- The word mace has several meanings, each of them listed separately below.
A variety of mace called the morning star had its spiked metal ball suspended from a chain attached to the handle, rather than being directly mounted.
Medieval bishops carried maces in battle (Odo of Bayeux appears on the Bayeux tapestry wielding one) instead of swords, so as to conform to the canonical rule which forbade priests to shed blood. Maces could kill without drawing blood.
A ceremonial mace can represent authority and prestige, as in the House of Commons in a Westminster System parliament. Processions often feature such maces: either on parliamentary or in formal university occasions. The ecclesiastical equivalent of the mace-bearer, the dodsman, appears in church contexts. Many modern ceremonial maces, such as those used by university chancellors, have been so reduced from a fearsome weapon that they more resemble the large pepper grinders such as are used by serving staff in restaurants.