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The Blunt Rack

Discussion of topics concerning life in the middle ages around the world, including architecture, history, and warfare.

The Blunt Rack

Postby The Hordesman » Fri Nov 18, 2005 3:37 pm

This is a thread made for all types of blunt weapons used in medieval times, including asian ones. If someone else wants to make a list of swords or others I would be really happy to see that. :)
A thread created for my immortal love for whacking-weapons of all sorts and colors.

BALL AND CHAIN:
(people seem to got serious problems with this one, thats why its first)

Ball & Chain:
A ball and chain is a general term for a weapon that is a ball attached to a chain, often used when there is no other term of it or its simply a non-spiked ball, but can be used for all other types of this weapon, its a general term. Of course, Ball & Chain is also something prisoners whore on their legs in ages past :P
(Suspected to be a modern term- thanks TTK)

Flail:
A flail is a B&C weapon with either a metal bar (flanged, studded, simple or other) or a numbers of spiked balls. There are of course variations on the length of chain, number of chains, and long and short hafted ones (Thanks Damien!). "Flail" can also be used as a general term for B&C weapons, apparently.

Morningstar:
A single spiked ball on a B&C. Can also be a spiked ball-mace, or even a flanged mace.

Nunchaku: (Japanese) Originally a farmer's tool, nunchaku are derived from simple devices used to flail grains. Its not reall a B&C, since its two handles put together by a short chain, often associated with ninjas.

Kusari Fundo:(Japanese?) A chain with weights in both ends. Not a B&C either (thinking of renaming the cathegory to "blunt chains". Thanks Maedhros)

Mankiri-Gusari:(Japanese) The weights on the end of this light, flexible chain make it an ideal weapon for catch swords or tangling other armed opponents. This can be said to be a flail with an extra long chain, like a whip.

CLUBS & MACES:

Club: A club is simply a general term from everything from a cudgel to a baseballbat.

Chichi:(Chinese) A very small mace with a cylinder-formed edge.

Cudgel: The cudgel is a wooden club, sometimes bound with metal, wire or or spiked through with nails. Cudgel can also be used as a common term for wooden clubs.

Baculus: While also a word used for a bone found in some male animals, the baculus (baculum means staff in latin) is a huge wooden club, with knotted head and very simple, it was a cheap weapon for many armies and was used into the late reinassance. Can be either one handed or two handed.

Mace: I think most people are familiar with this one, the mace is weapon with usually a wooden handle, and a metal (the earliest ones had stone, though), sometimes flanged, sometimes spiked and sometimes neither. Two handed versions exist, just like all B&C weapons.

Plancon a Picot: This one is real hard to find reference to, but appears to be a rounded metal ferule on a a shaft (about 5 feet total) with a thrusting spike on the end. Whether it is one handed or two I can't say since it looks too unwieldly for one hand, but is depicted with troops carrying a shield. (TTK)

Tetsubo: (Japanese) The Tetsubo is a long wooden rod, wielded with two hands, the upper half of which is covered with studded iron strips. Priests and wanderers often use it, since it can also serve as a walking stick.

Shillelagh: Irish walking stick (effectively similiar to a Victorian gentleman's cane, though the Shillelagh was more like 4-5 feet). Used for thwacking riff-raff and aggresive dogs more than a weapon of war. Generically a club or cudgel. (Add by TTK)

Dual Mace Staff: Completely fantasy, fun though.


STICKS AND STAVES:

Quarterstaff: Combat oriented staff. Each side of the staff can be sometimes reinforced with metal or other materials to make it more effective. Many variations exist based in length and edges, Im not an expert on quarterstaffs (somebody please fill me in). Where a common weapon in asia but used in europe too.

Hanbo: (Japanese) This is a short staff, usually around three feet in length.
(I noticed Maedhros adding this just when I wrote it down :P)

Tambo: (Japanese) A two foot stick - often used in pairs. Maybe JP can elaborate on the Phillipines version of these (Erksima - something like that). (TTK)

Bo staff: six foot staff. (TTK)

Jo Staff: four foot staff. (TTK)

Shillelagh: See clubs.

