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Top 10 Badass Ancient Weapons

Jamie Frater . . . Comments

Long before drive by shootings and police stabbings, our ancestors used some truly badass weapons against each other. Our ancient ancestors seemed to have a knack for finding the most gruesome and painful ways to attack each other – you could even argue that no modern weapons come close to being able to inflict the same level of suffering as these ancient weapons. You might even be forgiven for being thankful for guns with their quick deaths when you read this list of top 10 badass weapons.

This is a list of the most badass weapons in ancient history. This list excludes weapons beyond the medieval period.

10

Culverin

CulverinCoulevriniers

Culverins were medieval guns. These were often used by horsemen in a medieval kind of drive-by shooting. The hand culverin were made of a simple smoothbore tube, closed at one end except for a small hole designed to fire the gunpowder. The tube was held in place by a wooden piece which could be held under the arm. The tube was loaded with gunpowder and lead bullets. The culverin was fired by inserting a lighted cord into the hole. In the image above, the hand culverin is between two small canons.

These hand culverins soon evolved into heavier portable culverins, around 40kg in weight, which required a swivel for support and aiming. Such culverins were further equiped with back-loading sabots to facilitate reloading, and were often used on ships – a precursor to the modern canon.

9

Caltrop

Caltrops

A caltrop is a weapon made up of two (or more) sharp nails or spines arranged so that one of them always points upward from a stable base (for example, a tetrahedron). Caltrops serve to slow down the advance of horses, war elephants, and human troops. It was said to be particularly effective against the soft feet of camels.

Weapons Caltrop

In modern times Caltrops have been used at times during labor strikes and other disputes. Such devices were used by some to destroy the tires of management and replacement workers. Because of the prevalence of caltrops during the Caterpillar strike of the mid-1990s, the state of Illinois passed a law making the possession of such devices a misdemeanor.

Iron caltrops were used as early as 331 BC at Gaugamela according to Quintus Curtius. They were known to the Romans as tribulus or sometimes as Murex ferreus, meaning ‘jagged iron’. The Roman writer Vegetius said:

The Roman soldiers rendered [the armed chariots] useless chiefly by the following contrivance: at the instant the engagement began, they strewed the field of battle with caltrops, and the horses that drew the chariots, running full speed on them, were infallibly destroyed. A caltrop is a device composed of four spikes or points arranged so that in whatever manner it is thrown on the ground, it rests on three and presents the fourth upright.

Punji sticks and caltrops were used in the Vietnam War, sometimes with poison or manure on the points.


8

Boiling Oil

Castle

Back in the day, you had to scale the walls of a city or castle before you could rape and pillage. This led someone to the brilliant idea that you could pour boiling oil on top of the people trying to climb in.

Oil

Oil was not difficult to come by as the women would all donate their cooking oil (a small price to pay to keep their privates private). If the town ran out of oil, they would use boiling water, or other easily obtainable things like sand.

Castles were often built with special holes in the sides to make it easier to pour this blistering liquid on unsuspecting climbers. They were so effective that they were called murder-holes. These holes were also useful for firing arrows at attackers or throwing rocks. Similar holes, called machicolations, were often located in the curtain walls of castles and city walls. The parapet would project over corbels so that holes would be located over the exterior face of the wall, and arrows could be shot at, rocks dropped on, or boiling water poured over, any attackers near the wall.

Various sources claim that molten lead was also used as a weapon in this way, but there is no historical evidence to support that view.

7

Arbalest

Arbalette-P1000546

We all know that crossbows are badass – but what about the arbalest? The Arbalest was a larger version of the crossbow and it had a steel prod (“bow”). Since an arbalest was much larger than earlier crossbows, and because of the greater tensile strength of steel, it had a greater force. The strongest windlass-pulled arbalests could have up to 22 kN (5000 lbf) strength and be accurate up to 500m. A skilled arbalestier (arblaster) could shoot two bolts per minute. Arbalests were sometimes considered inhumane or unfair weapons, since an inexperienced crossbowman could use one to kill a knight who had a lifetime of training.

Innocentii

The use of crossbows in European warfare dates back to Roman times and is again evident from the battle of Hastings until about 1500 AD. They almost completely superseded hand bows in many European armies in the twelfth century for a number of reasons. Although a longbow had greater range, could achieve comparable accuracy and faster shooting rate than an average crossbow, crossbows could release more kinetic energy and be used effectively after a week of training, while a comparable single-shot skill with a longbow could take years of practice. Crossbows were eventually replaced in warfare by gunpowder weapons, although early guns had slower rates of fire and much worse accuracy than contemporary crossbows.

This weapon was so badass, that Pope Innocent II (pictured to the left) banned them at the second Lateran Council in 1139:

We prohibit under anathema that murderous art of crossbowmen and archers, which is hateful to God, to be employed against Christians and Catholics from now on.

