Selection of Medieval Iron Caltrops


A selection of Medieval iron caltrops, an area denial weapon, each featuring four nails finished with a sharp triangular point. The configuration of the caltrop meant that no matter how they were thrown, they would always land on three of its spikes, with a dangerous fourth spike in the air. The intention of this design was used for slowing down cavalry, chariots and foot soldiers. Each features patination, earthly encrustation and some small chips to the ends.

Priced Individually. Please note this is a general lot and individual selection is not available.

Date: Circa 14th – 16th Century AD
Provenance: Acquired 1990s - early 2000s East Anglian private collection
Condition: Very fine condition, each feature patination and encrustation.

In stock

SKU: SM-32 Category: Tag:

The word Caltrop is derived from the old English alcatrippe (heel-trap), but the weapon dates back to ancient times when they were used by Alexander the Great and by the Ancient Romans were they used in the Battle of Carrhae in 53BC. The weapon is classed as an area denial weapon and used to prevent passage of an adversary and often acted as a passive fortification tactic. The weapon was often thrown into battlegrounds and served to slow the advancement of troops, horses and chariots and was one of the most commonly used medieval weapons. A handful of caltrops would be placed over a small area where advancing armies were expected to travel. Since they were small, enemies were unable to detect their presence until the damage had already been done, thus serving as a useful defence.

Caltrops were popular during the Medieval period because they were small, cheap and easy to produce. The popularity of caltrops continued through the Medieval era and into the modern day. Caltrops were used during both World War I and II, and variants have been produced within today’s special forces and law enforcement bodies, to deflate vehicle tires.

Weight 13 g
Dimensions L 5.5 x W 5.5 cm



Reference: For a similar item, The British Musuem, item OA.4812

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