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HAFTED WEAPONS IN MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE EUROPE

HISTORY OF WARFARE

General Editor

kelly devries

Loyola College

Founding Editors

theresa vann paul chevedden

VOLUME 31

HISTORY OF WARFARE General Editor kelly devries Loyola College Founding Editors theresa vann paul chevedden VOLUME

HAFTED WEAPONS IN MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE EUROPE

The Evolution of European Staff Weapons between 1200 and 1650

BY

JOHN WALDMAN

EUROPE The Evolution of European Staff Weapons between 1200 and 1650 BY JOHN WALDMAN BRILL LEIDEN

BRILL

LEIDEN BOSTON

2005

On the cover: The Kornmarktbrunnen, a potable water fountain in Basel, Switzerland. Moved from its original place near the old marketplace to its present location, and commemorating a local Swiss captain active at the end of the 15th century. It dates from ca. 1525.

Brill Academic Publishers has done its best to establish rights to use of the materials printed herein. Should any other party feel that its rights have been infringed we would be glad to take up contact with them.

This book is printed on acid-free paper.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

A C.I.P. record for this book is available from the Library of Congress.

ISSN

1385–7827

ISBN

90 04 14409 9

© Copyright 2005 by John Waldman.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher.

Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by Koninklijke Brill provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to The Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910 Danvers MA 01923, USA. Fees are subject to change.

printed in the netherlands

CONTENTS

List of Illustrations

vii

Foreword

xxiii

by Walter J. Karcheski, Jr. Acknowledgements

xxv

Introduction

1

Chapter One General Background and Forerunners

7

Iron

10

Chapter Two

Halberds

17

Portage of Arms by the Untitled Swiss

20

Possible Early Halberd Forms

21

Chapter Three

Extant Examples of Halberds

33

Halberds Elsewhere in Europe

63

“Oriental” Inuences

78

Chapter Four

Dierent Styles in Simultaneous Use

81

Chapter Five

Fastenings, Poles, and Finishing Procedures

87

Chapter Six

The Use of Halberds

99

Chapter Seven

Halberds: Details of Rapid Identication

105

Thirteenth Century

105

Fourteenth Century

105

Fifteenth Century

105

Sixteenth Century

105

Seventeenth Century

106

Chapter Eight

Glaives

107

Chapter Nine

Bills

115

Chapter Ten

Partizans

125

Chapter Eleven

The Morgenstern Group

137

Chapter Twelve

Ahlspiesse

151

Chapter Thirteen

Axes and Axe Derivatives

155

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contents

Chapter Fourteen

The Guisarme and the Bardiche

165

Chapter Fifteen

The Brandistocco, Corseke, and Related Weapons

177

Chapter Sixteen

Vouge and Couteau de Brèche

183

Chapter Seventeen

The Military Scythe

191

Chapter Eighteen

The Jedburgh Staand Lochaber Axe

195

Chapter Nineteen

The Doloir

199

Chapter Twenty

Conservation and Restoration of Polearms

203

Chapter Twenty-One

The Marketplace

209

Postscript

211

List of Marks

213

Bibliography

215

Index

219

 

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Cover: The “Kornmarktbrunnen”, a potable water fountain in Basel, Switzerland; moved from its original place near the old marketplace to its present location, and commemo- rating a local Swiss captain active at the end of the 15th century. It dates from ca. 1525.

Fig. 1. Winged spear or “Bohemian ear spoon”, ca. 1500. Note that the wings arise from the socket (see chapter 12), as opposed to the wings of partizans, which issue from the bottom of the blades. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 14.25.460.

Fig. 2. Stone age axe; the shaft and thongs are reconstructions. If used under wet con- ditions these thongs would tend to relax and loosen, allowing stress on the split upper shaft portion. Private collection.

Fig. 3. The mass of this large axe found near London, and possibly of Viking origin, hinges on the relatively small “eye” over the shaft making this joint unstable in a heavy blow. Lengthening the blade vertically and bringing it closer to the shaft brought with it greater stability. The guisarme, with the added feature of having the lower portion of the blade attached to the shaft, was probably a later example of such a weapon. (See chapter 14.) Courtesy of the Museum of London, inv. no. 887.

Fig. 4a. A pair of rare surviving ingots of Roman iron from Swiss mines in the Jura. They are locally called “masseln”. Courtesy of the Cantonal Museum of Baselland.

Fig. 4b. Ingots of raw iron, a ground nd now in the Museum Ferdinandeum in Graz, 5th to 1st century B.C. Courtesy of the Museum Ferdinandeum.

Fig. 5. Scavenging the battleeld for armor and weapons with inghting (lower right). From a panel painting of the victory of Louis the Great over the Serbs (? Turks), ca. 1430, by the Master of the Votive Panel of St. Lambert (Hans von Tübingen), Cloister of St. Lambert, now displayed in the Steiermarkisches Landesmuseum Joanneum, Alte Galerie, Graz. Note the sharpened extension of the pole above the upper eye of the hal- berd in the right foreground and compare with g. 16. Courtesy of the Cloister and the Alte Galerie, Graz.

Fig. 6. Page 172 of the “Waenbuch” of Hans Döring, 1544–55. Note the chronological disparity between the arms and armor of the old man on the left and the soldiers on the right. Note also the leather wrapped shaft of the long spear, as well as the “capped” shaft of the halberd on the right. Private collection.

Fig. 7. German Landsknechts and their captain, with chronologically homogeneous arms and armor, in the “Kriegsordnung” of 1545 by Hans Döring. Private collection.

Fig. 8. A German Landsknecht (in the waning years of this profession) carrying a halberd, in the “Kriegsordnung” of 1545 by Hans Döring. Private collection.

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Fig. 9. Chinese dagger axe known as a “ji”. Bronze Age, but designated “halberd” in modern times. Private collection.

Fig. 10. A very early halberd closely related to a guisarme. Excavated in Alsace, near Basel, middle to second half of the 13th century. Note that the upper end of the blade is not yet particularly suited for thrusting, but a beak is already present, and welded to the upper eye. Courtesy of the Historical Museum of Bern, inv. no. 13741.

Fig. 11. “Betrayal and Arrest of Christ”, Psalter, Germany, early to mid-thirteenth cen- tury. MS. Lat. 17961, folio 113 verso. Note the “halberd” in the hands of the soldier on the left resembling the ones in Bern and Basel (gs. 10 and 25). Courtesy of the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.

