If you ask people what they know about medieval swords, most would probably mention the most famous one - the legendary Excalibur. Who would forget this special sword and the story of Camelot, King Arthur, and the Knights of the Round Table?
Medieval Shields on a Battlefield
If you ask people what they know about medieval swords, most would probably mention the most famous one - the legendary Excalibur.
Who would forget this special sword and the story of Camelot, King Arthur, and the Knights of the Round Table?
Books were written and movies were shown depicting this sword in different lights but it always held the distinction of representing the triumph of good over evil.
This may have been because during the Middle Ages, the medieval sword also became a symbol of honor.
The Middle Ages saw the rise of the powerful and rich chieftains or lords.
They have their own soldiers and serfs under their rule and protection.
A plant or animal representation was the usual decoration on the medieval shieldand serve part of the coat of arms of a particular clan or group.
Like the sword, the shield played an important role in medieval warfare. Aside from being a defensive piece of armor, it became an identifier of sorts. Once in the battlefield, the shield helped distinguish friends from foes.
The medieval shieldvaries in material, size, and shape.
However, these shields have but one purpose and that is to protect the warrior carrying it from attacks by hand-held weapons such as axes, maces, and swords.
It also served as protection from arrows.
These were made of wood, metal or a combination of both.
Warriors typically carried the shield on one arm for deflecting blows while gripping their swords on the other hand.
The shield should be tough enough to provide protection without its weigh and size hindering them from fighting.
The effectiveness of the shield in hand-to-hand combat relies greatly on its construction.
As there were different medieval swords, knights, and warriors also used different shields during the Middle Ages.
Instead of the usual round or circular shields, the kite shields that were typical in the early part of the medieval period were constructed differently.
Rounded at the top but was slightly tapered downwards, the shield was made to provide protection to the legs without making it heavier.
It provided additional safeguard as a knight wore chain mail as body protection.
As the body armor improved, so did the design of the shield.
The heater shield was much smaller than the kite shield and used by those on horseback.
Both the kite and heater shields were made of laminated wood.
The crossbowmen and archers used the pavise shield for protection.
These were large freestanding shields providing safeguard for crossbowmen and archers as they reload their weapons.
In time, soldiers preferred the buckler shield, which was made of metal, and were a lot smaller and lighter.
It was round in shape and was 8 to 16 inches in diameter.
This medieval shieldcan easily be carried by the soldiers as these can be hang from the belt and very effective in hand-to-hand combat.
As the shield was made lighter and became easily wielded, it has become the perfect partner to the sword, mace, or axe.
It was a great way to block attacks and at the same time most effective for glancing blows.
While deflecting the blow sideways using the shield, it then provided an opening for a counterattack.