted warrior could not hold fast to the saddle, because the cavalry consisted mainly of units of mounted archers who did not use swords or spears. The appearance

of the stirrup affected the development of heavy cavalry – the future chivalry. During the hand-to-hand combat, knives, axes or maces were used. The rider was pulled from his horse with a halberd – a new weapon, a junction of a long spear and an ax.

Until the VIII century. the soldier fought in armor. The poor shells were predominantly wooden, and for the more affluent – leather, with metal plates sewn on them. Gradually, the shell is replaced by Kolchuga – a protective military shirt made of metal rings. The incisions in front and behind made it comfortable when riding. The chain mail hung to the knees. Later they began to wear chain mail and mittens, so the whole body, except for the face, was closed. Since the XIV century. the armor became solid. Their basis was not chain mail, but armor from metal scales or plates. This was due, on the one hand, to the perfection of the weapons business, and on the other hand to the spread of crossbows, from which the armor did not reliably protect.

The warrior’s head was covered with a hood lined with a soft cloth. They put on a helmet with protective plates covering their nose and cheeks, or a visor with special cuts for eyes. The shield reliably closed the warrior in battle.

The invention of firearms opened a new stage in military affairs.

It is known that the Arabs brought the powder to Europe from the east. There is an opinion that the active distribution of gunpowder is associated with the successful alchemical experiments of German Berthold Schwartz from Freiburg. He was a Franciscan monk, his years of life are unknown. According to one testimony, B. Schwartz lived at the end of the 13th century, on the other in the second half of the 14th century, because allegedly in 1380 he taught to produce Venetian gunpowder. Then they start using guns and guns. The art of casting guns has become quite developed in Western Europe thanks to one of the most peaceful crafts – casting bells.

XIV century. From the “Tarvis Chronicle” about the bombardment

… These bombs, which have not yet been seen and of which words have never been in Italy, are miraculously made by the Venetians. It is true that the bombard is a very powerful iron cannon: in front of it there is a wide channel into which a round stone is inserted, and in the rear a pipe that is twice as long as the mentioned channel… but already; From the side of the barrel, black powder is poured into this pipe, which is made from saltpeter, sulfur and wood coal. And the hole of this muzzle is closed with a wooden shutter. After the round stone is pinned on the other side, a small hole in the pipe is brought up by a fire; gunpowder is ignited and the eruption of the stone occurs with great force.

Crossbow – A mechanical device from which you could shoot arrows with massive, rhombic-shaped tips.

Peak – A version of a long lightweight spear with a sharp metal tip.


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Weapons and military equipment in medieval Europe