Fig. 12. Detail of a wall painting in the chapel of St. Nicklausen, Canton Obwald, Switzerland, ca. 1375. The halberd’s shaft is “capped”, that is, the superior eye is inte- gral with the upper back portion of the blade and is closed on top.

Fig. 13. “Betrayal and Arrest of Christ,” Très Belles Heures de Notre Dame, 1380–1413, France. Note that the left halberd, although resembling the one in the St. Lambert panel (g. 5), is more slender and has no sharpened and protruding wooden shaft at the upper end. These forms coexist with the more “developed” forms such as in g. 14. Courtesy of the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, MS. Nouv. Acq. Lat 3093 folio 181 recto.

Fig. 14. Reduced modern impression from the right hand wood block (one of the original three) called the Bois Protat, ca. 1370–80. The halberd is capped as in g. 12 but appears to have a longer shaft. The original woodblock is in the Paper Museum of the city of Basel, Switzerland. Private collection.

Fig. 15. Early halberd blade resembling that in the foreground of the St. Lambert Panel in Graz (g. 5) and mounted on a new shaft. Note that the St. Lambert halberd’s shaft extends above the upper eye and is sharpened to a point, that is, into a wooden spike. Private collection.

Fig. 16. Swiss warrior carrying a halberd with a (presumably) sharpened extension of the shaft above the blade and resembling that of gs. 5 and 15. Mid 16th century Swiss chron- icle of Johan Stumpf. It is probable that the woodcut itself is from a slightly earlier period, that is, early 16th century, but the halberd itself is of 15th century manufacture. Courtesy of Karl Mohler, Basel.

Figs. 17a and b. Two representations from the Passion in Codex 339 “Mystisches Traktat zum Leiden Christi”, Luzern, 1396, in the library of the Benedictine Cloister in Engelberg, Switzerland. The halberd in the doorway of the building in 17b is a pure “Sempach” form; the one in the right of 17a is described in the text as the “capped” form with the spike in line with the shaft. Courtesy of the library of the Cloister.

Fig. 18. Partial view of the Swiss army in the large woodcut “Dorneck 1499”. Note the profusion of “Sempach” type halberds with the spike point in front of the shaft axis. Courtesy of the Kupferstichkabinet, Basel.

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Fig. 19. Thrusting with the halberd spike of a weapon contemporary with the woodcut. “Dorneck 1499”. Courtesy of the Kupferstichkabinett, Basel.

Fig. 20. “Dorneck 1499”. Thrusting with a halberd. Courtesy of the Kupferstichkabinett, Basel.

Fig. 21. “Dorneck 1499”. Overhead swing with a halberd. Courtesy of the Kupferstichkabinett, Basel.

Fig. 22. “Dorneck 1499”. Sideswing with a halberd and decapitation. Courtesy of the Kupferstichkabinett, Basel.

Fig. 23. Martin Schongauer, “Christ Taken” from the engraved passion, ca. 1480. Note the non-contemporary halberd shafted by “eyes” and the slightly forward curved spike. Courtesy Vassar College.

Fig. 24. Early halberds in the Landesmuseum, Zurich. From an illustration in the 1928 article by E.A. Gessler on the development of the halberd. The individual blades are dis- cussed in the text, and numbered left to right.

Fig. 25. This 13th century halberd in Basel (inv. no. 1873.24, neg. no. 12375) measures 47cm in length and has a greatest width of 6.5 cm. It is almost identical to the rst hal- berd in g. 24, including the triangular top eye. Courtesy of the Historisches Museum, Basel.

Fig. 26. Halberd #2 in g. 24, late 13th century, found near Rorbas, Canton Zurich. It measures 42 cm. in length and has a greatest width of 7 cm. The upper eye is almost completely broken o. Note that the blade back is now straight and useful for thrusting. Courtesy of the Landesmuseum, Zurich, inv. no. 4327.

Fig. 27. Halberd #3 in g. 24. It is the rst to show a real indent between the blade and the spike. The length is 43 cm., the spike is 15 cm., and its weight is 960 g. It was found amongst the vine roots in Cormondrèche near Neuchâtel. Courtesy of the Landesmuseum, Zurich, inv. no. LM6345.

Fig. 28. Halberd of about 1300–20, very similar to the one in g. 27. Note that both edges of the spike are sharpened as well as the rear blade edge between the eyes. Courtesy of the Historisches Museum Bern, inv. no. 3463.

Fig. 29. Halberd blade with a broken spike probably used at the battle of Morgarten in 1315 and excavated there in the 1860’s. Note how compact and massive the weapon is. Courtesy of the Landesmuseum, Zurich, inv. no. 13153.

Fig. 30. Reconstructed drawing of the halberd in g. 29, Landesmuseum, Zurich, inv. no. 13153.

Fig. 31. Halberd blade closely following the Morgarten blade of g. 29 of ca. 1330,(?). Note the very long lower eye. Ex. collection Charles Boissonnas, found in the river Broye in the 19th century. Photo courtesy of Landesmuseum, Zurich.

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Fig. 32. Halberd blade on a new pole somewhat after the one in g. 31 (ca. 1350?). It is larger and more slender. The blade is slightly drawn in at the base. Ex collection Charles Boissonnas. Found in the river Thièle in the 19th century. Photo courtesy of the Landes- museum Zurich.

Fig. 33. Halberd blade of the middle of the 14th century, found in 1985 in 5 meters (16 ft.) of water in the Greifensee (Switzerland) near the shore. Two small pieces of the stawere trapped in the eyes but were lost during the process of conservation. It mea- sures 37 cm. in length; the spike is 14.2 cm. and its weight 578 g. Courtesy of the Landesmuseum, Zurich, inv. no. KZ 11476.

Fig. 34. Halberd blade found in the excavation of the castle of Hünenberg, Canton Zug in 1945. Length 39.5 cm., weight 590 g. Second third of the 14th century. Displayed in the Landesmuseum, Zurich, inv. no. Dep. 3453. Courtesy of the Landesmuseum Zurich.

Fig. 35. Halberd blade on a replacement staand with a separate beak, the latter show- ing the weld mark. End of the 14th century. The thick curved dorsal langet appears at about this time (see also g. 37), the anterior one is sometimes a later addition. What is novel in this weapon is that the spike point is in line with the shaft because of its slight backward lean. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 14.25.35.

Fig. 36. Halberd blade on a new stawith distinct and partially dehiscent weld marks. A posterior rounded langet is present as well as a small beak as part of the upper eye. Note the slight forward curve of the beak edge of the at spike (vaguely like g. 23). This is one of the last halberds before the change in hafting from “eyes” to a socket. Courtesy of the Historisches Museum, Bern.

