6

Many games and stories that draw upon medieval history tend to claim that priests use maces because they do not spill blood.

Wikipedia provides a citation for this on the Mace page, as does the page on the Cleric class (uncited):

It is popularly believed that maces were employed by the clergy in warfare to avoid shedding blood 2 (sine effusione sanguinis). The evidence for this is sparse and appears to derive almost entirely from the depiction of Bishop Odo of Bayeux wielding a club-like mace at the Battle of Hastings in the Bayeux Tapestry, the idea being that he did so to avoid either shedding blood or bearing the arms of war.

Is it true that priests or other members of the clergy used maces and other blunt weapons in combat, as opposed to edged weapons, for this specific reason?

16
  • 2
    @Ebenezer - this is a pretty notable claim (among the sources, widely known Hardcore History podcast by Dan Carlin). The question is, is this justification historically based (e.g. there are historical sources quoting this as a reason) or made up.
    – user5341
    Dec 25, 2014 at 15:17
  • I don't think there's a notable claim here, but if there is, this question is unclear (which priests, when...). Clearly priests did not use weapons in general
    – Sklivvz
    Dec 25, 2014 at 15:17
  • 1
    Better but not enough yet to answer. The missing bit of information is: which priests are believed to have done so and when? Templars? Franciscan monks? Spanish inquisition? The pope? In 800? 1000? 1300? In which country China? Africa? Otherwise it's trivially false to find a counterexample and finding one positive example does not answer the question.
    – Sklivvz
    Dec 25, 2014 at 15:27
  • 1
    @MarchHo you can find a counterexample right in the quoted wikipedia passage. You seem to be mostly interested in the origin and history of "sine effusione sanguinis" -- I think History is appropriate to ask about it, not here. We need a specific enough claim in order to be able to answer on this site, instead. But I can't honestly understand what you are skeptical about exactly.
    – Sklivvz
    Dec 25, 2014 at 15:37
  • 1
    Sanity check: doesn't getting hit with blunt weapons still make you bleed? Jan 19, 2017 at 18:21

0

Browse other questions tagged .