Today the crossbow often has a complicated legal status due to the possibility of lethal use and its similarities with both firearms.

6

Hunga Munga

Hungamunga

The Hunga Munga is an iron fighting tool named by the African tribes south of Lake Tchad; also called “danisco” by the Marghi, “goleyo” by the Musgu, and “njiga” by the Bagirmi. It is handheld weapon and has a metal pointed blade with a curved back section and separate spike near the handle. The weapon can be used in hand to hand combat (Melee) although it is normally thrown with a spinning action.

Buffy

These African iron weapons are thrown with a rotatory motion (similar to an Australian boomerang), and cause deep wounds with their projecting blades. They come in many shapes and sizes and they were (and are) used across Africa from the Upper Nile on the east through Central Africa by Lake Tchad to the Africans of the Gaboon in West Africa. In parts of Central Africa, these weapons are shaped like a bird’s head.

This weapon is used in the Role-Playing game Mage The Ascension by the Euthanatos characters for their magical rituals. Buffy (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer – image to the right) used one of these from time to time to battle demons that enslave their victims and force them to give up their identities. The hunga munga was used in the opening credits of the show.

5

Morning Star

Fomfr Morning Star

The Morning Star (also sometimes called the goedendag or Holy Water sprinkler) is a term used for a variety of club-like weapons with one or more sharp spikes sticking out of it. It would normally have one big spike poking out of the top with a bunch of smaller ones around the sides. These are often thought of as peasant weapons, but there were also very high quality ones made for the rich guys.

Havik

These weapons were most effective when you hit someone on the head with them. The Holy Water sprinkler, was a morning star popular with the English army from the sixteenth century and made in series by professional smiths. Some of them were over 6 foot long! This was the favored weapon of King John of Bohemia who was blind – he would just sit on his horse and swing the thing until he hit someone (preferably one of the bad guys).

In the game Mortal Kombat Deception, the character Havik (in the picture to the right) weilds a morning star in his form of armed combat. The Morning Star is considered to be a Holy Weapon in Dungeons and Dragons. Of course, when not engaged in battle, this was a useful tool for keeping thine wyfe and kids in line, or as a backscratcher. Badass!


4

Dead Bodies

Plagueguys

One of the upsides to siege warfare in the middle ages was the huge number of dead bodies from people who had died of plague or other mysterious illnesses. A very handy use for these bodies was biological warfare! Most towns would barricade themselves behind huge walls that could not be breached by the enemy – but they often relied on outside sources of fresh water. This is where the bodies come in. You could dump a few bodies in the rivers leading in to the town and all you had to do was wait! A perfect opportunity to sit back and watch some jousting.

Jane

After a while, the plague would infect the town and you have a great victory! Obviously you can’t rape and pillage too soon, but at least you didn’t lose any men (except maybe the poor guys that had to carry the bodies to the river). In the image to the left, we see Jane Godbotherer being treated for the plague. She will eventually end up being used as a biological weapon.

Plague infection in a human occurs when a person is bitten by a flea that has been infected by biting a rodent that itself has been infected by the bite of a flea carrying the disease.

This type of warfare was used before the advent of catapults which were more much more effective at infecting towns with disease.

3

Trebuchet / Catapult

Trebuchet

With the advent of the trebuchet (a very high powered catapult) came the realization that plagued bodies were no longer needed to slowly kill people in a fortified town or castle – you could simply catapult a rotting or diseased animal over the ramparts – or for truly fast results, you could fling over a few beehives. Dead horses were a popular weapon in this form of biological warfare, though anything filled with disease would do the trick.

The counterweight trebuchet appeared in both Christian and Muslim lands around the Mediterranean in the twelfth century. It could fling three-hundred-pound (140 kg) projectiles at high speeds into enemy fortifications. Trebuchets were invented in China in about the 4th century BC, came to Europe in the 6th century AD, and did not become obsolete until the 16th century, well after the introduction of gunpowder. Trebuchets were far more accurate than other medieval catapults.

The trebuchet could launch projectiles a distance of over half a mile (over 750 m).


2

Greek Fire

Skylitzes-Greekfire

Picture, if you will, a slow day on the seas. The water is calm, the sky is blue, when suddenly, from out of nowhere, it starts raining fire! You discover that you have just been engaged by a Greek warship and they have flame-throwers! Yes – that’s right, the Greeks used flame-throwers in their naval battles from around 670 AD. So what do you do when you are being fired on by flame-throwers? According to one witness:

“Every time they hurl the fire at us, we go down on our elbows and knees, and beseech Our Lord to save us from this danger.”