Fig. 37. Halberd of ca. 1400 with a long narrow blade and an angled convexity leading to the spike which also leans backwards slightly so that the point as in g. 35 is in line with the shaft. The spike tip is clearly reinforced and the last 3.5 cm. are quadrangular. The blade measures 43.8 cm. in length. Only a short rear langet is present. It has possi- bly the oldest surviving shaft, and one of the last of a round diameter, which measures 181 cm. in length and has a diameter of 3.8 cm. just below the langet. The shaft between the eyes measures 3.1 cm. in diameter and appears to be made of a soft wood such as pine. It is also among the last halberds before the appearance of sockets, but as shown throughout this book, such types were probably made and used until late in the 15th cen- tury and are shown in illustrations of ca. 1500 alongside later forms. Private collection.

Fig. 38. Schematic diagram illustrating the method of creating the “eyes” on a 14th cen- tury halberd. A mandrel would have been inserted during the nal bending of the eye and during the hammer welding process. The Morgarten blade in Zurich (g. 29) was created in this way. Hardened steel might have subsequently been welded on the cutting edges of the blade, the spike point and the beak, if there was one.

Fig. 39. Two photographs of the lower eye of the early Basel halberd in g. 25. The retouched one shows that there is a single weld of a strap bent as in g. 38. The upper (triangular) eye is welded on both sides.

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xi

Fig. 40. Detail of the hammer weld of the left side of the upper eye of the Morgarten

halberd in Zurich (g. 29). The eye is not welded on the right side, indicating that it is

a strap bent as in g. 38.

Fig. 41. Another view of a strap with a weld on the right side of the blade. It is similar in appearance to the one in g. 39, but is of a later date.

Fig. 42. Detail of the weld on the bottom eye of the halberd in g. 37, which represents

a fusion of the two blade halves (see the diagram in g. 38).

Fig. 43. A 14th century halberd with a lower eye welded on both sides, showing early dehiscence. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 14.25.35.

Fig. 44. The two blade halves, welded together over the top eye. Halberd in g. 37, ca. 1400. Private collection.

Fig. 45. Schematic diagram of the construction of the halberd in g. 37.

Fig. 46. Weld seam of lower eye of right side of blade on the halberd in g. 35, after the brazing repair to close it. The faint scratch marks on the blade and seam area are not old. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 14.25.35.

Fig. 47. Corroded halberd found in 1908 on the shore of the Rhine near Rheinfelden, 1390–1400. The blade is double-leafed (see g. 44); it has the earliest socket and ange. Courtesy of the Historisches Museum, Basel, inv. no. 1910.93. Negative no. 12373.

Fig. 48. 15th century halberd (perhaps middle) showing the rather rare at spike with the axis behind the shaft line. The mandrel used to form the socket was inserted fully to the top of the blade. The nished halberd shows therefore a small hole on the upper blade edge. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 52.208.8.

Fig. 49. Halberd, probably from the third quarter of the 15th century, showing large pro- portions and mass. An identical one is present in the Museum Altes Zeughaus, Solothurn. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 42.50.17.

Fig. 50. A mid-15th century halberd. Note the elongate blade approximately twice as high as wide. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 42.50.18.

Fig. 51. On the left: detail of the top mandrel opening, in this case between the spike base and the top of the beak, as in g. 52. Visible in the photo on the right are the top of the wooden shaft and the weld mark between the hardened point of the beak and the beak body. Private collection.

Fig. 52. Halberd of last quarter of 15th century. Note the pronounced concavity of the upper and lower blade edges and the beginning slant of the cutting edge. This line of development eventually leads to the 16th century triangular forms. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 14.25.74.

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Fig. 53. Sketch of what is possibly the earliest halberd with a shaft socket (Historisches Museum, Basel, no. 1910.93). The dotted lines show the edges of the corroded right leaf of the blade as well as the welded joint line at the front edge of the spike.

Fig. 54. Sketches of four halberd blades, displayed in the Landesmuseum, Zurich, show- ing from right to left, the transition from the eye-shafting method to the socket form. The blade on the left is roughly a decade later than the Basel halberd in g. 47. (Drawings not to scale). Courtesy of the Landesmuseum, Zurich.

Fig. 55. “Sturmhalbarte” from the arsenal of the city of Vienna. The spike of this mas- sive weapon is hollow-ground. Its great weight required skill and strength to manipulate. Courtesy of the Museums of the City of Vienna, inv. no. 126011.

Fig. 56. Late 15th–early 16th century halberd with a at sword-like spike showing a strong central rib. This type, commonly depicted by Dürer in his woodcuts and engravings, may therefore be of German rather than Swiss design and manufacture. Courtesy of the Metro- politan Museum of Art, inv. no. 25.135.7.

Fig. 57. Woodcut by Hans Wechtlin (1480–after 1526): “Christ Before Anna”, from the series entitled “The Life of Jesus Christ”, 1508. Note the halberd like those in gs. 50, 52, and 56, as well as the “Hängelaschen” (hanging plates) covering the shoulders and attached to the collar of the Maximilian-style helmet. (See page 147.) Private collection.

Fig. 58. Albrecht Dürer: “The Crucixion” from the engraved Passion of 1511. Note the halberd with a at spike on the right which appears to be more popular in Germany than in Switzerland. Private collection.

Fig. 59a. A halberd in the Altes Zeughaus in Solothurn showing signs of use and wear, and without 17th century marks, distinguished also by a dierent smithing technique, and consistent with a 15th century date. Halberds like this one may have served as a model for the 17th century types such as in g. 59b. Courtesy of the Museum Altes Zeughaus, Solothurn.

Fig. 59b. 17th century halberd by Lamprecht Koller of Würenlos, canton of Aargau, 1663–81, until fairly recently classied mistakenly as 15th century and called a “Sempach” halberd. The shafting nails are sunk in conical holes in the langets and ground at. Private collection.

Fig. 60. A halberd of ca. 1500 marked with a cross of St. Andrew on the right side of the blade, probably German or Flemish (Burgundian) and of the type shown in g. 61. Private collection.

Fig. 61. Woodcut by Wolf Huber for the Triumphal Arch of Maximilian, 1512–1515. The Swiss and Imperial forces meet during the Swabian war of 1499. Note the halberds and longspears on both sides, as well as the cross of St. Andrew and the Helvetian cross (St. George) marking clothing and ags. The “ready” position of the longspears in the foreground is also interesting. Private collection.

