List of premodern combat weapons

Summary

This is a list of historical pre-modern weapons grouped according to their uses, with rough classes set aside for very similar weapons. Some weapons may fit more than one category (e.g. the spear may be used either as a pole weapon or as a projectile), and the earliest gunpowder weapons which fit within the period are also included.

Offensive weapons

Melee weapons

Hand or fist weapons and fans

Single-handed weapons not resembling a straight dagger blade, usually wielded without wrist action; often protects the forearm.

Edged and bladed weapons

Thrusting and cutting weapons for melee combat. Col. D.H. Gordon's classification has been used where applicable.[2][3]

Swords

Long swords were classified by Gordon as longer than 28 inches/71 cm.[2]

Curved one-handed swords
Straight one-handed swords
Curved two-handed swords
Hand-and-a-half and two-handed greatswords
Shortswords

Delineated as 20-28 inches/51–71 cm total length.[2]

Curved shortswords

Straight shortswords

Axe-like swords

Generally, convex blades used for heavy chopping or slashing.

Other swords
Fighting knives and daggers
Sickles and sickle like knives

Generally short, concave blades used for heavy cutting.

  • Arit (Maduresian, Indonesian)
  • Karambit, kerambit, korambit (Minangkabauian, Indonesian)
  • Kujang (Sundanese, Indonesian)
  • Kukri (Indian)
  • Mandau (Malaysian, Indonesian, Bornean, Bruneian)
  • Pichangatti (Indian)[1]
  • Punyal (Philippinese, Southeast Asian)
  • Sickle (Improvised, worldwide)
  • Sudanese sickle knife (African)[1]

Picks and pickaxes

Axes

  • Adze (Improvised, European)
  • Bardiche (European)
  • Battle axe (European)
  • Bhuj with blade shaped like the dagger on a long shaft[1]
  • Broadaxe (European)
  • Congolese axe (African)[1]
  • Dahomey axe club, also an effective blunt weapon (African)

[1]

Clubs and blunt weapons

Wielded with one or two hands at close quarters with swinging motions.

Pole weapons and spears

Wielded mainly with two hands. Primarily for melee with sweeping, thrusting, and or hooking motions.

Blunt staves
Spears

Thrown spears and javelins are listed under ranged weapons.

Polearms with axe-like blades
Polearms with spikes and hammers

Ranged weapons

Thrown

Throwing blades and darts
Throwing spears and javelins

All could be used as spears, but were designed and primarily used for throwing.

Throwing axes

Could also be used as axe weapons, but were specifically designed for throwing.

Throwing balls
Throwing sticks
  • Boomerang (Australian, Worldwide)
  • Knobkierrie, knopkierie, knobkerry, also a blunt weapon (African)
  • Rungu (East African)
  • Stick, branch (Improvised, Worldwide)

Gunpowder weapons

An illustration of an "eruptor", a proto cannon from the 14th century Ming Dynasty book Huolongjing. The cannon was capable of firing proto shells, cast iron bombs filled with gunpowder.

Composite projectile weapons

Having a built-in gun or ranged weapon combined with some other type of weapon.

  • Ax match and wheellock (European axe with five barrels under a removable blade)[1]
  • Carbine axe (European axe)[1]
  • Halberd double barreled wheellock (European halberd)[1]
  • Mace wheellock (European mace)[1]
  • Matchlock axe dagger (European axe, dagger, matchlock combination)[1]
  • Pistol sword (European sword)
  • War hammer wheellock (European pick hammer)[1]

Firing mechanisms

Slings

Bows

Longbows
Recurved bows
Short bows and reflex bows
Crossbows

Blowguns

Projectile weapons

Flamethrowers

Flexible weapons

Whips

Used for whipping.

Sectional and composite

Having multiple handles or holdable sections.

Chains and ropes

Having a heavy object attached to a flexible chain or rope. Wielded by swinging, throwing, or projecting the end, as well as wrapping, striking, and blocking with the chain or rope, sometimes attached to another type of weapon.

Defensive weapons

Shields

Used not only to block strikes and missiles but also swung outwardly (or in quick upward motions) to strike an opponent. Also used to rush an opponent (known as shield bashing). Some shields had spikes, sharp edges, or other offensive designs.

See also

Swords

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag Regan, Paula, ed. (2006). Weapon: A Visual History of Arms and Armor. New York: DK Publishing. ISBN 0-7566-2210-7.
  2. ^ a b c Cope, Anne, ed. (1989). Swords and Hilt Weapons. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 8. ISBN 1-55584-290-9.
  3. ^ Gordon, Col. D.H. (1953). "Swords, Rapiers and Horse riders". Antiquity. Antiquity Publications Ltd. 27 (106): 67–76. doi:10.1017/S0003598X00024595.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Levine, Bernard; Weland, Gerald. Knives, swords, & daggers. New York: Barnes & Noble. p. 66.
  5. ^ Levine, Bernard; Weland, Gerald. Knives, swords, & daggers. New York: Barnes & Noble. p. 200.
  6. ^ "Igorot Head Hunting Axe #2". Traditional Filipino Weapons.
  7. ^ "Spear (Sang) Indian". The Met.
  8. ^ "Northern spear".
  9. ^ Γεώργιος Ηλιόπουλος (Georgios Iliopoulos), "Η χαμένη πυραυλική τεχνολογία των αρχαίων Ελλήνων" (The lost missile technology of the ancient Greeks), Ιχώρ (Ihor), 27, page 12-13, Greece, 2002.
  10. ^ Γεώργιος Ηλιόπουλος (Georgios Iliopoulos), "Η χαμένη πυραυλική τεχνολογία των αρχαίων Ελλήνων" (The lost missile technology of the ancient Greeks), Ιχώρ (Ihor), 27, page 13, Greece, 2002.
  11. ^ Γεώργιος Ηλιόπουλος (Georgios Iliopoulos), "Η χαμένη πυραυλική τεχνολογία των αρχαίων Ελλήνων" (The lost missile technology of the ancient Greeks), Ιχώρ (Ihor), 27, page 12-13, Greece, 2002.