Aztec Spear

I’ve always been interesting on ancient history and the Machiavellian intrigues they got up to. Who would have thought our ancestors were so vindictive and so vicious? Although I am very happy, human kind has managed to drum a little of the viciousness out of our souls, it’s not really surprising we are such a blood thirsty species when you look at the Aztecs.

The Aztecs! Really noble civilization if you could get around their nasty practice of human sacrifices! But to tell you the truth that’s what attracted me to them in the first place. Ever imagine how the Aztecs warriors were so powerful? Because of their wonderful weaponry! With these wonderful innovations the Aztecs were able to conquer a large part of the ancient world and gather them to their rule. They then proceeded to terrify the subordinates by ripping hearts out of living humans but that’s another story. One of the most innovative of all Aztec weapons was the Aztec spear. These spears have still survived to the day and you can gawk at the few good ones in some prestigious museum till today.

Atlatl - Aztec Spear

The spears were so famous all over the ancient world because of the special system that allowed the warriors to throw the spears for 100 meters and made them penetrate armors. The name of the throwing system was the atlatl. The atlatl was an important part of the Aztec warfare system and most Aztec children and warriors were trained to use these with deadly force.

So what exactly is an atlatl? It is a tool that uses leverage to help the warrior throw spears with much greater speed. You can picture it like some kind of sling that has a handle and a cup where you put the end of the spear.

Aztec spear throwing device
Aztec spear throwing device - atlatl

These Aztec weapons were the primary weapons used during Aztec warfare and they helped the warriors win many a war with them. In fact it was also feared by the conquering conquistadors who wore heavy armor to protect themselves.

The atlatl made the Aztec warriors highly feared as with the atlatl they were able to gain a much superior velocity to their thrown spears. This made the spear move with a much much faster rate and penetrative power as compared to when being thrown with the hand alone. These Aztec weapons usually consisted of a shaft and a hook. The foot of the spear was within the shaft of the atlatl. While using the atlatl, the thrown spear was able to move over a hundred meters and penetrate metal too. These amazing Aztec weapons easily penetrated the Spanish metal armor pining invading soldiers to the ground.

Later Improvements Of The Aztec Spear

Infact the design was so popular that the Aztec warriors continued to improve the design for a few years after wards with additions to the atlatl like thong loops to accommodate the fingers, the use of supple shafts to provide balance, counter weights made of stone to balance out the throw, as well as thinner, highly elastic darts instead of spears for added penetration. The darts looked like thin spears and penetrated more than 100 meters due to the reduced weight of the shaft.

In fact the Aztecs were also credited with using silencers for the atlatl! Yes, that’s right! They designed special stones called as ‘bannerstones’ to reduce the whirling sound of the Aztec spear so that the sound would not be heard out over long distances. This proved very effective for hunting animals and was terrifically ingenious design.