All posts by jwynn2020

Twin Hooks
twin hooks

The twin hooks are a hooked sword pair used by the Shaolin monks of China. The twin hooks were wielded with incredible speed and accuracy, made even deadlier by the intense training of the monks. Every inch of these weapons were deadly: the hooks to pull away shields and slice enemies, the backs of the blades to slice as a normal sword, the crescent blades on the hilt to punch and slice, and even the spike on the bottom of the hilt for stabbing.

twin hooks
twin hooks

some might ask why Shaolin monks, who are peaceful by nature, create weapons? self-defense is the answer. The monks were constantly harassed by bandits seeking to steal what little riches the monks possessed. In order to prevent this, the monks put as much time into creating weapons and training with them as they did their study of Buddhism. This dedication to creating perfect weapons to match their legendary physical ability and agility, lead to the creation of many incredibly efficient tools of death, foremost the twin hooks.

The twin hooks were wielded with incredible technique, speed, and accuracy. The hook on the front of the blade was used to wrench weapons and shields from enemy  hands and also to slice through limbs. The both sides of the blade were edged, the backside being used as a normal sword. The crescent-shaped blades on the hilt served as a guard for blocking incoming blows and also to punch or slice an attacker. The blades could be flipped around yielding the dagger like blades on the bottom of the hilt to stab an enemy with. One of the most fearsome techniques was to hook the to blades together by the hooks and swing one with the other, thereby doubling their range. The would be swung over head to create a 360 degree ring of death, preventing an attacker from getting close enough to strike. These steel twin hooks protected the Shaolin monks and dealt death to hundreds of would-be bandits.

This video is a must-see demonstration of the twin hooks on the greatest TV show ever: Deadliest Warrior




The Ballista

The ballista was an ancient equivalent of a mounted machine gun: it was stationary, accurate, fast, and deadly. very VERY deadly. It was created in ancient Rome but first became common under the rule of Alexander of Macedon and again later by Julius Caesar. The ballista was basically a large mounted crossbow (crossbows hadn’t been invented).

A set of the smaller dart-like bolts

Before the ballista, the bow was the main long ranged weapon which is why the ballista is very similar to one. The ballista has many advantages over the bow such as its range. Unlike the bow which was all one piece, the ballista has two separate arms powered by twisted rope torsion coils. These coils gave the ballista much more power and therefore range than a bow. This increase in power also enabled much larger projectiles. It fired bolts (spear-like arrows), either shorter dart like bolts for accuracy or larger spear like bolts (several feet in length and several inches in diameter) for destruction. The tips of the bolts were often dipped in a flammable substance and lit just before firing for a devastating napalm effect. This large ammunition allowed the ballista to cause much greater damage with accuracy than any long-range weapon before it.

The ballista had an incredible range for the time period. It was able to kill soldiers up to 500 yards away, that’s five football fields away. It was also very accurate, ballista operators were recorded picking off individual soldiers one to two hundred yards away. At greater lengths though, it was more effective against groups of soldiers such as a charging army. a pair of ballista operators could fire three to four bolts a minute enabling them to fire repeatedly on an approaching army. there would dozens of ballista placed at the edge of the battle field firing over their allies into the oncoming enemy. With the Ballistae(plural of ballistae) and bowmen firing simultaneously, the Romans would create a cloud of arrows large enough to block out the sun, bringing an abrupt stop to their enemy’s charge.

the effect of a volley of hundreds of arrows
The effect of a single volley of hundreds of arrows (also a sad scene in the movie 300)


Hi I’m Alex. I greatly enjoy history, especially the history of war. I also am a weapons fanatic, so when you combine my two favorite things, you get historical weapons. And that is how i decided what this blog will be about: historical weapons. The most interesting historical weapons to me are the mid evil age weaponry because war involved much more hand-to-hand fighting then later eras. In this blog i will be reviewing ancient weapons: how they were used, they’re strengths and weaknesses, and who used them.