Steel is a substantially better metal for weapons and armor. It is significantly harder than iron yet it has a certain amount of flexibility and spring back when it is stressed. This spring back makes it much more resilient and durable under use. Steel is simply iron that has carbon added to it during the forging process. This carbon is often in the form of charcoal. And this art of making steel requires a significant amount of skill because the right amount of carbon has to be added and the steel has to be quenched and tempered correctly. (Quenching and tempering is the process of heating with fire and cooling with water). Steel brings weapons to new heights because it can be used to make longer, more durable weapons, and it can hold an edge extremely well, even on just one side. One big aspect of steel in combat is the affect it has on the speed of the fight. Weapons that are lighter and stronger means combatants can move much quicker. This was an important aspect of the arms race.
The effectiveness of the Lantern Shield in real combat is questionable but in the context of walking around a dangerous city at night it does warrant some interesting conclusions. First off, it was probably very ominous looking and any would be robber was probably inclined to just move on to the next victim. And if a combative situation arose the whole contraption was probably reasonably effective at staving off injury much in the same way as a porcupine does! The addition of the lantern was also a strong deterrent against attack because any nighttime robber would just avoid the illumination and exposure. So as a real weapon it was probably not very good but as a deterrent it was probably reasonably effective. Any robber or ruffian seeing someone carrying this thing would probably just move on to the next victim.
T he Castles of Wales Website is non-profit, educational resource created, written and maintained by Jeffrey L. Thomas . There are no fees charged for the information provided, however all text and photographs are copyrighted © by the Castles of Wales web site and/or their respective authors and contributors, with all rights reserved. You may follow this link to view a list of other principal contributors, or this link to view comments from other organizations regarding this project. Home | Main Menu | Castle Index | Historical Essays | Related Essays | What's New | Links | Contact