Chinese Flamethrower

In other words, not much! The recipe for Greek fire was a closely guarded secret – even now no one really knows what it was made of. Modern scientists have ventured a few guesses: petroleum, niter, sulfur; or naphtha, quicklime, sulfur; or phosphorus and saltpeter. Regardless of the recipe, the stuff was heated in a cauldron on the ship and squirted out a giant syringe at the enemy.

But… the Chinese beat them to it

In the 3rd century BC, a flammable liquid substance was found in the Gao Nu County, located in the northeast portion of what is now the Shaanxi Province. This “flammable liquid” (called Meng Huo You) was probably petroleum that had seeped through the ground and was floating above the local waters. Ever the ingenious people, the Chinese put it to good use in destroying towns built with timber.

In 900 AD, the Chinese also invented the Pen Huo Qi – a piston based naphtha flamethrower. The double-piston pump flamethrower was carefully documented and illustrated in the Chinese military manual known as the Wujing Zongyao (image on the right). It was, of course, used in siege warfare.

1

Scythed Chariot

Chariot

I am sure most will agree that it doesn’t get more badass than this. A scythed chariot was a war chariot with one or more blades mounted on both ends of the axle. The scythed chariot was pulled by a team of four horses and manned by a crew of up to three men, one driver and two warriors. Theoretically the scythed chariot would plow through infantry lines, cutting combatants in half or at least opening gaps in the line which could be exploited. It was difficult to get horses to charge into the tight phalanx formation of the Greek/Macedonian hoplites (infantry). The scythed chariot avoided this inherent problem for cavalry, by the scythe cutting into the formation, even when the horses avoided the men.

The blades extended horizontally for a meter on the sides of the chariot. Xenophon, an eyewitness, describing the scythed chariots at the battle of Cunaxa says, “These had thin scythes extending at an angle from the axle and also under the driver’s seat, turned towards the ground”.

A scythed chariot can be seen in the chariot race of the movie Ben Hur, operated by Messala (here called a “Greek chariot” or a “beaked chariot.”). Scythed chariots are seen in the first Colosseum scene in the movie Gladiator. In the film Alexander by Oliver Stone, scythed chariots are shown charging into Macedonian phalanx during the beginning of Battle of Gaugamela scene.

This article is licensed under the GFDL because it contains quotations from the Wikipedia articles: Crossbow, Caltrop, Trebuchet, Scythed Chariot

Jamie Frater

Jamie is the owner and chief-editor of Listverse. He spends his time working on the site, doing research for new lists, and collecting oddities. He is fascinated with all things historic, creepy, and bizarre.

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  • Rew: Do you know the name of the axes by any chance?

    • Slickcharms

      the french throwing axe was called a francisca, it was not actually named after the french but was actually named after the franks, who would later become the french. they used it to great success in many medieval battles, driving back the germantics, british, and anglo saxons, as well as others. its versatility as a mele or ranged combat weapon, along with its devastating power and ability to easily shatter shields, made it an amazingly effective killer. shame it didnt make the list.

  • Mom424

    Mystern; I have never considered you an ass, your range of interests is as broad as my own. Due to circumstance/lack of intelligence I can't always keep up, but you are always an interesting read and never too condescending. (Sometimes it is necessary).
    By the way I am still processing our philosophical debate and will get back to it, as soon as I figure it out! lol

    • Swede

      Mom424, alow me to doubt that you should lack intelligence. Your name, along with that of Mystern, is a mark of comment quality.

  • Arabella

    All of them are so badass!

  • fishing4monkeys

    Woah, Trebuchet…another cool list :D

  • Rew

    3rd

  • Rew

    notable omission-i thought the throwing axes the french made that bounced off the earth and could still do harm were pretty cool

  • saskiatzar989

    i love the greek fire one!!!

  • Rew

    francisca

  • For the morningstar: my understanding is that the morning star is a spikey ball on the end of a short length of chain, while the item described in that entry, and the picture with it is a mace, which is a spikey ball or just a normal metal ball on the end of a stick.

    “These weapons were most effective when you hit someone on the head with them” made me laugh though.

  • dangorironhide: these are maces: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Maces.jpg

    According to Wikipedia:

    The morning star first came into widespread use around the beginning of the fourteenth century, and the term is often mistakenly applied to the military flail (“fléau d’armes” in French and “kriegsflegel” in German) which consists of a wooden haft joined by a length of chain to one or more iron balls or an iron shod wooden bar

  • me

    i was under the same impression as dangor about the morning star and using dead bodies now thts badass

  • I’ve got all my meanings mixed up then… For me, the mace is that picture you linked me to AND the picture in the list. The morningstar is the picture of the flail on wiki, and a flail is like a bunch of little spikey balls on the end of multiple chains attached to a handle.

  • dastex

    Well we are truly great at figuring out ways to off each other! I particularily like the Greek Fire.