Tetsubo: See clubs.

Cane: A short staff used by old people or wanderers.

Wand: A short often wooden stick. Often associated with wizards & other spellcasters.

Rod: Not a fishing rod! A short, often metal wand. Sometimes associated with wizards or other spellcasters of darker nature.

Poking stick: A stick, primarily used to poke people in the eye, or on sleeping/dead people.

HAMMERS:


Sledgehammer: A metal or at some occasions stone edge on a long wooden shaft. A tool.

Maul: Basically, a wooden sledge hammer, usually employed by English longbowmen to drive in protective stakes, but often drafted into duty as a downed-knight whacker (and effective in that role). (TTK)

Warhammer: One end had a hammer-like head, and the other side of the head was a spike of varying lengths. Again, one and two handed versions existed (as they did for most of the weapons mentioned here). A Bec de Corbin is considered a form of warhammer. (TTK)

Mallet: A wooden hammer, sometimes called a club. Not really a weapon.

OTHER/MISC WEAPONS:

Yawara: A short stick designed to stick out from the wielders hand an inch or two on both ends. It's primary advantage was concealablity and increased stricking power over a bare fist. Usually shaped for better grip. (TTK)

Tonfa: Basically a short heavy stick with a perpendicular hand hold (modern police batons are based on this). (TTK)

Whip: A whip is a weapon not used to actually kill an enemy (but you can kill with repeated blows due to fatigue and bleeding). The whip is mostly used by animal handlers and in some societies to drive slaves, and in fantasy (I dont know of any real-life occurance) to drive armies of brutish savages.

Sap: Modern version is a Black Jack. Basically a short sack full of heavy weights. Dunno how far back this extends, though (similiarly, I'm not bothering with a billy club). (TTK)

War Gauntlets: Massive metal gauntlets used for punching. The historical background is vague.

Brass Knuckles: A weapon attached to the fist to increase the damage caused by a punch. Possibly not medieval or earlier

Caestus: Basically boxing gloves, but often with bands of metal across the knuckles. It's a Roman origination, could have been used under the middleages. (Recluce)


Thanks to Damien, Maedhros, Recluce and TTK.
"(TTK)" means that it is directly taken from Two-tonic's quote. ;)

Notice also that some of the weapons Ive added here under other's credits I was aware of, just didnt care about addding my own description. :P

If you got more examples or you see something wrong please PM me!
Credits will be given for sources :)
Comments are welcome!
Last edited by The Hordesman on Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:18 pm, edited 30 times in total.
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Postby TwoTonic Knight » Sat Nov 19, 2005 1:08 am

Why reply directly: because if you update your message only, it will simply keep moving back down the list and effectively become inactive very quickly. Replying publically rather than privately keeps it active and creates interest. Feel free to update the original message, though. If you want it as a non-replied to list, I think you should let this thread run its course, and then write up something that the Admins could possibly make a permanent article.

Flail: The generic term used by most historians for a hinged/chained/swiveled weapon from Europe is a flail, derived from the agricultural flail. A "ball and chain" is a flail. A "morningstar" is a flail (it can also be a mace). The cute little one-handed weapons with chain and spiked ball are usually intended for mounted warriors. Foot soldiers that used flails often had two-handed staff varieties. Often refered to as military flails (to distinguish them from the agricultural implements).

Mace: Basically a metal club. The business end was often flanged, sometimes spiked, or even had odd text messages that could be imprinted in the forehead of the slain (Chinese, I think). They can be called any number of names (my favorite is the Holy Water Sprinkler, which are sometimes refered to as morning stars - medieval authorties never agree on anything).

Maul: Basically, a wooden sledge hammer, usually employed by English longbowmen to drive in protective stakes, but often drafted into duty as a downed-knight whacker (and effective in that role).

Warhammer: One end had a hammer-like head, and the other side of the head was a spike of varying lengths. Again, one and two handed versions existed (as they did for most of the weapons mentioned here). A Bec de Corbin is considered a form of warhammer.

