The beginning of the Carolingian era is marked with the coronation of Charlemagne (Charles the Great) by Pope Leo III at Christmas of 800 AD. The division in 843 AD contributed to the Carolingian Empire as the predecessor of the later kingdoms of France and the Holy Roman Empire (Germany).
Heavily influenced by the Roman Empire, the Franks weaponry resembled strongly that of the designs of their Italian neighbors. Some changes were made however, as the Franks were a civilization strongly affected by the horse.
By the 4th century, the Frankish sword still resembled the build of the Roman style, but with a strong influence of horses, the sword became a longer weapon, roughly 37 to 41 inches in length, with the larger weapons more commonly used on foot and with two hands. The hilt also began to take on a more prominent role as they began to spread wider than the blade, offering more hand protection.
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Also changed by the influence of horses, Spears used by the Franks were made longer, the shortest being around 7 ft and the longest reaching to 10ft, both which would be used mainly as early lances, but were still capable of being substituted for foot combat as well.
Not so much a Roman influence, Frankish shields were more influenced by the Anglo-Saxon and Viking round shields, with the gradual change into kite shields developed from their Norman neighbors.
The Franks embraced the love for the axe that their bordering Norsemen were such fans of, and tended to favour the bearded and two handed battle axes.
The later years of the Frankish control of Western Europe, the Carolingian Empire continued the Frankish attachment to horses and mounted warfare.
The Carolingian swords maintained their Frankish origins with longer blades, with two common swords; the first being the Sax, and the second was the Longsword.
The Sax was not a very long blade, measuring roughly 26 to 31 inches, a shorter blade that eventually becomes obsolete by the early 9th century. The Longsword, true to its name, measured between 36-41 inches with an increased emphasis on the hilt for protection as swords were no longer paired up with shields, and would be wielded alone on occasion.
As a common and popular weapon (still), texts suggest the Franks primarily used the spear for thrusting and stabbing, from horse back or afoot, rather than throwing them. Range was more relied on by the bow, which most mounted horsemen would carry along with their spear/lance and shield combination.
As exciting as can be expected, Carolingian shields did not alter much, mostly maintaining the circular design of the Frankish and Anglo-Saxon look, with some touches on oval and kite shield designs borrowed from the Normans.
No remains of Carolingian bows have actually been discovered, and texts often omitted any mention of their use, most likely due to their common use and cheap to make. Bows found close to that time, however, do suggest the Carolingian bow to have a D shape to its construction, similar to the Frankish design (surprise).
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