Friday, 17 May 2013

Spear - a Weapon of War

The thrusting spear was held in one or both hands and pushed toward the enemy. It was a favoured weapon of war for thousands of years. It was cheap and easy to make, but could be deadly whether used in single combat or in a battle between large armies. Some armies developed special tactics to make war-winning use of the spear.

The earliest spears were probably straight wooden shafts that had one end sharpened to a point. By about 100,000 years ago, however, stone tips were being fitted to spears. When techniques for making bronze were developed, spear heads were among the first weapons to be made. The joint between a metal head and the shaft could be made very strong by gluing the wooden shaft into a socket. This allowed the user to thrust with much greater strength without the head slipping off.

By about 1500bc it had been discovered that ash was the best wood to use for spear shafts. This wood was light, but very strong under compression so that it was unlikely to break due to the impact of a spear thrust. The point of a spear concentrate the power of the thrust on to a small area, meaning that the spearhead  could punch through some types of armour or shields.

The first picture to survive of an army comes from the city of Ur in what is now Iraq. It is about 5,000 years old and shows a column of men carrying spears.

from "Weapons of War" by Rupert Matthews

Buy your copy HERE

Product details

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Carlton Publishing (1 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847322700
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847322708
  • Product Dimensions: 27.1 x 30.8 cm

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