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xiii

Fig. 62. Large decorated Italian halberd, probably end of the rst quarter of the 16th century and made for the bodyguard of the Emperor Charles V. (Several have survived) Courtesy of Galerie Fischer, Lucerne.

Fig. 63. Italian halberd of about 1500. Both edges of the spike are sharpened down to the beak-spike. Note the scorpion mark. Private collection.

Fig. 64. Italian “scorpion” of about 1530. Note that although the weapon is quite func- tional, there are already many small attempts at decoration. The weld mark of the mid back spike is shown in the detail photo of the scorpion mark. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 14.25.360.

Fig. 65. Italian halberd ca. 1500 with punctuate decorations on both faces. This side shows a dog barking at a rabbit (the right world) as opposed to the other side, which shows a fox barking at a dog (the “world upside down”). The at spike with the prominent rib is similar to the one in g. 56. Courtesy of the Historiches Museum, Basel, inv. no. 1905.4142.

Fig. 66. Halberd of ca. 1510–20 with a quadrangular thickening of the beak tip (similar to the spike tip). Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 42.50.20.

Fig 67a. Early 16th century halberd with a convex cutting edge. The mandrel opening is present between the base of the spike and the beak. Private collection.

Fig 67b. Typical “triangular” bladed halberd of ca. 1520, with a sharply drawn in cut- ting edge. The spike is massive, as is the beak. Private collection.

Fig. 68a. Halberd of ca. 1520 with a concave cutting edge and a broken superior tip as well as a weakened lower tip. The blade as usual is constructed of two leaves welded together. The langets measure 76 cm. in length. Private collection.

Fig. 68b. Halberd of ca. 1520 with an unusual socket and central straight vertical rib above it that is entirely solid. Probably German. Private collection.

Fig. 69a. Halberd of ca. 1530–40 showing “ame” shaped langets on an original ash shaft. Private collection.

Fig. 69b. Detail of A. Dürer’s “The Great Cannon” iron etching of 1518 M. 96. The halberd held by the Landsknecht leaning against the cannon, though slightly indistinct against the roof of the house, is typical during a relatively long span of time in the 16th century. Private collection.

Fig. 70. Ash shaft of halberd showing a rough cut, as well as rened mark, “5”. The upper gure is possibly the arsenal mark itself. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 42.50.20.

Fig. 71. Saber-halberd, probably 19th century. The spike blade is too exible for eective cutting and is not very useful for thrusting. The mass of the halberd head is not at the

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end of the weapon, thus also reducing its impact. Although these weapons are well made, they are in all probability products of 19th century romanticism. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 25.188.2.

Fig. 72a. Thrusting Styrian halberd of about 1575 by Peter Schreckeisen of Waldneukirchen; the beak is still functional appearing, the blade less so. Courtesy of the Landeszeughaus, Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz.

Fig. 72b. Etching by Jacques Callot of the Crucixion scene, ca. 1640. Note the halberd as well as a morgenstern, roncone, and true pikes. Callot worked extensively in Italy, and at this time, Italian halberds resembled those from elsewhere. Private collection.

Fig. 73. Detail of the bottom illustration of folio 28 recto by Dürer in the Emperor Maximilian I’s “Book of Hours”. This scene shows a remarkable mixture of staweapons of diering epochs (see text). Courtesy of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich, L impr. membr. 64.

Fig. 74. Detail of the bottom illustration of folio 55 verso by Albrecht Dürer in the “Book of Hours” of the Emperor Maximilian I. The contrast of the armamentation of the com- battants is striking. It speaks volumes on the reversal of roles and warfare in general. Courtesy of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich, L impr. membr. 64.

Fig. 75. Right hand page of “The Battle of Grandson 1476” from the Diebold Schilling Lucerne Chronicle of 1513, folio 100. As stated in the text, armamentation is with 15th and 16th century equipment though some of the halberds shown are even earlier. Courtesy of the Korporations Verwaltung der Stadt Luzern.

Fig. 76. A rear langet of an early 16th century halberd, both in place and by itself. Note the small claw-like upper portion which anchors itself in the throat of the socket between the ange leaves (and the blade leaves in case of the front one). It also wedges itself between the cheeks of the socket, thus forming a rigid box and stabilizing the whole structure. Private collection.

Fig. 77. A rapid and inexpensive method of stabilizing the union between the halberd head and the shaft. The lower part of the socket, consisting mostly of a broad langet, is hammered around the square shaft. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Fig. 78a. Opposing nails driven straight through and in two instances emerging through the opposite hole and bent over, under the opposing nail head. Early 16th century halberd. Private collection.

Fig. 78b. Nails driven against the opposing inner face of the langet and bent over for up to 1 cm. This radiograph is of a Lucern hammer. Private collection.

Fig. 79a. A mid to late 16th century halberd fastened with hammer-driven screws. Private collection.

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Fig. 79b. A radiograph of the halberd in g. 37. Note the long dorsal nail through the langet which has been driven into an ironed plate or an anvil applied to the front of the shaft so that the nail curves back on itself to lock into place. Private collection.

Fig. 80a. A Lamprecht Koller halberd of the 17th century with peened over nail tips ground ush with the langet surface. Private collection.

Fig. 80b. In this halberd the boltheads and the peened over points are not ground down. Private collection.

Fig. 81. Halberd of ca. 1500, octagonal ash shaft with a shaft makers’ (?) mark burned in at the base of the shaft. Private collecion.

Fig. 82. Halberd of ca. 1510 with two sets of opposing (three) marks burned into the top of the shaft sides. They appear to be a letter “M” with a bar across the top. Private collection.

Fig. 83. A shaft maker of the Eschental turning an ash shaft in a metal cutting die. Slots are present either for various diameters or possibly to shape the sections of split ash sap- plings gradually from square to round. From the “Swiss Chronicles” of Johan Stumpf, 1586, Book 9, p. 554. Courtesy of Karl Mohler, Basel.

Fig. 84. Detail of an early 16th century halberd showing th original grinding (polishing) marks as well as the smith’s mark, an 8-pointed star. Private collection.

Fig. 85. Huge head wound on a fallen German (Imperial) soldier most likely caused by a halberd. From the woodcut “Dorneck 1499”. Courtesy of the Kupferstichkabinett, Basel.

Fig. 86. Another detail of the woodcut “Dorneck 1499” (during the battle) showing how quickly bodies were stripped, but with possible exaggeration of the number of injuries suered (13). Courtesy of the Kupferstichkabinett, Basel.

