Elizabethan Era

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Elizabethan Era Weapons - Swords, Muskets

During the reign of Elizabeth I, also referred to as the Virgin Queen, among other nicknames, England suffered from constant threat of war from the other superpowers of the time, Spain and France. To catch up with the needs of war, the army of the Elizabethan era tried to employ weapons that were modern and up to date.

The problem at that time, in terms of arms, was that weapons from the medieval period were still used and wielded by trained military men, thus showing a necessity for the immediate advancement of Elizabethan era weapons.

During the early years of the Elizabethan era, swords were the choice in weaponry. Nobles were required to learn fencing, so there were quite different kinds of swords - including broadswords, cutting swords, and the rapier - used not only inside fencing classrooms, but in war.

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The rapier was the favorite among the swords mentioned. Men of nobility and military career chose the rapier because, although the other swords were wider, it was lighter, slender, and more sharply pointed. Men who held the rapier could use the sword for both thrusting and cutting attacks.

Swords were not the only weapons used during the early period of the Elizabethan era. Since weapons at that particular time in the era mainly composed of those used in the medieval period, the battle axe, dagger, halberd, longbow, mace, pike, spear, and the crossbow, specifically the arbalest, were some of the other choices in weaponry.

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The crossbow or the arbalest, however, was ordered by Queen Elizabeth I to be replaced by what perhaps was the most advanced weapon that was ever used during her reign: the musket. Although the musket was created in 1520, the Queen only saw it fit for her men to use it in the 1590s, thus making firearms the new Elizabethan era weapons and changing the face of England's weaponry forever.

The kind of musket employed in the Elizabethan era used the matchlock mechanism, which tried automatic ignition through the use of a lighted match. Because of the process it took to fire, the musket was found to be slow to reload and inaccurate when used to shoot a target over a hundred meters. Still, the musket remained an indispensable weapon since it was introduced and throughout the rest of the era.

The crossbow was not the only medieval weapon replaced by recent innovations in weaponry during the Elizabethan era. The trebuchet, ballista, and the mongonel were replaced by the canon, which was crafted with bronze or iron, with the round shots made of iron or stone balls. The canon proved a most helpful change in Elizabethan era weapons since it could be used both at land and on sea.

The Elizabethan era has always been referred to as the Golden Age, a time when England reportedly proved successful in all its endeavors, including its military expeditions and conquests. The superiority of English warfare - the weapons used during war - proved itself time and again, and added to England's supremacy as a nation.



   
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