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Sketch of Medieval shield and throwing darts. Source: YouTube Screenshot / Tod’s Workshop.

Strange Medieval Weapons: Throwing Darts (Video)


In this fascinating exploration of unconventional medieval weaponry, we delve into a unique find: a shield adorned with throwing darts. These weapons, as Tod from YouTube’s Tod's Workshop and Matt Easton from Schola Gladiatoria discuss, present an intriguing historical mystery. This shield, designed to house five throwing darts on its inner side, is a rarity in the medieval period. It was inspired by a manuscript from 1433, " De ingeneis and De machinis,” attributed to Mariano Taccola. The darts themselves, resembling giant arrows, are a departure from the norm, with finger loops for throwing efficiency. While the purpose of these shield-mounted darts remains speculative, they likely served various roles, from disrupting cavalry charges to engaging in skirmishes. Their design, featuring broadheads that hint at their use against soft targets rather than armored foes, suggests their intended function.

The discussion also touches upon the importance of the leather thong attached to the darts, which significantly influences their throwing distance. This simple addition proves cost-effective and adaptable in different combat scenarios. Overall, Mariano Taccola's invention presents an intriguing addition to medieval weaponry, challenging our understanding of historical combat tactics. The shield-mounted darts offer a glimpse into a bygone era's creativity and adaptability in the face of evolving warfare strategies.

Top image: Sketch of Medieval shield and throwing darts. Source: YouTube Screenshot / Tod’s Workshop.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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