Usage and History
The most common weapon during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance was the spear. This versatile weapon was favored by the Vikings and has been found in virtually every culture on Earth. The spear is a weapon that most Medieval people would have been familiar with, as they would have used it for hunting and even self defense.
Spears were used throughout Medieval Europe primarily in mass combat. As a weapon of war the spear was ideal because little training is required to use it effectively in formations. In its longer form, the pike, it allowed infantry to oppose cavalry and when shorter could be thrown to soften an enemy line before engaging in melee combat. In single combat the spear remains a formidable weapon. With lightning fast thrusts and greater range than most swords it is very difficult to close on a spearman. When space is available crushing blows can be delivered by swinging the spear around the head. Even at close range the shaft can be used to block and deflect like a staff and the butt of the spear can be brought to bear, enabling thrusts from both ends.
Components and Construction
A spear is made of three parts, the shaft, head and butt. The shaft is normally made from wood, sometimes with a hand grip and can vary in length depending on the use (a shorter shaft for throwing spears and a longer one for pikes). The head of a spear would be made from steel, either hammered on or riveted to the shaft, but could also be merely sharpened and fire hardened wood. Steel spear heads can be designed purely for thrusting or they can have a large leaf blade that allows for cutting. Sometimes the heads will even have multiple points and blades. The butt of a spear was often left as unadorned wood, but it could also be fitted with steel cap or a spike, much like the queue of a pole-axe.
Sword Academy uses wooden spears with padded tips for both drills and sparring.