Fig. 87. Three skulls from the battle of Dorneck in 1499 recently studied and restored (stabilized). These fatal wounds were probably inicted by halberds. Courtesy of the Museum Altes Zeughaus, Solothurn.

Fig. 88. From folio 10 recto of the Maciejowski Bible. The soldier at the left border car- ries a relatively short-shafted “glaive”. Courtesy of the Pierpont Morgan Library, M 638.

Fig. 89. From folio 10 verso of the Maciejowski Bible. The mounted gure in the center foreground ( Joshua) is using a short-shafted “glaive”. Courtesy of the Pierpont Morgan Library, M 638.

Fig. 90a. Sketches of two long-shafted glaives from an illustrated prayer book prayer book of ca. 1380. They are carried by footsoldiers in scenes from the Passion, along with a profusion of other staweapons. Parma MS Pal. 56.

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Fig. 90b. An early Italian glaive, mid to late 15th century, the forerunner of the glaive pictured in g. 92. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 14.25.259, gift of Wm. H. Riggs, 1913.

Fig. 91. Two knights ghting at close quarters with a vouge Française and a glaive. Note the roundels at the blade bases for protecting the hands. From the Caesar Tapestry, ca. 1470, taken as booty from the Burgundian camp in 1476. Courtesy of the Historisches Museum, Bern, inv. no. 8.

Fig. 92. The most widespread form of glaive—an Italian weapon of ca. 1500–20. Its over- all length is 270 cm. (8 ft. 10 in.). It is possibly a guard weapon, but could clearly be used for thrusting and cutting in the eld. Private collection.

Fig. 93. Venetian glaive, end of 16th century. Although the weapon is somewhat similar to the one in g. 92; it is longer, more elaborate and has non-functional additions which

distinguish it from weapons of war. Its great length also makes it impractical to manipu- late in a crowded eld of battle. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no.

04.3.103.

Fig. 94. This purely ceremonial glaive was meant mostly to impress and is also Venetian.It

was a type used by palace guards of such important gures as the Doge, has lost its thrust- ing function and can merely cut. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no.

04.3.102.

Fig. 95a. Roman securis or roncola, with a tang instead of the usual socket which was open on one side (see g. 95b). Other forms had a small upward-facing rear hook. The shortest of these were purely tools and worn tucked into the belt. Private collection.

Fig. 95b. A Roman Securis recently excavated near Jerusalem, from between the end of rst to the fourth century A.D. The inside of the socket contains fragmentary remnants of the short wooden shaft and its securing nail. This grip was probably no longer than ca. 12 cm. (4.5”) Private collection.

Fig. 96. The Italian type of Roncola arma pictured here is also found in Merovingian graves in the North. The actual weapon shown here is probably much younger, by virtue of the marks. The original forms were made, more or less unchanged, until the 15th century. Private collection.

Fig. 97. The Ronca, a much more rened weapon that the preceding Roncola arma, is fully capable of both cut and thrust action and is widespread throughout Europe. It still shows the presence of an open-throated socket for its shaft. Private collection.

Fig. 98. A Welsh bill which is described as a weapon, but appears to be too delicate and frail to be successful as such. Its function is more likely to have been a symbol of author- ity in the hands of a constable or watchman. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 14.25.155.

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Fig. 99a. A fully developed Roncone of early 16th century Italy, similar to the contempo- rary Rossschinder of the Germans. This Italian specimen has typical “eyelash” marks along the lower rear blade. Private collection.

Fig. 99b. Closeup of another roncone’s “eyelash” marks. Private collection.

Fig. 100. An English bill of ca. 1500. Note the typically open socket which is a folded triangle, the weld marks of the beak joints, as well as the “grain” of the blade steel at the bifurcation of the spike and the bill hook. This last indicates that the smith split the blade down to the bifurcation to separate the hook and the spike. Courtesy of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Armouries, inv. no. VII-1493.

Fig. 101. Late 15th century spear with a heavy and elaborately worked head, resembling

a partizan. Courtesy of the Museums of the City of Vienna, inv. no. 686, from the old city arsenal.

Fig. 102. 15th century Italian partizan stamped with a Gothic “4” and without langets. The base of the blade is drawn in towards the socket at approximately 90°. The blade is 55 cm. long and 10 cm. wide. Private collection.

Fig. 103. Early 16th century partizan with small side wings at the base of the blade and

a strong central rib. The blade, without socket, is 78 cm. long; the width without the wings is 11 cm. Private collection.

Fig. 104. Partizan or lingua di bue, ca. 1500, probably Venetian. Two round brass inlays

with seven perforations are present on the blade. The socket is hexagonal, and the tassels are probably a later addition. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no.

1425.119.

Fig. 105. Spiedi da guerra, probably Bolognese, end of 15th century. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 04.3.76.

Fig. 106. The emperor Maximilian I, asleep in his chamber, about to be attacked by sol- diers bearing various staweapons. In this largely ctionalized book, his life guards who were said to carry Austrian partizans, are not present. From the 5th edition of “Theuerdank”, M. Schultes, 1679. Private collection.

Fig. 107. Austrian partizan, end of the 15th century, said to have been carried by the bodyguard of Maximilian I. Note the solid construction and the ogival arch-like upper end of the blade point, which it has in common with the Venetian types. This example has a simple socket in the manner of an early ronca, but others in this group have care- fully constructed hexagonal sockets. None have langets. The shafts, which are not origi- nal, have a hexagonal shape. Courtesy of the Hofjagt- und Rüstkammer of the Historisches Museum, Vienna, inv. no. A117.

Fig. 108. Partizan of the second half of the 16th century, whose socket shows a “nodus” between it and the base of the blade. Private collection.

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Fig. 109. Partizan or “Langue de bœuf ”, 17th century, appearing to have been altered by drawing in the top of the blade (the slight asymmetry would suggest a post-manufacture alteration). The weapon has a width-to-length ratio of 1 to 5.5. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 14.25.90.

Fig. 110. Sponton or “spontoon” from Brunswick, Germany, 17–18th century. The weapon is still clearly a short partizan with basal wings and added lower portions. Although its primary function is rank associated, it could still be used as a weapon. Private collection.

Fig. 111. Sponton-halberd. This late weapon, a combination of a short partizan (sponton) and a small halberd, is highly decorated. Although it was either a parade weapon or asso- ciated with military rank, it could still have been used as a weapon. Courtesy of the Museums of the City of Vienna.

