industries of arms have never ceased to amaze us, especially the ancient weapons. If you think that ancient
people only relied on very basic and traditional weapons, well, you have your
facts wrong. Sure, their weaponries weren’t as sophisticated as we have today
but still... their functions were carefully designed and created, resulting not
only in deadly weapons but also very effective.
The problem with humankind is their hunger of power. If you learn the world’s history, every leader would wish for more power, more expansion, more money, and more strength. Such a desire had led to the search and creation of the perfect arsenal. Ancient empires were carved and resulted from political ingenuity, sophisticated warfare, and strategic planning. Weapons were selected, even created, to help empires win their purposes. The types of weaponries could determine a faith of a nation – whether they would win the battle or defeated on the battleground. Wars have been going on, even from the ancient times to today’s modern era. The one that makes each battle different is the weaponries used in the battle.
There are some popular ancient weapons that preserved well until today although there are also some options for the modern choices. If you want to learn more about the course of history in weaponries making and their role, read on.
Unlike the modern scissor, this one was rather unusual, especially found from the ancient Rome era. With the length of18 inches and weight around 5 lbs (and also made from hardened steel), this weapon was considered ideal for Roman gladiators. It got its name from a type of gladiators class, the Scissors. They were gladiators that aren’t well descried in history. This is a two-part weapon. It has a long tube where the arm of the gladiator will be inserted in. On the end of the tube, there is cylindrical pipe (thin and long). On the end of the pipe, you can see a crescent shape blade. The crescent shape blade is the unique element of the weapon – thus, making it popular.
Different types of gladiator classes often fought with each other. The Scissor class was often set to fight off the Retiarius class. The latter one had the specialty of using net-like weapon. Because of this fact, the scissor was quite useful to cut off the net and then slaughtered the opponent. The tube-like element (the one where the arm is inserted to) could be used as a shield – which means that it could block attacks. Because of the nature and also shape of the weapon, it was considered dangerous and also versatile for blocking the opponents’ slashing, stabbing, and blows.
Also known as the ninja star, this weapon is quite popular as the Japanese weapon. The weapon is made from heavy grade steel with 35 grams to 150 grams in weight. The length is between 2 cm to 21 cm, or around 5 inch to 8.5 inch.
If you are familiar with the popular Japanese culture of ninja, then you should be familiar with this weapon as it is often the signature style of the ninja. Instead of being used for the direct attack, the Shuriken is often used for self-defense. It can be concealed easily because of the small size. Do you know that it comes in different varieties? The most popular one is the Hira Shuriken. It is a pointy star weapon with different styles and edges. Any sharp edged tools can be turned into Shuriken, such as coins, metals, or such thing alike. Shuriken was often thrown to an open target,such as exposed body parts like the face, hands, eyes, etc. This is the weapon also used by the Samurais and it was considered as a part of their weaponry. The idea is to create an attack and to conceal the swordsman – making him as if invisible.
Also known as the Tiger Claw, this weapon has a very distinctive look and unique style. The Indians used it, making the weapon from metal. The main claw has 6.6 inch in length while the side spike has each 1.75 inch. The weight is around 2 oz so it isn’t heavy and it can be used easily. This is one of the ancient weapons found in India. It was actually a replica from the big cats claw – a type of weapon created by nature. As you can see from the design, you should be able to find 4 or 5 curved blades used to slash through the opponent’s muscle and skin. You can find two holes on each side – each was to fit into the thumb and also the pinky finger. The blades themselves could be concealed within the palm. Depending on the users and the functions, additional knife-like part could be added to each side and the function was to thrust or stab. This weapon was often associated with Shivaji, a Marathi warrior. He killed one of Moghul rule’s generals, Afzal Khan, with this Bagh Nakh.
This is another type of ancient weapons that originated from ancient India. It was often called maru or madu, made of steel and used by Indian warriors. With 24 inch in length and 3 lbs to 14 lbs in weight, the weapon could inflict quite a serious injury. The shape is quite unique. It has a crossbar that acts like a handle. On each side, you can see blackbuck horns on each side which were pointing in the opposite directions. This type of weapon had different kinds of variations – one of which had a shield addition that could be used for defensive action.
The original weapon had been made from blackbuck horn but as time went by, it was made from the steel. Historians believed that this weapon originated was used for defensive weapon instead of attacking. It is likely to come from the South India. This weapon was mostly useful to ward off counter moves. For the pointed parts, they might be used for offensive attacks, such as thrusting and stabbing.
Unlike the other previous weapons that we have discussed earlier, the Hypaspist wasn’t actually a weapon but an elite soldier. They were infantry soldiers serving in Alexander the Great army. In ancient Greek words, Hypaspist means shield bearers. They were known for their courage, agility, and strength. It is like the special force in today’s military. Sometimes, a small number of the Hypaspist solders would be appointed to serve the King and became his Royal Guard. When the soldiersgot older, they became veterans. They became Argyraspidsor the Silver Shields because they would be holding silver shields. Despite their age and veteran reputation, they shouldn’t be taken for granted. They might be the elderly warriors but they were deeply feared because of their experience and also skills in the battle and fight.