    • bianca

      hi.. do you knw any other weapons dat is not listed on this website????

      • Aronthehun

        How about the composite recurve bows used by the Huns, Mongols, Magyars, Avars etc. Very deadly in the hands of an experienced user.

  • Byrd

    Great list!

    And you found a really great picture of the caltrops.

  • SocialButterfly

    I remember the Hunga Munga from Buffy ( Buffy freaks present and accounted for, but at least I was a teenage girl a the time)

    I never knew it was called that though, that cracks me up!

  • dastex: it is a great and worthwhile pastime I am sure :)

    Byrd: thanks :) I use iStockPhoto for a lot of the pics now. That is where I got the caltrops.

  • SocialButterfly: that is my favorite one by name – my favorite otherwise is probably the morning star :)

  • J: I really like the way this list is formatted, with the wider pictures & having smaller pictures in the text for the entries. It makes it a lot more interesting to read I think. (OK, maybe the pictures aren’t wider, but they look it to me…)

  • nearly anonymous

    totally 100% badassed

  • dangorironhide: I am glad you mentioned that – this list is the first to capitalize on the wider space the new site design has given us for the list contents. And the pictures ARE wider – the main ones are now around 450 pixels wide (as opposed to the previous ones which were generally around 300).

  • SocialButterfly

    jfrater: intriguing that the morning star is used as a holy weapon in D&D (which I mever played) because The Morning Star is an alias of Lucifer.

    I thought I was going crazy regarding the size of the pics… hahaha… I do like the wider format though it allows for more information and the side pictures, which I really enjoy.

  • stevenh

    Wonderful research – thanks Xanthius.
    jf: formatting is much better!

  • I am really pleased that everyone likes the new formatting. I have to say though – it took me a lot longer to prepare this list than usual! Hopefully I will speed up with more practise :)

    • bianca

      i need more weapons dat are not listed on this website.. can u help

  • Levi

    Flippin’ awesome list. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

  • Mystern

    Damn server ninjaed my comment.

    anyway, what I said was that I like the list. Saying the morning star is considered a holy weapon in D&D is misleading. In the game every god has their own favored weapon and the morning star is just one of them. The morning star is not considered a holy weapon in and of itself.

  • TMo

    badass.

  • SocialButterfly

    Is there anything you don’t know Mystern??

  • islanderbst

    i knew boiling oil would be here. i’ve always thought that was such a wicked way to kill people. (and then you could have fried soldier for dinner!)

  • J: I think the extra time is worth it. It looks great having a huge-ass (compared to the old size) picture of a trebuchet in the middle of the list.

  • Joss

    Hurrah for the Buffy picture.

  • Mystern

    On the subject of Mystern (me) knowing everything:

    No. I do not know everything. However, I do have an outstanding memory and interests in everything from poetry to politics, art to science. About the only thing I am not interested in is sports. Due to my wide interests I’ve studied more than the average person and due to my outstanding memory I can easily recall it. This is not to say that I am never wrong. It happens occasionally and I pride myself on being able to admit it when I am and learn from the experience. I enjoy sharing my knowledge which leads many to believe I am a pompous ass. While I try to discourage this view I must admit that it is sometimes correct.
    In short, I would say that I know far more than the average person on nearly every subject. But not everything (even if that is my ultimate goal).

    As for D&D, well, I’m actually a really big nerd. My weekends consist of: Friday night-World of Warcraft; Saturday-D&D; Saturday night-party; Sunday-D&D; Monday night-World of Warcraft.

    • bianca

      hi.. i see your into warcraft i am 2 lol well sort of .. i make characters war characters and i need weapens … i have used all the weapons on this site but i need something more interesting something that will bring my characters 2 life .. if u can think of sumthin plz add my on fb.. in on the pc at my mums work.. [email protected]

  • indiefreak19

    This is an awessomeee list though it saddens me slightly to think of how cruel us humans can be in terms of thinking up ways of inflicting pain on people with the same feelings and emotions as us…..

    Anyhow!!! lol I love the morning star and arbalest, kickass weapons indeed!

    Also am a fan of the Meteor Hammer, chakrams and, of course, the katana….

  • Mystern

    By the by JF, I really enjoy the layout of the list, and I like that you included more than one pic on the items of the list.

  • SlickWilly

    This. List. Is. Awesome.

    Period.

  • evan

    good list but this is wrong
    “It was difficult to get horses to charge into the tight phalanx formation of the Greek/Macedonian hoplites (infantry). The scythed chariot avoided this inherent problem for cavalry, by the scythe cutting into the formation, even when the horses avoided the men. ”

    Alexanders Phalanx had no problems making the chariots totally ineffective. Despite the fearsome look of the chariots, the Greeks handled them with ease. The javelin men and archers cut down many horses before they reached the phalanx. When they did reach the phalanx, they purposly opened gaps which the horses would run into, as opposed to spears. When the chariots enters these gaps, the the remaining back rows would then lower the spears causing the horses to stop, the phalanx would close formation around them, and then the charoit rides were sitting ducks and were quickly cut down.

