How did medieval warriors carry maces, axes, and war hammers?

When it comes to swords then it is pretty clear how medieval knights and soldiers transported them. They fastened the swords in its scabbard to their belts. But have you ever wondered how medieval knights and soldiers carried their maces, axes, and war hammers when they didn`t use them but still wanted to have them within their reach?

That question will be answered in the following.

Some war hammers had belt hooks with which they could comfortably be fastened to the belt. Others, just like maces and axes, were carried in a similar way to modern-day carpenter hammers by pulling the mace through a ring that was fixed to the belt so that the head of the weapon was close to the hip.

Now one might ask why medieval warriors did not just knot a piece of string to the hilt of the mace and their belt. Well, in that case, the mace would have swung against the leg whenever the soldier made a step. That was only uncomfortable when carrying a mace, when the soldier carried an axe with a sharp axe head it could cause some serious injuries.

By having the head of the mace, the war hammer, or the ax as close to the hip as possible the danger of getting injured by the weapon that was swinging from the hip was much smaller. And carrying the majority of the weight – in the case of maces, war hammers, and axes most of the weight sat at the head of the weapon – made it much more comfortable for the bearer.

That easy way to carry a mace was actually one of the reasons why maces were pretty common during the Middle Ages. Another reason was their effectiveness, you can find out more about that here.

I hope I was able to answer your questions with this article. And if you want to find out more about medieval warfare then I would like to recommend you my article here with more information on how medieval battles worked.

And here you can find out more about how effective medieval knights were in combat.

Take care of yourself because you deserve it. You really do.

Until next time

Yours truly

Luke Reitzer


Malte Prietzel: Krieg im Mittelalter (Darmstadt 2006).