Arms & Armor Reference Information for Writing a Fantasy Novel – Part II

Last week I gave a bunch of information about armor and helmets. But there is more to writing a fantasy novel than just knowing about the armor and helmets of the middle ages. Here are some good things to know about bows and arrows and other medieval weapons:

Bows and Arrows
-arrow parts – point, shaft, fletching, nock
-bodkin point arrows used to penetrate chain mail or plate mail, otherwise the point would break or bounce off
-bows made from yew, elm, or ash
-crossbows easier to use, have longer range, but take longer to load as compared to a longbow
-crossbows use heavy arrows called bolts or quarrels
-leather bracer – used to protect archer’s forearm from bow string
-leather tab – used by archers to protect fingers from bow string
-quiver – leather case for holding and carrying arrows
-sheaf = 24 arrows
-steps in shooting – standing, nocking, drawing, holding, aiming, releasing, and follow-through
-stringing a bow is not an easy thing to do, takes well over 100 pounds of pressure
windlas – needed to drawback cord on some bows

Medieval Weapons
-balistas – large siege bows
-battering ram
-caltrops – three-dimensional spikes that have standing points no matter which way it lies on the ground
-gross-guard – as on a sword, keeps hand from sliding to blade
-cudgel – short heavy club
-falchion – a foreign shortsword with a broad slightly curved blade
-halberd – ax or pole-ax
-lance, javelin, spear
-lance – long wooden staff with sharp metal head
-pole-ax – battle ax with 6-8 foot handle
-pommel – sword end
-quarterstaff – could be all wooden or tipped with metal pointed edge
-quillons – cross-guard on a sword
-short sword or dagger
-testudo – armored roof on rollers used during a siege
-trebuchet or mangonel – sling catapult, more accurate than a catapult
two handled sword had a four-foot blade and foot-long handle, was designed for wide cutting strokes

This is just some basic information. For more information, check out some great reference books for writing a fantasy novel. There is “European Arms & Armor“, “Studies in European Arms and Armor“, and “Arms & Armor“.

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