    Phalanx
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    Charoit————————> XXX
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  • evan

    opps, the spacing didnt work after submitting, but i thinkyou get the picture

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    ……………XXX
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    like that

  • evan

    lol still doesnt work right, like a giant square backwards “C” where they would ride into.

  • I’m partial to the katana, but the nodachi is a badass weapon. Imagine five foot five samurai wielding a big six foot sword. Awesome.

    The otachi’s are freakin cool too. Hell any Japanese weapon in the right hands will make you pee your pants.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_sword

  • Hacbarton

    I kinda miss war-hammers. The idea of a blunted weapon with the weight thrust of a battle ax has universal appeal, especially in close range battle.

  • downhighway61

    boiling oil is my favorite, it can still be used quite easily today ;)

  • slipstick

    Are you sure that isn’t a typo in the Greek fire list about the Chinese having found a similar thing in the 300th century BC? I didn’t think that they had records going back to 29,000 BC.

    You beat me to it about the morning star not being the only favored weapon in D&D. Depending on the campaign there can be nearly a hundred deities. While not all of them can have their own favored weapon, I do remember some of them having the longsword, quarterstaff, bastard sword, whip, and even shuriken. All depends if you want to be a cleric of that god. (Nothing beats having an evil deity as your patron god. heh heh heh)

  • Mom424

    Xanthius.; great list, the “hunga bunga” is news to me. I just thought it a funky vampire killer…..Socialbutterfly; I was a buffy fan for years,,,since the movie eons ago…
    Did they not use the trebuchet for psychological warfare as well? even if the bodies were not diseased, your brothers ravaged body comin’ over the walls is quite the mind job.

  • Blogball

    Another great list “thanks”.
    Number 8 reminds me of the end The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Anybody else remember that scene?
    When Quasimoto dumped molten lead on everybody. I’m pretty sure it was lead and not oil. Maybe the movie is what prompted the “Various sources”.

  • Mystern

    Slipstick: I agree about the evil god campaigns. I’m currently running an evil campaign and my players have undead ambitions. I’m glad to see that there is at least one other RPG Gamer on this site.

  • DRay

    I always knew Arbalests and Ballistas. Is there a difference?

  • Mystern

    DRay: No, not really. A Ballista is usually bigger and has a longer range. It is usually mounted on the ground as well.

    Arbalest

    vs

    Ballista

  • SocialButterfly

    Mystern: I don’t personally think you are a pompous ass, my comment was purely admiration. I to believe that it is a good thing to be well versed in many subjects but your capacity is intriguing… in short the comment was not meant meanly.

    Has someone called you a pompous ass??

  • Mystern

    SocialButterfly: Not on the site no. Though sometimes I feel I post too many comments. I love to put my word in. I figure Jamie will tell me to shut up if I get out of line. I realize you did not mean the comment as derogatory and I thank you for that. I’m not sure where I got my memory from but it really irritates some people. It’s not photographic, but my wife hates it when I repeat verbatim something she said two weeks ago. It also tends to give me a know-it-all appearance, which is the reason some people view me as an ass.

  • FelixMG

    JFrater: I enjoy your site very much. Recently a banner was added to the top of the page which advertises smileys. This banner is the single, most annoying, stress inducing abomination ever set forth upon mankind. The repeated ”Helloooo!” is the best way to keep people off of your page. I have no idea how much control you maintain over the content of the ads on your site, i don’t know how that stuff works, and do not wish to. All i know is before the recent changes, this banner was absent. I know that you run this site by yourself, and pour your money and heart into it, so it’s just sad that this miserable excuse for advertising is ruining it for a lot of people. Please do anything in your power to remove this horrible, horrible ad from your interesting and curious site, and keep up the good work.

  • Sidereus

    FelixMG: Firefox + Adblock = No ads

  • stevenh

    Idea for a list contest:
    100th comment get the weapon of choice ;)

  • FelixMG

    Wow. I’m speechless… thank you. If i could retract that comment, i would.

  • Sidereus

    Jfrater: The new site layout looks beautiful. As a web designer myself, I appreciate the smooth interface, harmonious colors, and fast loading time. Great work!

  • FelixMG: does the banner make noises? I thought I had disabled them all. Also, keep in mind that adblock = no money for listverse = no money to pay for servers = no listverse :)

  • SocialButterfly

    Mystern: I am always called a smart ass, so I have become a fan of replying “I’d rather be a smart ass than just an ass…”

    It always has two very different affects on people… You should try it.

