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Encyclopedia > Flail (weapon)
Flail
Flail

The flail is a medieval weapon made of one (or more) weights attached to a handle with a hinge or chain. There is some disagreement over the names for this weapon; the terms "morning star," and even "mace" are variously applied, though these are used to describe other weapons, which are very different in usage from a weapon with a hinge or chain, commonly used in Europe from the 13th century to the 15th century. In construction, the "morning star" and flail have similar, if not identical, spiked heads. Thus, "morning star" is an acceptable name for this weapon, especially as the name "flail" is also used to describe a style of whip used for punishment; flagellation. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (960x1280, 230 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Flail (weapon) User talk:AmiDaniel/VP/Discuss/Archive/2006/July Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (960x1280, 230 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Flail (weapon) User talk:AmiDaniel/VP/Discuss/Archive/2006/July Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added... Look up chain in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Morning star at the torture museum in Freiburg im Breisgau. ... An advance on the club, a mace is a strong, heavy wooden, metal-reinforced, or metal shaft, with a head made of stone, copper, bronze, iron or steel. ... (12th century - 13th century - 14th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 13th century was that century which lasted from 1201 to 1300. ... (14th century - 15th century - 16th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 15th century was that century which lasted from 1401 to 1500. ... Morning star at the torture museum in Freiburg im Breisgau. ... Morning star at the torture museum in Freiburg im Breisgau. ... A flail is an agricultural tool used for threshing, separating grains from their husks, or a similarly constructed weapon or punishing implement. ... And distinguish from wip and WIP. A type of whip known as a riding crop The word whip describes two basic types of tools: A long stick-like device, usually slightly flexible, with a small bit of leather or cord, called a popper, on the end. ... Whipping on a post Flagellation is the act of whipping (Latin flagellum, whip) the human body. ...


The term "morning star" actually refers to the head of a weapon (the small round spiked ball) and can be used for either a morning star mace (on a shaft) or flail (if on a chain). Flails also sometimes had blunt round heads or flanges like a mace. Some written records point to small rings attached to chains on a flail used to inflict greater damage, but no historical examples are known to exist.[citation needed]


History

The martial flail began as a variant of the normal agricultural flail. The term "flail" was given first to a farming implement used to separate wheat from chaff. This was normally a block of wood attached to a handle with either leather or rope. It was probably farmers called up for military service or peasant rebels who discovered its usefulness as a weapon. A few added spikes made the flail even more dangerous. The Hussites fielded large numbers of peasant soldiers with flails. An example of a grain flail A flail is an agricultural tool used for threshing, to separate grains from their husks. ... Farming, ploughing rice paddy, in Indonesia Agriculture is the process of producing food, feed, fiber and other desired products by cultivation of certain plants and the raising of domesticated animals (livestock). ... Species T. aestivum T. boeoticum T. compactum T. dicoccoides T. dicoccon T. durum T. monococcum T. spelta T. sphaerococcum T. timopheevii References:   ITIS 42236 2002-09-22 For the indie rock group see: Wheat (band). ... Chaff is the seed casings and other inedible plant matter harvested with cereal grains such as wheat. ... Modern leather-working tools Leather is a material created through the tanning of hides and skins of animals, primarily cattlehide. ... Coils of rope used for long-line fishing A rope (IPA: ) is a length of fibers, twisted or braided together to improve strength for pulling and connecting. ... The Hussites comprised an early Protestant Christian movement, followers of Jan Hus. ...


Later, special military flails were made, such as the iconic short stick with the chain and spiked metal ball. A mace and chain is a type of infantry weapon, most commonly used during the medieval ages. It consists of a mace (the spherical metal ball with spikes protruding out of it), only with the handle replaced by a chain, which itself connects to a shorter handle. Soldiers using a mace and chain grasped this short handle with either one or two hands, and swung the weapon at the enemy in battle. Soldiers could swing the mace in a circle to gain momentum, before releasing it on the enemy. This would inflict the maximum damage possible on an enemy. Infantry of the Royal Irish Rifles during the Battle of the Somme in World War I. Infantry are soldiers who fight primarily on foot with small arms in organized military units, though they may be transported to the battlefield by horses, ships, automobiles, skis, bicycles, or other means. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and Modern Times. ...


Other characteristics of the flail

  • Unlike a sword or mace, it doesn't transfer vibrations from the impact to the wielder.
  • It is difficult to block with a shield or parry with a weapon because it can curve over and round impediments and still strike the target.
  • It provides defense whilst in motion.
  • The flail needs space to swing and can easily endanger the wielder's comrades.
  • Controlling the flail is much more difficult than rigid weapons.

Variations

A variation of the flail is called a chain mace. It is composed of a long chain usually wrapped in leather or another protective material, and has a steel ball at the end of the chain[citation needed]. Another variation is a handle with several chains attached to it rather than one, but none of these chains have a spiked metal ball at their ends.[citation needed]


The flail was not just a European weapon. Examples existed in India and many other countries. In southeast Asia, lighter flail weapons such as the nunchaku or sansetsukon were more common. The nunchaku (Chinese: 雙節棍, shuāng jié gùn; 兩節棍, liÇŽng jié gùn Dual Section Staff; 二節棍, èr jié gùn Two Section Staff; Japanese: ヌンチャク nunchaku  ; 梢子棍, shōshikon Boatmans staff; 双節棍, sōsetsukon Paired sections staff; 二節棍, nisetsukon Two section staff, also sometimes called nunchucks, numchuks, or chain sticks in English) is... Three sectional staff The Sansetsukon or three sectional staff(三節棍 , sān jié gùn), is a Chinese flail weapon that consists of three wooden or metal staffs connected by metal rings or rope. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
flail - definition of flail in Encyclopedia (390 words)
For example, flails used by farmers in Quebec to process wheat were generally made from two pieces of wood, the handle being about 1.5m long by 3cm in diameter, and the second stick being about 1m long by about 3cm in diameter, with a slight taper towards the end.
Flails have generally fallen into disuse in many nations because of the availability of technologies such as combine harvesters that require much less manual labour.
As with most agricultural tools, flails were often used as weapons by farmers (for lack of a better weapon); for example, the French revolution was mostly fought with agricultural tools.
Other Medieval Weapons Terminology - Spears, Axes, Lances, Maces, Halberds (1468 words)
Flail - a jointed weapon consisting of a spiked, flanged or knobbed steel bludgeon joined by a chain to a short wood or steel haft.
Longbows were the preferred weapon of the English after the middle 14th century, Edward III recognizing the power of massed artillery (archers) used in combination with dismounted cavalry and infantry.
Although a simple, “commoner” weapon, the staff was truly fearsome in the hands of a master, so much so, that Silver felt it was superior to any form of sword, used alone, or with a buckler or dagger.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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