This is one of the claw-like ancient weapons from ancient China. From the design alone, this weapon is pretty unusual – if not weird. It is made from iron with the weight and length determined by the size. The shape is like an animal feet or the claw. It has a claw-like design and figure with the sharp blades on the edge (used to rip away the enemy’s shield and weapons) and a long handle for comfortable hold. Because of the blade, this weapon could also be used to impale the human’s flesh and rip it off. When used professionally, the Zhua was able to attack and pull off the opponent’s soldier from a horse. The weapon was pretty heavy. Thanks to the weight (remember, it is made from iron), the weapon could also be used to bludgeon or kill the opponents. However, the most dangerous part was the claws – which could inflict heavy damage and injury to the opponent. Not to mention that they would be left exposed. If you think of it, this is a pretty cool ancient weapons despite the strange design and shape
The Ancient Ethiopian used this weapon for effective attack. The design is pretty unique and different with its curved shape. The sword originated from Abyssinia – or the ancient name for today’s Ethiopia. The curved sword is a beautiful weapon with intricate design and unique shape. It is pretty heavy too so it takes a complete mastery to control it. The blade alone is 40 inches in length and the weight is unknown. However, the sword required a good balance between the length and the weight to function effectively.
This sword was originally designed to deliver effective attack to unmounted and also (horse) mounted soldiers. The curved design was designed to deliver stabs to important organs such as the lungs or the kidneys. Not to mention that it could also be used to strike the opponent’s shield. Since the Abyssinians didn’t use any fencing in the swordplay, the Shotel wasn’t designed to slice or cut. The blade has this double edge shape and flat design. The hilt itself is made from simple wooden piece. However, if anyone wanted to create artistic design, they could do it on the hilt. The curved sword originated in Medieval centuries and survived Western influence in the 19th century.
Another type of ancient weapons is the Khopesh, originated from ancient Egypt era. Egyptians weren’t used to swords. On the contrary, they were more used to short swords or daggers. In fact, they had different types of daggers and shorter swords for battle and combat. The Khopesh itself is quite long – in between 50 cm and 60 cm. With the main materials of steel and bronze and around 7 lbs of weight, the weapon is pretty deadly. The design is unique and somewhat beautiful, but the thick crescent blade is pretty deadly. The inside hook isn’t sharp although the outer part comes with a single one cutting edge. For that matter, it could be effectively used bludgeoning and as a hook. Iron was often used instead of bronze. Soma Pharaohs had been described and portrayed holding the Khopesh – those images could be found inside their graves.
Have you ever watched ‘300’? The spectacular movie depicted a small number of brave Spartan soldiers fighting against thousands of Persian army. If you had watched the movie, you would be familiar with the circular shields used by the Spartan warriors. The shield was known as the Aspis or the Hoplon, made from the wood with bronze cover on the outer part. The length is between 7 feet and 9 feet with the diameter of 3 feet. The weight is around 30 pounds so it is a pretty heavy. One of the distinctive and unique elements is the way soldiers held it. There is a leather strap located on the center which is used to support the handle at the shield’s edge. Because of this technique, soldiers didn’t suffer from limited movement. In fact, because of the unique design, they were able to move their arms freely during battles. The shield size also functioned as the floating device. Because the shield is pretty heavy (and also its blunt nature), it could be used for killing and bludgeoning. Although the shield was originally used for defensive action, the Spartans could make use of it for effective extra attack and to attack by surprise.
You probably have seen movies where soldiers would shoot flaming arrows to the opponents for the purpose of killing and causing damage. That’s the idea of this weapon – it was for thermal reason during the entire Medieval Age. However, among the many types of ancient weapons, this one had been used in many ancient cultures and civilizations. Judeans, Romans, Assyrians, Chinese, etc had used this fire arrow technique to beat their enemies. The arrow itself didn’t have any specific weight or length, made from either steel wool or wood.
It was the Chinese who first invented the fire arrow, attaching the arrows with rockets, during Song Dynasty. And then Koreans and Japanese started to use different variants of the flaming arrows. The simplest one was soaking the tows in resin or oil and then tied it up below the head. Not only the arrows could kill, they were also effective to destroy wooden building or structures. Later, the Chinese developed the fire arrow with a pouch containing gunpowder. The pouch was then attached to the arrow’s shaft to create explosive effect. The gunpowder could also provide propulsive effect. Thanks to the gunpowder propeller, the arrow could shoot through 1000 feet.
As you could see from the explanation above, the ancient weapons were mostly ruthless, brutal, and nasty. They were designed and created through critical and also analytical skills which were proven from their effective killing effect. They were carefully crafted and designed, but they were also unique. The idea was to surprise and then startle the enemy before finally slaughtering them. The choice of weapon was often a crucial part of the battle strategy. The Spartans, for instance, could use their shield along other dangerous weapons to move forward and march and then disarmed and killed their enemies.
In the end, the weapons were proven effective for battle. For today’s era, they may serve as a reminder of how powerful (and effective) ancient weapons could be.
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