Fig. 112a. Detail of the front carving on the Courtrai Chest showing the Flemish burgers carrying their staweapons, Godentacs or Plançons à Picot, with which they defeated the French chivalry. Courtesy of the Warden and Scholars of New College, Oxford and Bridgeman Art Library International.

Fig. 112b. Morgenstern from the arsenal of the City of Vienna, probably mid-16th century, now in the depot. Courtesy of the Museums of the City of Vienna, inv. no. 126.207.

Fig. 113. This all-steel headed Morgenstern is from the arsenal of the City of Vienna. The craftsmanship is striking and the weapon is well balanced. Courtesy of the Museums of the City of Vienna.

Fig. 114. Detail of the Morgenstern in g. 113 showing the intricate smithwork used to pro- duce a relatively light but stable and strong steel head.

Fig. 115. An all-steel headed morgenstern in the hands of a eeing soldier in Ariovistus’s army ( Julius Caesar is the mounted knight in the upper left corner, spearing an oppo- nent). Detail from the Caesar Tapestries of Charles the Bold. Courtesy of the Historisches Museum Bern, inv. no. 8.

Fig. 116. Holy-water sprinkler, probably English, early 16th century. This type of weapon was very popular in England and was certainly made by expert smiths, probably in large series. Courtesy of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Armouries, inv. no. VII-1642.

Fig. 117. Morgenstern, 15th–16th century, probably Swiss. The shaft is pine. A weapon such as this could have been made by a blacksmith. Private collection.

Fig. 118. A carefully constructed “kettenmorgenstern” probably 15th–16th century, German or Swiss. The pole, of ash, is worn between the top retaining band and the lower part of the langets, which is the area that can be touched by the spikes. Private collection.

Fig. 119. A Kettenmorgenstern and a regular morgenstern, from a line drawing of a 15th cen- tury polyptych fragment, possibly Czech. Note the similarity of the kettenmorgenstern to the one in g. 118.

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Fig. 120. The knight “Debile” in mortal combat with Philippe of Burgundy. Detail from an anonymous woodcut of about 1485 in the poem “Le Chevalier Délibéré” by Olivier de la Marche (Chiswick Press, 1898, London). Note that the knight has, slung over his left shoulder, two Morgensterns, one almost identical to the one in g. 118 and the other like in g. 119. Note also that he is about to strike with a dart. Private collection.

Fig. 121. Detail of a woodcut out of the “Nuremberg Chronicle” of Hartman Schedel, 1493, German edition, showing the Pharaoh’s army being covered by the Red Sea. Note, among the many and interesting staweapons, the military ail. Private collection.

Figs. 122a and b. Two ahlspiesse, probably Austrian, second half of the 15th century. Three marks are stamped into one at at the base of the spike, which is the usual place for marks. The spike is usually longer than one meter and is sti(rigid). The rounded contour langets are rough and unpolished. The presence of the roundel guard and its seating grooves distinguish the ahlspiess from the breach pike or “breschspiess” (see text). Fig. 122a. Courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 14.25.396. Fig. 122b. Courtesy of the Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer, of the Historisches Museum, Vienna, inv. no. A85.

Fig. 123. Detail of the roundel guard of an Ahlspiess set into the special grooves at the base of the spike. Courtesy of the Museums of the City of Vienna.

Fig. 124. Top view of the roundel guard of an Ahlspiess. Courtesy of the Museums of the City of Vienna, one of a large unnumbered lot.

Fig. 125. 15th century pollaxe with inlaid brass punched and chiseled decorations. The rear facing hammer head has a central steel quadrangular beak. The head is fastened to the staby laterally screwed in side lugs. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 14.25.288.

Fig. 126. Gilt and etched early 16th century pollaxe. The axe-hammer head is fastened underneath the carefully constructed langets with pyramidal side lugs. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 25.135.21.

Fig. 127. Anonymous German woodcut of ca. 1460–70 showing a long shafted “mordaxt”.

A roundel guard is present a short distance below the blade. Private collection.

Fig. 128. Detail of the Caesar Tapestry in the Historical Museum of Bern adjacent to the morgenstern in g. 114. The knight swings a “mordaxt” bearing a roundel guard which does not appear to be steel (leather?). Courtesy of the Historisches Museum, Bern, inv. no. 8.

Fig. 129. Detail of the woodcut “Dorneck 1499” showing a veteran Swiss soldier swing- ing a short version of a “fussstreitaxt”. It cannot properly be called a “fussstreitaxt” even though it has a hammer in back of the blade, because of its length, which appears to be only a meter (39 in.) or so. Courtesy of the Kupferstichkabinett, Basel.

Fig. 130. Late 16th century “fussstreitaxt” by the Swiss weaponsmith Lerchli. The weapon

is part of a series delivered to the Zurich arsenal between 1585 and 1591. Note that the

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only dierence between this axe and the one in g. 127 is its length (ca. 1.5 m.) and the presence of langets. Courtesy of Landesmuseum, Zurich, inv. no. K2–1263.

Fig. 131. A dierently shaped “fussstreitaxt” also of the same time period as the previous one and in the Zurich arsenal. Courtesy of Landesmuseum, Zurich, inv. no. K2–601.

Fig. 132. Bec-de-corbin or Lucerne hammer with a massive beak measuring 13 cm. in length. End of the 15th century or 1500. The shaft is oak and is an ovalized octagon. Private collection.

Fig. 133. Italian “Martello d’arme” or “Fussstreitaxt” ca. 1500. Note the three-pronged hammer with the single prong on top. The solid langets t over the central hammer and beak portion, which is slotted to receive them. Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 14.25.465.

Fig. 134. The classic Lucerne hammer which persists without much change from the early 16th century into the 17th century. Note the “L” on its side on the base of the spike. Private collection.

Fig. 135. A very large Russian guisarme of 1530, whose blade alone is more than a meter in length. It is fastened to the shaft by an elaborate system of nails which are themselves decorated. Courtesy of the Tøjhusmuseets, Copenhagen, inv. no. C50 (45).

Fig. 136. A near Eastern or Russian guisarme with a thrusting point and geometric par- tially gilt decoration. Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 04.3.100.

Fig. 137. A somewhat smaller but still massive guisarme on what is likely the original staand showing a complex pattern of geometrically arranged marks (see text). The upper point of the blade is broken o. Courtesy of the Kung. Livrustkammeren, Stockholm, inv. no. 691020.

Fig. 138. A guisarme, Swedish or Russian, 15th century or earlier. Weapons similar to this one are seen in illuminations as old as the 13th century. Courtesy of the Kung. Livrustkammeren, Stockholm, inv. no. LRK GN 2403.

