History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

To settle an office debate - I was wondering if there was any evidence for any soldier or knight in the 12th Century using two weapons at once - for instance, if a shield was dropped or wasn't available.

Is there anything that could confirm this? A lot of searching hasn't turned anything up yet.

share|improve this question
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Well, depends on where in the 12th century... some Indian and East Asian fencing weapons were meant to be deployed as a pair. I am assuming you mean medeval Europe.

The earliest tome on swordsmanship is an untitled work known simply as I.33, and dates to 1300. It concerns itself only with buckler and longsword, which were in fashion at the time. Later into the 14th century, the aphorisms of Johannes Liechtenauer were recorded by contemporaries... but they made no mention of dual-weapon technique.

Any fighting technique used by feudal knights or soldiery earlier than this is not documented by history - accounts of battle generally notes who killed who, not blow-by-blow reconstructions of the melee. Likewise, art depicting battle usually modelled the knights in their finest regalia, not in the disarray of actual combat.

Considering a shield is a weapon in its own right, and one the medeval combatant had likely trained with, they'd go for an abandoned or improvised shield before a spare sword if they found their shield hand empty.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.