  • Love the list! I’ve always been a fan of the morning star, the most badass thing there is IMO. I love how the list really utilizes the new layout, the extra pictures are a great treat. :)

    Sidereus: Tnanks for the tip, I just installed Adblock and I don’t know how I did without it so long. :)

  • SocialButterfly

    jfrater: I like stevenh’s idea… I would personall like the Hunga Munga just so I can tell people what it’s called… hehehe love that name, makes me laugh every time!

  • Mystern

    SocialButterfly: Lol. That’s awesome. I absolutely must try that.

  • Okay – there were some smiley audio ads still enabled – I have disabled them.

  • matelot

    damn those are nasty

  • Mystern

    Mom424: You’re too hard on yourself. I find you to be a very intelligent and fascinating person with far more experience than me.

  • Mom424

    Mystern; I am also old enough to realize that at LEAST 1/3 of the human race is smarter than me…you do realize that I am not too hard on myself because that must mean that I believe around 2/3s to be lacking…….

  • Mom424

    Sorry for the double post but I must add that the listverse viewers imho beat the odds of the general population…..

  • Mystern

    And to think I just happened to stumble across this site one day while I was bored. This is only the 2nd site I’ve ever felt the urge to comment on.

  • Mom424

    1st one for me….and we’ve had constant internet access since 1994.

  • Harsha

    Same here, I think half the ppl found this on stumbleupon..whee! now I’m hooked. I like the new layout, but I miss the centered feeling!
    I’ll be back for the 100th comment to claim my arbelest or maybe a trebuchet, anyone selling these on ebay or amazon?! ;)

  • Harsha: haha yes – you can get a mini trebuchet on Amazon – it is on our Top 10 Gifts for the Guy Who Has Everything :)

  • SocialButterfly

    Must agree with you there… This is the first and only website that I’ve felt to comment upon… Perhaps people who enjoy lists are generally smarter than the rest of the population :D

  • MM

    A morning star, also called a goededag- which is Dutch for ‘good day’. wonder why it’s called that; guess it wouldn’t be such a good day if one of those hit you over the head…
    but yeah, a great list, and now that i’ve gotten used to the new layout, i really love it!

  • Mom424

    SocialButterfly; Its just this particular list site. It credits readership with a modicum of intelligence and I don’t have to weed through 10 Biggest Titties on TV, or 10 Best Bukake videos…

  • yes. awesome

  • SlickWilly

    Hmmmm….”Top 10 Biggest Titties on TV.”

    I….I could get into that. I love titties, after all. Not as much as I love bukkake, of course, but they are a close second…and third.

    jfrater: paying attention? ;)

  • Angelina

    Dorothy Parker is badass!!! Oh wait, wrong list.

  • SubliminalDeath666

    SlickWilly: o_O

  • SubliminalDeath666

    Angelina: XD

  • Mom424: Just remember what George Carlin said.

    “Think about just how stupid your average person is… and then realize that half of them are stupider than that.”

  • Ooh – doing well on Reddit:

    http://reddit.com/info/67ur1/comments/

    Nearly at the front page!

  • Mikerodz

    We’re very lucky not to be living during those period. I promise not to complain no more.

  • Cedestra

    I was waiting for the morning star! I toured a museum that had them on display and remembered them from a decade ago. They had both the short, hand-held variety and the large, pole variety. They also had some very nice, dangerous looking halberds on display.

  • Ashley

    The dead bodies are way badass. Cool :)

  • Gravy

    We learned about most of those in World History. But I said “OOGA BOOGA” when I saw that Hunga Munga.

  • hgaratie

    I want a hunga munga!!! And just for the record I love buffy too! I have the whole DVD set!

  • The trebuchet is the atom bomb of its time!

  • Schiesl

    ok, you ahve to put the Mughal Battle Rockets that they used. They were amazing. its also what the english eventually adopted and used against america, hence the line “And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air” in the national anthem. But the mughal rockets had swords attached so that when they wobbled (before they hit the ground) it would be able to cause serious damage that way as well. It truly was a badass weapon

  • Schiesl

    actually i was corrected, the Rockets were used AGAINST the mughal empire by Tupu Sultan of a neighboring waring state. But either way, they are still awesome

  • Shagata Ganai

    Trebuchets were the “nuclear weapon” of the day. If you saw one of those bad boys coming down the road to your castle, you knew it was a matter of days, maybe just hours to surrender.

  • beanshide

    Great list, I love medieval stuff. Trebuchets are amazing, in Age of Empires they were really usefull…so they’re selling miiatures on amazon…hmmm

  • Any list involving a trebuchet and Ben Hur has my support :D

  • Jim

    What about the falchion ?
    Now there’s a handy tool :)

  • Pyrratus

    This list is missing the flail. Similar to the morning star but with a chain it adds a whole new dimension to combat.

