The lance is a pole weapon based on the pattern of the spear but adapted for mounted combat. The lance is perhaps most known as one of the foremost weapons used by european knights, but the use of lances were spread throughout the old world wherever mounts were available.
In Europe, lances for jousting were much different from the weapons used in war. In jousting lances, the tips would be blunt and the center of the lance could be designed to be hollow, in order for it to break on impact. In war, lances were much more like ordinary spears, long and balanced for one handed use.
A lance is also the name given by some paleontologists to the light flexible spears thrown by spear throwers.