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Medieval Weapons

In the days when possession of a sword meant elevation from yeomanry to nobility, when medieval weapons were named and passed from father to son, metalworking was an art form and a mastersmith could be elevated to godhood.

As armor evolved to resist current sword design, swordmaking evolved to meet the knights' new needs, changing over time in myriad subtle ways. The books here are about swords, weapons, and armor from ancient through medieval times.

Buy Books about Medieval Weapons and Armor
The Book of the Sword
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The Book of the Sword
by Richard Francis Burton


Written in 1884, this book is an exhaustive (and exhausting for the readers), highly detailed account of the sword from the stone age to Roman times. However, the information is solid and there are few really good books currently available on ancient weaponry.
Records of the Medieval Sword
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Records of the Medieval Sword
by R. Ewart Oakeshott


Oakeshott's masterpiece, this is the definitive work on medieval swords from the earliest Scandinavian through the Renaissance. Completely defines each type, its shape and function. Engagingly written, a joy to read. This book is rare and the prices reflect it.
The Archeology of Weapons
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The Archaeology of Weapons: Arms and Armour from Prehistory to the Age of Chivalry
by R. Ewart Oakeshott


Lively and well-written history of the development of arms and armor covering 3000 years, with an emphasis on the middle ages. A very enjoyable overview of the archeological evidence and warfare of the times.
Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor
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A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor in All Countries and in All Times Together With Some Closely Related Subjects
by George Cameron Stone


Stone's hobby run amok (his private collection boasted 4,000 items of European weaponry), this lengthy (over 700 pages) compendium covers East and West, with innumerable illustrations and photos. A terrific, if somewhat erratic, reference.
Medieval Combat
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Medieval Combat: A Fifteenth-Century Illustrated Manual of Swordfighting and Close-Quarter Combat
by Hans Talhoffer, Mark Rector, and John Clements


The real deal from the 15th century - a modern English translation of master-at-arms Hans Talhoffer's German manual. 268 illustrations to help you picture what he's saying. This is how they really fought and killed in the middle ages.
Medieval Swordsmanship
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Medieval Swordsmanship: Illustrated Methods and Techniques
by John Clements


Clements, an acknowledged expert both in history and swordsmanship, provides a discussion of medieval warfare, the uses of the various weapons, and instructions for use. Very detailed, a wealth of illustrations. An outstanding resource for students of military history and martial arts.
A Knight and His Weapons
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A Knight and His Weapons
by R. Ewart Oakeshott


Written for teens or beginners in the study, Oakeshott provides extensive historical information about all manner of weaponry - spears, lances, axes, maces, hammers, swords, daggers, and more - including how they were made and for what purposes.

The author's companion volume to this work is entitled A Knight and His Armor.
Secret History of the Sword
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The Secret History of the Sword
by J. Christopher Amberger


Entertaining set of essays about European sword-fighting techniques from ancient combat through modern fencing. Includes a look at the Highland broadsword. These essays assume a prior knowledge of swordplay and military history, and would be most enjoyed by the afficionado.
The Medieval Fortress
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The Medieval Fortress: Castles, Forts and Walled Cities of the Middle Ages
by Joseph Kaufmann, illustrated by W.H. Kaufmann and Robert M. Jurga


Both author and illustrators are experts in military history. Learn about castle architecture, fortification and weaponry from Britain to the Crusader castles of Middle East. Over 100 photographs and 400 technical illustrations, including details for each castle type. Has a 1,000-year timeline of important sieges. A very thorough reference for military and medieval history buffs.
Secrets of the English War Bow
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Secrets of the English War Bow
by Hugh D. H. Soar, Joseph Gibbs, Christopher Jury, Mark Stretton


Now for the first time, expert craftsmen use all available evidence including applied archaeology to unlock the secrets of the English war bow (the military English long bow). Historian Hugh D. H. Soar is joined by Mark Stretton, arrowsmith, and Joseph Gibbs, bowyer, in order to demonstrate how a war bow and its associated arrow heads and shafts may have been constructed and used. In addition to showing the complete manufacture of a bow from tree selection to stringing and how specialized arrowheads were forged and attached to shafts, Secrets of the English War Bow provides information on the actual performance of the war bow, including the bow’s effectiveness against various materials and, for the first time, its use against moving targets, since bows were often drawn against mounted soldiers. Armed with this new information, Soar provides an analysis of both successes and failures of the war bow in several important battles.