Spear Vs Lance

Throughout history, weapons have played a crucial role in warfare. From swords to axes, weapons have evolved over time to meet the changing demands of combat. In particular, two weapons have been vital in military battles, the spear and the lance.

While both weapons belong to the pole-arm family, they differ in various ways, including their origin, design, use, and effectiveness. In this article, we will explore the differences between the spear and the lance and compare them.


The spear is one of the oldest weapons used in human history, dating back to 400,000 BC. The spear is a long-range weapon used for thrusting or throwing. The shaft of the spear is usually made from sturdy wood, and the tip is made from metal, bone or flint.

The spear is commonly used as a weapon in hunting and warfare, and it has been used effectively by many civilizations, including the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. In warfare, the spear’s piercing power, reach, and versatility made it a weapon of choice for infantry.

The spear’s most significant advantage is its versatility. It can be used for thrusting, throwing, and even as a polearm. A skilled user of the spear can attack from a distance and keep his opponent at bay. Additionally, the spear’s simplicity makes it easier to produce, maintain, and use, making it an accessible weapon in many cultures.


The lance, on the other hand, originated in medieval Europe, specifically during the Middle Ages. It was used by knights in the cavalry and was crucial in jousting tournaments, where two knights rode towards each other and tried to unseat each other with their lances.

The lance is a long pole with a pointed head made from metal, and it is meant to be used while riding a horse. It is a powerful weapon that can penetrate armor and deal significant damage. The lance’s length and weight made it exceptionally effective in cavalry charges, where knights would charge towards the enemy lines at high speed.

Another critical feature of the lance is its ability to transfer the rider’s momentum to the weapon. This means that a rider’s weight and speed were transferred into the lance, making the impact on the enemy more powerful.

Spear Vs. Lance

Both the spear and the lance are polearms, but they differ in several ways. Here is a comparison of the two weapons:

Design: The spear is designed for thrusting and throwing and has a sharp pointy tip. In contrast, the lance is designed for piercing and has a longer shaft and heavier head.

Use: The spear is a versatile weapon that can be used for thrusting, throwing, and as a polearm. On the other hand, the lance is meant to be used while riding a horse and is most effective in cavalry charges.

Effectiveness: The spear’s piercing power and reach make it effective in combat, but it requires a skilled user to use it effectively. The lance’s power and momentum make it incredibly effective in cavalry charges, but it is less versatile than the spear.

Production: Spears are easier to produce, maintain and use, making them more accessible to cultures than the lance.


Q: Which weapon is better, the spear or the lance?

A: The answer to this question depends on the situation. The spear is a versatile weapon that can be used in various combat situations, while the lance is most effective in cavalry charges. It is ultimately a matter of personal preference and expertise.

Q: Can the spear be used for jousting?

A: No, the spear is not designed for jousting, which is a highly specialized sport that requires a specific type of lance.

Q: Are there any disadvantages to using a lance?

A: Yes, the lance requires a horse to be effective, which means that it is not suitable for infantry. Additionally, it is a single-use weapon, and once it is broken or lost, it cannot be replaced without dismounting.


Both the spear and the lance are remarkable weapons with a rich history. While they share some similarities, they also differ in many ways, including their design, use, and effectiveness. Ultimately, both the spear and the lance have played important roles in warfare, and their contributions to military history should be acknowledged and appreciated.