Friday, 25 July 2014

The Flail - Distinguishing Your Bludgeoning Weapons: Medieval Weaponry and Accoutrements

Probably a two-handed flail, judging by the
length of haft and chain. The head is of the
spiked variety.
Flail. Mace. Morningstar. I’ve been asked what’s the difference?

Quite simply, they are all crushing weapons. The flail features one or more striking heads attached to a handle by a rope, strap or chain. Both the mace and the morningstar have the head affixed directly to the handle, and so are the two most similar of these three weapons. A mace may or may not have flanges or knobs but does not have spikes. A morningstar always has a spiked head, and most particularly, has a spike extending straight up from the top of the head. A flail may have spikes, but of course is differentiated from the morningstar by the head not being affixed to the shaft.

And now we've come full circle.

Each weapon is worth examining separately, so today we have the flail. In later posts we'll look at the mace and the morningstar.

The Flail

The bottom weapon appears to be a single-handed flail
with a knobbed head.
The flail comes in two main varieties – one- and two-handed, the latter of which originated from the agricultural tool used to thresh grain. It was mainly an offensive weapon, having virtually no defensive capabilities. The key benefit of the two-handed version was that it could overcome your opponent’s shield – cool! On the downside, it lacked precision, and in close combat or close formations you were just as likely to brain the bloke next to you – OK, not so good.

The one-handed flail is most often depicted as one or more metal heads, which may or may not be spiked, attached to a short handle by a long metal chain. Multiple striking heads! More power! I'm almost having a Tim the Tool Man moment, and I will totally include a multiple-headed flail in the next book I write - this is just too cool to ignore. In the majority of cases, the chain on the one-handed flail is long enough that you need to be careful not to hit your own hand. Yeah all right - that's not so good, especially if your flail does have multiple heads.
Top Right - Multiple-headed flail. Middle Right -  Mace. Bottom Right - Morningstar with knobbed head and typical central spike. Top Middle - Morningstar. with typical central spike and smaller spikes. Middle - Mace with knobbed/ridged head. 

It's a Flail! A Mace! No, it's a Morningstar! Simple Chart To Work Out the Difference

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven't already. If you're finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or sign-up to my newsletter. Check out my July Newsletter if you missed it.

Don't forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting!

No comments:

Total Pageviews

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...