Fig. 139. Excavated guisarme blade with a variant of a rear-facing hammer and langets. The inferior blade point is broken obut appears to have reconnected with the shaft in the standard manner of a guisarme. Courtesy of the Danish National Museum, Copenhagen.

Fig. 140. Variant of a guisarme-like weapon with a long attened top spike. Courtesy of the Kung. Livrustkammeren, Stockholm, inv. no. LRK GN 06:12.

Fig. 141. A Russian bardiche, possibly on the original staand fastened to it by means of the front blade extension and leather thongs. Rear perforations, almost a hallmark of this weapon, are present. Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 14.25.463.

Fig. 142a. A 15th century cut and thrust weapon without a name and appearing to be unique, it may or may not be related to the roncone, or an equally nameless weapon in

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the Maciejowski bible described in the text. Courtesy of the Danish National Museum, inv. no. 212.

Fig. 142b. Detail of 142a, showing marks and the prole of the topspike.

Fig. 142c. Drawing of a vaguely similar weapon said to be early 14th century in a pri- vate collection, and pictured in Troso’s book “Le Armi in Asta”. It has no forward fac- ing beak as in 142a. The blade and socket are 107 cm. long. Marks are not described.

Fig. 143. Detail of an altarpiece by Dieric Bouts of about 1450 showing the “taking of Christ”. Note the weapon to the right of the aming torch which is almost identical to the Copenhagen weapon in g. 142a and b. Courtesy of the Alte Pinakothek, Munich, and Artothek.

Fig. 144. Small bardiche on a broken shaft. The shaft might have been short to begin with, suggesting the possibility that this was a horseman’s weapon. Possibly 15th century. Courtesy of the Kung. Livrustkammeren, Stockholm, inv. no. LRK GN 5729:12.

Fig. 145. Early 16th century runka, also called brandistocco, with etched decorations at the base of the blade and wings. The thick blade has a strong central rib. Courtesy of the Museums of the City of Vienna.

Fig. 146. This large corseke, also called furloni as well as spetum in the North, although dating to about 1500, is too long for eld combat. It was probably used against civil unrest or for guard duty, and is Italian. Private collection.

Fig. 147. Friuli spear of the later 16th century. Note the long slender quadrangular spike and the needle-like wing tips. Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 29.156.38.

Fig. 148. This Chauve-souris, or Pipistrello, is probably Italian, ca. 1530–40, and from the Veneto region. It measures 246 cm. in length and the steel head is 59 cm. long. The blade is thin but rigid because of the strong central rib. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 25.135.9.

Fig. 149. Military fork, or Sturmgabel, Austrian, early 16th century. The fork has a tang inserted into the top of the shaft which is prevented from breaking by the presence of a wide metal retaining band surrounding that portion of the shaft. Courtesy of the Museums of the City of Vienna, inv. no. 410.

Fig. 150. A Vouge française of about 1500, on what may be the original shaft. Note the heavy gauge of the steel blade. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no.

14.25.272.

Fig. 151. Massive vouge française, showing decorative nails in the upper shaft. Early 16th century. Private collection.

Fig. 152. Couteau de brèche, or Couse, end of the 15th century, with nailed-on langets. Note the thin at blade. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 14.25.260.

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Fig. 153. A sturdy but roughly made weapon of the early 16th century, somewhat between

a Vouge and a Couteau de brèche. It has what would be unique for either of these weapons:

a beak. From the old arsenal of the City of Vienna. Courtesy of the Museums of the City

of Vienna, inv. no. 126094.

Fig. 154. A “Gusy”—a late 16th century weapon delivered in substantial numbers to the armory in Graz by Peter Schreckeisen. The word relates to “couse”, but the blade is really

a vouge française, thus blurring the distinction. Coutesy of the Landeszeughaus, Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz.

Fig. 155a. Trabantenkuse of the Archducal guard of Ferdinand, King of Bohemia (1617), King of Hungary (1618) and Emperor (1619). It has an overall length of 2.53 m. (8 ft. 4 in.). Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 14.25.383.

Fig. 155b. Trabantenkuse (also called Gardekuse) of the Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria. Courtesy of the Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer of the Kunsthistorisches Museun, Vienna, inv. no. A 673.

Fig. 156. War scythe, 16th to 17th century. Note the rough workmanship and the crude

punched decorative pattern on the blade. One of a great number still preserved. Courtesy

of the Landesmuseum in Zurich.

Fig. 157. Special war scythe for cutting ships’ rigging or other rope fastenings. From one

of the Caesar Tapestries. Courtesy of the Historical Museum of Berne.

Fig. 158. Jedburgh sta, 15th to 16th century. Note the resemblance to 14th century hal- berds and the prominent hook replacing the beak of a halberd, and welded to the upper eye. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 29.156.10.

Fig. 159. Lochaber axe, 16th to 17th century. It is distinguished from the Jedburgh staby the more crescent-shaped blade, smaller lower “eye” and the hook that is mostly inserted by a tang into the top of the shaft. The lower eye has been modied into two ear-like lobes that are nailed to the front of the shaft, and a full length anterior langet is present. Courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. Inv. no. 925.49.9.

Fig. 160. Doloir or wagoner’s axe of ca. 1500–1550. Note the heavy hammer head and the broad oset blade with punched decorations and initialed cartouches. The blade mea- sures 44 cm. (17 in.) in length. Private collection.

Fig. 161. Detail of a woodcut by Albrecht Altdorfer out of the series “The Triumphal Procession of the Emperor Maximilian”, 1517, showing a short shafted doloir carried by

a non-combatant accompanying a wagon train, who is probably a carpenter trained in wagon repair. Private collection.

FOREWORD

Walter J. Karcheski, Jr.