Plancon a Picot: This one is real hard to find reference to, but appears to be a rounded metal ferule on a a shaft (about 5 feet total) with a thrusting spike on the end. Whether it is one handed or two I can't say since it looks too unwieldly for one hand, but is depicted with troops carrying a shield.

Staff: Quarterstaff, Bo staff, whatever name any given culture gave it. A long heavy hard stick used with both hands, good for whacking, tripping, blocking and punching. It usually could be carried by peasants of any society.

Club: An improvised mace, usually not as efficient, but when you are a peasant, you take what you can get.

I'll leave asian weapons for those Ninja/Japanese/Chinese fans since I can't do them authoritatively off the top of my head.
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Postby The Hordesman » Sat Nov 19, 2005 1:37 am

Hmm... We dont seem to have the same opinion on this, but it is of course totally understandable since we read from different sources. :wink:

I'll have it in mind for later on, so I'll update it with that. I will also add asian (especially Japanese) weapons to the list. :)
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Postby lil Jon » Sat Nov 19, 2005 1:43 am

I thought a ball and chain was marriage. :D

But, I always thought it was the thing that prisons are always attached to.

This is an interesting thread.
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Postby TwoTonic Knight » Sat Nov 19, 2005 2:13 am

The Hordesman wrote:Hmm... We dont seem to have the same opinion on this, but it is of course totally understandable since we read from different sources. :wink:

I'll have it in mind for later on, so I'll update it with that. I will also add asian (especially Japanese) weapons to the list. :)


There is no single definitive source, neither now and even less so in the Middle Ages, so there is always a certain amount of latitude in terminology. Ball and chain, mace and chain, morningstar, and flail can all be applied to that favorite weapon of Hollywood, which always seems to be the downfall of the wielder when the weapon is wrapped around the Hero's weapon (Ivanhoe, Robin and Marian, Kingdom of Heaven and undoubtedly others). Historians are most likely (but not universisally) going to classify it in the most generic terms as a "flail", since almost all these weapons originally derive from the agricultural flail, even those most heavily modified for military use.

There are sloppy medieval historians who don't know a voulge from a halberd, so reading about a weapon in one source may be misleading. A certain amount of sifting is required.

Sometimes a specific name came into use for a specific style of weapon in a certain location. A "Holy Water Sprinkler" was usually a two-handed staff weapon with a "morning star" (spikey ball or elongated spikey section) head. Generically it was a mace, though calling it "blunt" seems debatable, since the spikes could get on the long side.
Last edited by TwoTonic Knight on Sat Nov 19, 2005 2:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby The Hordesman » Sat Nov 19, 2005 2:17 am

Im mostly looking in weapon specific books, since they are the best (the most others give the actual historical events the most space).

It may not be 100% correct in all means, but atleast its easier when talking to eachother. :wink:
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Postby TwoTonic Knight » Sat Nov 19, 2005 2:33 am

The Hordesman wrote:Im mostly looking in weapon specific books, since they are the best (the most others give the actual historical events the most space).

It may not be 100% correct in all means, but atleast its easier when talking to eachother. :wink:


Again, that will depend on the source and writer. One of the most complete, if aging, books is A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration, and Use of Arms and Armor (a reprint has been available the last decade or two). It doesn't get everything right, however (it has been taken to task on its pole-arms classifications, for example). Ball and Chain? The term isn't even used in the book. Nor is it a term that I can recall from any medieval source - I suspect it is a modern invention intended as a generic term. I tend to be leery of these kind of terms (kinda like the redundant term "chainmail"), but there it is: there is no definitive source.
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Postby The Hordesman » Sat Nov 19, 2005 2:39 am

Well, Im using it as the name of the category so people can relate to what it is, I also added that you think that it may be a modern term.

I will be trying to do hammers & such tommorow, then after that comes the category that will be the funniest to put together;
OTHERS!
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Postby TwoTonic Knight » Sat Nov 19, 2005 3:44 am

Shillelagh: Irish walking stick (effectively similiar to a Victorian gentleman's cane, though the Shillelagh was more like 4-5 feet). Used for thwacking riff-raff and aggresive dogs more than a weapon of war. Generically a club or cudgel.

Nunchaku: It is highly debatable if Ninjas ever used these, though folding them up does help concealablity. I've also seen sources that claim that these aren't based on agricultural flails (I think they are confusing "based on" with "actual"). Dunno what the three-section versions are called (if, indeed, they have a different name).

Bo staff: six foot staff.

Jo Staff: four foot staff.

Tambo: A two foot stick - often used in pairs. Maybe JP can elaborate on the Phillipines version of these (Erksima - something like that).

Tonfa: Basically a short heavy stick with a perpendicular hand hold (modern police batons are based on this).

Sap: Modern version is a Black Jack. Basically a short sack full of heavy weights. Dunno how far back this extends, though (similiarly, I'm not bothering with a billy club).

Testsubo: A big, overly-heavy nothing-stops-this two-handed mace/staff.

Yawara: A short stick designed to stick out from the wielders hand an inch or two on both ends. It's primary advantage was concealablity and increased stricking power over a bare fist. Usually shaped for better grip. A heck of a lot easier to depict on a minifig than brass knuckles. :D

How I immediately changed from simply adding a shillelagh to japanese weapons, I'm not sure (elaborating on the nunchaku, I suppose). Most of the above are not battlefield weapons, though weapons nevertheless.
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Postby Maedhros » Sat Nov 19, 2005 10:25 am

To continue with japanese stuff:

Hanbo: 3 ft staff

Kusari fundo: A chain with weights in both ends.

I think I could come up with more when I have time...
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Postby The Hordesman » Sat Nov 19, 2005 11:40 am

I'll add a cathegory for staves (or staffs, as some prefer) too later I think, Ill add sticks to this too, and call it "Sticks and Staves". :D

Thanks for more suggestions, I'll add up when I feel for it.

I added Shillelagh to the list. :)

I hope to see armies use the Baculus, since it was a very common cheap weapon for conscripts, not sure how to make it though.
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Postby Stephen » Sun Nov 20, 2005 5:17 pm

TwoTonic Knight wrote:

There is no single definitive source, neither now and even less so in the Middle Ages, so there is always a certain amount of latitude in terminology.


One of the problems with terminology is that we are dealing with things that were used in different countries, by people speaking different languages, over a period of centuries, so it isn't unusual that we find different words used to name the same thing.

This is an interesting thread because edged weapons were forbidden to churchmen, so they would use weapons like these. We usually think of priests and bishops as being noncombatants, but they did fight and even became knights. At the Battle of Hastings, William the Conquerer's brother, Bishop Odo, was one of generals and fought with a mace because as a priest he wasn't allowed to use a sword.

This changed during the crusades when military religious orders were created for priest/knights. The Templars, the Hospitalers, and the Tuetonic Knights were all priests and knights and they used swords, but I imagine some of them stayed with blunt weapons.
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Postby The Hordesman » Sun Nov 20, 2005 6:44 pm

Stephen, Ive heard about that too, but I guess the templars & friends changed because they were fighting non-christians (well, in the basics, and the Teutons I dont really know).

Updated, Sticks & Staves cathegory added. 8)
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Postby Damien » Sun Nov 20, 2005 7:08 pm

The historical evidence actually seems to point to priests using blunt or rebated weapons in an effort to not spill blood, but not because other weapons were forbidden to them. For the most part - priests -were- noncombatants and it's likely that one of the reasons we read about a fair amount of priests using cudgels and the like is because they don't -own- real weapons.. they're priests, after all.



Hordesman: You should add a notation about Rods that rods, in whatever form, were carried as a symbol of command by everyone from Imperial Romans to 15th century Burgundians.
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Postby Stone Goblin » Tue Nov 22, 2005 12:55 am

It would be great if you had some illustrations of the weapons with these descriptions.
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