-- Mace
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Time Period: 12,000 BC to present
Location: Worldwide

Mace is a general term for a club whose purpose is specifically designed to harm another human. In other words, a weapon of war. Maces predate written records and have been constructed out of nearly every hard material available to mankind including flint, obsidian, jade, copper, bronze, steel, etc.

Early maces were countered by the use of animal hides or leather armor, which helped to absorb the blow. In cultures where armor was regularly employed, the sword or spear generally supplanted the mace. However, some cultures never developed any significant level of armor, and the mace remained a primary weapon form.

Maces reached their most advanced form in Europe during the 15th century. The ease in which swords and spears were produced relegated the mace to relative obscurity for much of Europe's history. It would not be until the development of heavy armor that the mace would resurface as a preferred weapon of war. Chain and plated armors of increasing strength rendered standard swords of the period ineffective, they could neither pierce nor slash through the armor. However the addition of flanges on the mace's head allowed it to rip the armor open, and a strike from a mace could break a man's bones through the armor even if didn't penetrate.

Maces have an interesting history of being used against either unarmored or very heavily armored opponents, and rarely is a weapon's usage so closely tied the defensive abilities of a culture. In Japan for instance, maces (and axes for that matter) are virtually absent from history. While in Africa and Australia, the mace was always the primary weapon of war, to the point that special club shields were developed specifically to counter them.

In the modern day, maces still serve a ceremonial role in many cultures both in church and government.

General Term, History, Mace, Present, Weapon

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