There are many questions that ask about how medieval combat would work in one situation or another. What I am looking for are some books that document how medieval combat works, so I can learn more about it and incorporate it into my writing. What are some books that do this?

Note: any book that covers any major aspect of medieval combat will be on topic as an answer. Also, any size of engagement counts as medieval combat.

  • $\begingroup$ This unfortunately isn't worldbuilding. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Jun 4, 2021 at 18:25
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Trioxidane Well, actually it is in the regard of the end goal, found some things on meta that tend to say it's on-topic. It's with little votes though, so it's not really assertive... Still, if what you're saying is true, I wonder why do we still have a worldbuilding-resources tag? $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Jun 4, 2021 at 18:46
  • $\begingroup$ Hmmm... If I had to choose a reason to close it, I wouldn't say it's off-topic, but more as opinion-based. It's -as of now- more about asking a specific book, than the way to find it. And, uh, well... There's a lot of fighting treaties written for a lot of different contexts (centuries and location-wise), so we're lacking a way to choose a definitive "best" answer :/ $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Jun 4, 2021 at 18:50
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    $\begingroup$ What does the phrase "medieval combat" mean? War fighting, or two people fighting each other? Both are interesting, but there is very little overlap between them. (And both are vast subjects. Remember that the Middle Ages spans a thousand years and covers many very different countries and cultures. The 1014 Battle of Kleidion and the 1066 Battle of Hastings were fought one in modern Bulgaria, one in England; both were very important decisive battles; but they were fought in different ways, by armies with different structures, different equipment and different doctrines.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jun 4, 2021 at 18:52
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP either would work, I’ll edit the question. $\endgroup$ Jun 4, 2021 at 19:07

1 Answer 1


The Historical European Martial Arts Project has a huge list of contemporary combat manuscripts and books available for free on their website. Many different time periods and types of weapons are mentioned. Some of them are complete but some are just fragments.

Unfortunately reading these can be very hard going. It seems there is a lot of context is assumed of the reader. After all these works were not written for people hundreds of years in the future.

On the other hand there are a lot of Youtube channels at the moment that talk about HEMA often with reference to particular treatises. For example if you are interested in the differences between warhammers and maces there might just be a video on that topic. Then hopefully it refers to a relevant treatise, while also giving some context to make reading it easier.


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