  • Sweet list

  • jocsboss

    I used to be called a smart-ass. Now I mostly keep my mouth shut. Eventually people that get to know me find that I have a pretty well rounded knowledge base and then they ask me questions. If I don’t know the answer I say so. I rarely ever state anything as fact, even if I am pretty sure. I also rarely ever tell anybody that they are wrong, I usually say something to the effect that I was under a different impression, or that I thought …….. I find that life is too short to get into an argument with an idiot. Even if you do win, you’ve won nothing. It’s like playing games against preschool children.

    There is some pretty awesome shit on this list. Kinda too bad it was all designed for killing people.

  • Alextenn

    What a great list.

    I never knew that thing was called a “Hunga Munga”

  • riledupone

    Love the trebuchet. It is truly badass and is also useful in the present for hurling pianos, pumpkins whatever. And of course, for Mony Python fans, hurling cows. Prenez la vache!

  • sdggrant

    Good list, but have you ever seen the Roman Scorpion? Each legion had like two dozen or so of them and basically they were smaller sized ballistas. They shot a long iron arrow that could impale a few men at a time, combined with the QUICK reload time it was a truly deadly weapon.

    Here is a picture..
    http://www.michtoy.com/MTSCnewSite/figures_kits_folder/seil_models/sa54001.jpg

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  • sddgrant: wow – that looks great – a definitely number 11 for the list for sure!

  • corinthian0430

    Badass list!!!

    But why no mention of the Francesca or the infamous bearded axes?

    Those were badass weapons

    and me thinks that the gurkha kukri and the indian katar should be included as well

  • corinthian0430
  • Scott

    Along the lines of dead bodies, engineers used to use dead pigs to blow up castle walls. They’d mine under the wall, load up the tunnel with dead pigs and let the resultant methane gas do the rest.

    The list is great. I probably would have included elephants and/or claymores, but to each their own.

  • Arisma

    Very interesting lists. I’m such a sucker for melee weapons that I wish there were more included here, but in terms of ‘badass’ then you really do need to go for the heavy projectiles eventually.

    Mystern- Directions, please? I’ll bring the Dew.

  • Mystern

    Arisma: Hey, anytime you happen to be in Salt Lake City on a Saturday or Sunday feel free to stop by. Sunday mornings I make breakfast for everyone.

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  • Vodie

    Many images of Monty Python and the Holy Grail came up in my head with your description of how valuable a trebuchet is.

    I laffed heartily at the alternative uses for the Morning Star. BUTTSCRATCHER!

  • DiscHuker

    badass weapons? what about a pair of pliers and a blowtorch? and somebody getting medieval?

  • DiscHuker

    i think i would have some “biological warefare” if someone charged me with one of these weapons. i might poop my pants. that might keep them at arms distance

  • swampsnake

    i didnt see the yo yo mentioned here ….maybe a new list idea badass weapons that are now toys

  • Tomo

    I think we now need to see a list of modern day badass weapons. And we may need a list of more than 20 for that.

  • spiralhead

    Pretty cool list! The only thing is I think the arbalest could be replaced with the Chu Ko Nu, or the Manchurian Repeating Crossbow. I mean, come on! 10 bolts in 15 sec? BADASS.

  • candid

    Another interesting fact about the “greek fire” ,which i’d read in an encyclopedia at school, is that it could not be doused with water; rather it burnt more fiercely! That’s the unique thing that modern scientists have failed to replicate.
    Great list.. keep up the ‘badass’ work.

  • Weapons Rock

    The Flail (or ball and chain) should definately have been included as one of the top 10 badass weapons. I don’t have the mental capacity to figure out the kind of force you can hit someone with using a flail, but its huge.

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  • Fruckert

    le hunga munga is evil looking…
    i shall ask someone that i know of to put it in their game

  • James Brian Hepburn

    WHAT!!! No scottish caveman clubs??? They were soo cool.

  • I was about to comment on Havok using the Morning Star when I saw that you had already added it! Doesn’t he have that weapon in Armaggedon?

  • kool

    flails are probably the best ancient weapon of all time because its like impossible to block just throwing it out there

  • corinthian0430

    C’mon jaime… come up with part II of this list =^_^=

  • Ouchmaker

    “Culverins were medieval guns. These were often used by horsemen in a medieval kind of drive-by shooting.”

    The first of many funny sentences on the list. And a great list at that, specially when there are many variations and methods used back then.

    As for the Morningstar issue, I always considered Morningstar as an addition to a weapon. Whether it was a mace, or a flail, or a spear, a Morningstar meant more piercing damage, usually in the form of additional spikes.