Of the wide array of medieval European and Renaissance weaponry the category com- prised of those arms with oensive elements axed to poles of various lengths is the one of which there has been the least research and publication. Variously known as polearms, hafted, shafted or staweapons, these form an extremely varied, historically important and intriguing family of arms. These include the spear, perhaps the oldest of all of Man’s oensive weapons, with roots that date back half a million years, and which in one form or another has been used almost universally the world over. Despite this great potential interest and historical importance, the study and publication of European staweapons has lagged greatly when compared to that of other weapons, especially as regards those works published in the English language. Even in his monu- mental, ve-volume magnum opus, A Record of European Armour and Arms through Seven Centuries, Sir Guy F. Laking devoted only two quite modest chapters to his study of the weapons. In the mid-1930s Charles Buttin prepared a series of important articles for the Musée de l’Armée in Paris. While these covered many of the weapons and provided much useful information that drew upon a number of primary sources, Buttin’s articles were not well- illustrated, were available only via a limited circulation, and were published only in French. Since the nineteenth century many articles have appeared in the specialist literature of arms and armor journals and periodicals. However, these tended to focus on single types of staweapons, often focusing on a single aspect of their history, or military use. Such articles were largely in languages other than English, limiting their value and usefulness to many contemporary readers, who are also often without ready access to these relatively obscure and often hard-to-nd works. In more recent years there has been only the occa- sional, limited monographic study, and the only attempt at a serious overall survey, Mario Troso’s Le armi in asta delle fanterie europee (1000–1500), was written in Italian, and hard to obtain. Some historians also appear to have considered staweapons to be of secondary interest. This was perhaps due to the fact that with few exceptions, they were not “knightly” arms, and thus were perceived as less worthy of serious study. However, the role and importance of certain staweapons such as the halberd and the long spear or pike in the rebirth of professional infantry forces in Europe during the fteenth, sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries has been long recognized. This makes the need for a sound, English- language monographic study of European medieval and Renaissance staweapons even more critical. The fact that staweapons were for the most part the arms of the common foot sol- dier, and sometimes of irregular troops or even the peasantry, adds to the complexity of their study. A particular weapon might be referred to by several names, or erroneously associated with another type, with the error perpetuated by generations of students and scholars. Over the years many collectors and students of military history, and some English- speaking arms historians have expressed their desire to see the subject dealt with in detail in the form of a monographic study, and the fog of misunderstanding and misinforma- tion lifted. Dr. Waldman is the rst to have taken on the task head-on. He has drawn upon the best of the secondary source literature, but most importantly, the primary sources,

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both written and artistic, and coupled this with his extensive personal knowledge of the actual weapons themselves. He has consulted with curators and collectors internationally, and visited the major (and some minor) public collections in the Americas and in Europe. Many of the reference sources and images of the arms in use are little-known outside of specialist circles, or have never been examined in this context. As evidenced in the chap- ters of this well-researched, well-written and extensively illustrated book, he has, for many readers, “lifted the veil” of the lack of knowledge of the development, manufacture and use, and the period nomenclature of a great many staweapons. He modestly states that his is not the denitive work on the subject. Nonetheless, this important book will prove of considerable value and interest not only to collectors of antique arms and armor, but also to social and military historians, those interested in the historical technology of metal- working, and art scholars of the medieval through Early Modern periods. Focusing on the “golden age” of staweapons—those centuries of the Later Middle Ages until the dawn of the seventeenth century—Hafted Weapons in Medieval and Renaissance Europe will be a valu- able reference work to libraries, museums and a range of audiences.

Walter J. Karcheski, Jr. Chief Curator of Arms and Armor Frazier Historical Arms Museum Louisville, Kentucky, USA

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I am deeply indebted to a large number of people for their help and encouragement.

Among them are, Jürg A. Meier, conservator and curator of the collection of the castle of Grandson, Arms and Armor expert for Sotheby’s Zürich and formerly of Galerie Fischer in Lucerne, whose scholarship is well known and who has provided me with valuable information on early pieces, and taken the time to read and critique the manuscript, Donald J. La Rocca and Stuart Pyhrr of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for their tire- less cooperation and permission to examine the non-exhibited staweapons at the museum, and especially to Mr. La Rocca for his highly constructive comments and criticism on this

project, as well as his material contribution of articles and for facilitating the use of pho- tographic material for the book. I am beholden to him also for proofreading portions of the manuscript, and adding his very helpful and sobering comments. Ian Eaves, whom I met through Mr. La Rocca, is a storehouse of information and encouragement. Dirk Breiding, also of the Metropolitan Museum was responsible for the connection with Brill Publishers and supplied me with art references with which I was not familiar. Claude Blair, whom I had the great pleasure of meeting, pointed me towards some important ref- erence sources that I was unaware of. The kindness of Matthias Senn of the Landesmuseum in Zurich, in allowing me to examine and photograph the wonderful early pieces in the collection, is very much appreciated. I wish to thank Marianne Berchtold, the curator of the weapons collection in the Historical Museum of Bern for her time and cooperation, also Franz Egger, curator of arms and armor of the Historical Museum of Basel, for per- mission to examine and photograph groundnds in storage; and particularly Martin Sauter, restorer in the Basel museum, for his time and patience in locating the o-site items, and nding archival photographs with their histories. The kindness and continued cooperation of Franziska Heuss in the Kupferstich Kabinet of the Öentliche Kunstsammlung Basel

is much appreciated, as is that of Dr. Marco A.R. Leutenegger, director of the Museum

Altes Zeughaus in Solothurn and his permission to use the museum’s photographs pro- duced by its restorer and photographer. It was a great pleasure to meet and talk with Dr. Sylvia Mattl-Wurm of the Historische Museum der Stadt Wien through whose eorts I was able to see and photograph parts of the vast collection in storage (with the help of the custodian, Herr Gapp). Dr. Günter Düriegl, the director of the museum was instru- mental in connecting me with Dr. Mattl. Thanks also to Dr. Christian Beaufort-Spontin, the director of the Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer in Vienna for his suggestion to contact Matthias Pfaenbichler, curator in the same institution, who shared his knowledge and the museum’s inventory with me. I appreciated the cooperation of Dr. M.L. Schaller of the Zentralbibliothek Luzern, whom I persuaded to send me its photograph of a page of the Diebold Schilling Chronicle. Dr. Alfred Geibig, director of the Veste Coburg, although not personally present, had the kindness to ask Mr. Wernhofer, the museum’s restorer to host me during my visit. K. Corey Keeble, curator of Western Art and Culture at the Royal Ontario museum in Toronto, was most kind, helpful and encouraging. Ms. Carla Pirani of the Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe in Bologna gave me her time in locat- ing original engravings containing staweapons. Mr. Jonathan Cotton, curator of prehis- tory at the Museum of London, suggested relevant sources for Bronze Age “halberds.” Mr. Walter Karcheski formerly of the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, and currently

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acknowledgements

chief curator of the Frazier Historical Arms Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, opened the Worcester collection for me, and gave his valuable time and comments, and introduced me (by letter) to Dr. Peter Krenn, director of the Landeszeughaus Graz, who was most cooperative during my visit there. To him also, I owe special thanks for reading the nal manuscript for the Leiden, