Object Title

Mace

The horseman's mace was a short club-like weapon. During the early medieval period it had a wooden haft with a metal head, though later it was made entirely of metal.

Development

Maces developed from the simple club, which has been used across the world from pre-history.

They proved effective against mail armour, which could protect against the cuts of edged weapons but not the crushing blow of the mace.

As plate armour developed, the mace developed in turn. Flanges were added to the head, as well as additional small spikes, which allowed them to smash and buckle plate armour.

Some maces were a signifier of rank, and these could be highly decorated.

Use and effect

These powerful weapons could smash and buckle both mail and plate armour.

They were carried by both cavalrymen and infantry.

The Battle of Rosebeke (1382) graphically illustrates the effectiveness of such weapons:

"men-at-arms knocked down the Flemings with all their power, and some had very sharp battle-axes which burst helmets and split open heads, and some had iron maces which gave such great blows that they knocked everything to the ground..." [1]


[1] Jean Froissart, Les Chroniques d'Angleterre, Book II, 1388

Statistics

Length approx. 50 cm (19 ¾ ins.)
Weight approx. 850 g (1 Ib. 14 oz.)

Associations

People Men-at-arms

Author

Bob Woosnam-Savage