  • Nick

    You said sulfer twice in the Greek fire article

  • _____V_____

    repeating crossbows are badass too…..
    (they were invented in china and could fire up to five poison tipped bolts in rapid succession)

  • megamank

    The idea of medieval firearms being used from horseback is based on a single illustration from the renaissance. Its very doubtful that they were ever used in the way, due to inherent difficulties in use.

    Chinese Chu Ko Nu should be on there, the semi-automatic crossbow!

  • Person666

    Actually a trebuchet is nothing like a catapult. A catapult is a torsion weapon, while the trebuchet is a counter-weight weapon. The catapult would use twisted sinews to provide power. The trebuchet would use a large counter-weight to fling loads farther.

  • Be-dev
  • Ashar

    HOW ARE DEAD BODIES BADASS?

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  • Higgs

    Franciscas were the shit

  • Rennix

    What about katars?

  • Matty

    Mystern – gotta love those four-day weekends, eh?

    And I personally think shuriken (throwing stars) are pretty badass, though they probably required extensive practice

  • ?????????

    What about the phalanx…they were one of the most deadliest weapons of the antic world..Alexander with 40.000 of those has occupy the 90% of the known world in that time.And Alexander with his phalanx he beat the Scythed Chariots of Darius III(Persian emperor)…

  • BOB123

    u can get these things called knee cappers in the game Saints Row 2 and they are kinda like the scythed chariots.

    you buy a quad or motorcycle and then u can make it so these big blades shoot out from your wheels and u just drive through sidewalks and stuff haha its some pretty sick shit actually :)

  • BranMan

    here’s somemore
    samuri swords
    The Hidden Blade
    Bow & arrow

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  • Gotbored

    Well there all pretty badass but i think being crushed in heavy armor with a war hammer would be a pretty bad thing to happen i mean u could be alive and not be able to get it off without a blacksmith hitting u some more

  • Blabla

    what about yoyos?

  • SunnySide

    and what about ballista? its a seige weapon version of crossbows whose not only the bolts but also the splinters from the impact caused damage. There is also a model of ballista that is mounted on a horse-drawn carts.

  • ArLiam

    Sorry history proved all chariots, even the scythed version, had too many drawbacks to be effective weapons. They had little shock value, they depended on even terrain, they were vulnerable to cavalry and missile fire (slings and arrows).
    By the 7th centiury CE, the only nations still using them were the Hindu kingdoms in little, set piece wars of little import that involved small decisions,few casuallties, and small gains in territory usually returned in a subsequent war.
    When the armies of Islam stormed across the desert of Sind in the 8th century (CE) they quickly showed how vulnerable were the chariot forces of the hindu armies.
    Replace chariot with stirrup. Stirrups allow archery from horseback and enable the lance as a weapon.

  • sad muso

    On a scale of 1 to LOL, this gets a MEGALOL!

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  • patrick

    how about using the trebuchet and dead bodies together? talk about psychological warfare.

    on another note i dont think the flail should be up here. yes its badass but wouldn’t the morning star would be more effective because it’s one solid unit where the flail is a handle and ball connected by a chain? the only advantage i see is possibly using the chain to disarm the opponent

    one last thing. what about the pata?
    http://www.oriental-arms.co.il/photos/items/27/002127/ph-0.jpg
    a gauntlet with a sword attached. thats pretty badass

  • tom

    I think the best weapon out there is flaming farts.Along with flaming terds. After that acid piss.

  • Noinformation

    I would say that the Japanese Katana is probably the best of all ancient weapons. The reason for this is that it caused all sorts of armour to become useless since it proved that it had the ability to cut through solid steel. It wasn't the most brutal, but it was by far the most effective.

  • aMs

    Crowbars FTW!!!

  • Jaimon

    The description of Greek Fire is inaccurate. Greek Fire was a type of fire that burned on water. Thus, the description is incomplete and the Chinese comparison is flat wrong.

  • Crosby627

    Apparently the Chinese are trend setters when it comes to weapons.

  • vickiezlarsen

    Name

  • Disciple Five

    Go to YouTube and type in Assassin’s Creed: Lineage (make sure it’s the full video, about 36 minutes long) and check out the weapon at 9:30. Figure out its name and put it on the list!

  • poo

    poo

  • Aronthehun

    Great list man! I was particularly fascinated by numbers 1 and 6. If I may add one more, the composite recurve bow used by the Huns, Mongols, Magyars, Avars etc. (although not unusual) is a very deadly weapon indeed. An experienced user can fire up to seven arrows in nine seconds (all on target), and this makes it sort of like a medieval bolt action rifle. And if you think that’s badass, imagine thousands of these trained archers on horses, raining death down upon the enemy and then galloping out of reach.

  • manicsuggestion

    The scythed chariot is truly badass- the one that Da Vinci designed was once commented upon as “an abomination that must never be built, for it mows down upon both man and beast, friend or foe alike”

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