A mace is a simple weapon—or, alternatively, a ceremonial Club or virge—that uses a heavy head on the end of a handle to deliver powerful blows. A development of the Club, the military mace differs from a hammer in that the head of a mace is radially symmetric so that a blow can be delivered just as effectively with any side of the head. A mace consists of a strong, heavy, wooden or metal shaft, often reinforced with metal, featuring a head made of stone, copper, bronze, iron, or steel. The head of a military mace can be shaped with flanges or knobs to allow greater penetration of plate armor. The length of maces can vary considerably. The maces of foot soldiers were usually quite short (two or three feet, or 70 to 90 cm). The maces of cavalrymen were longer and thus better suited for blows delivered from horseback. Two-handed maces could be even larger. The terms Flail and mace are often, though incorrectly, used interchangeably.


The mace was used to deliver crushing, blunt force blows, As such, it was swung with the intent to crush the opponent like a cracker. The mace came into wider useage after the development of plate armor, when thrusting weapons became ineffectual. Its blunt-force nature allowed it to cause damage even to a plate-armored foe.