Dark Middle Ages: Spanning the 5th-16th Centuries, A.D.  You know, the good old days.

Weapons and Warfare

Combat in the Middle Ages was up close and personal.
Combat in the Middle Ages was up close and personal.

Early in the Middle Ages, popular weapons were double-edged swords, axes, spears, and short bows. These weapons remained popular in one form or another throughout the medieval period.

The crossbow was used in medieval Europe from about 1000AD until about 1500AD. It was so vicious and destructive that the Church banned its use in 1139AD.

Peasants couldn't afford good weapons, because they were expensive, so they typically used hayforks, sickles, axes, or other tools available to them.

Because of the defensive power of castles, seige weapons were also very important. Catapults, trebuches, battering rams, ballistas, and mangonels were all seen on the field of battle.

Once gunpowder was developed, most of these weapons became obsolete.

Sources: Castles of Britain, Medieval Weaponry, by Lise Hull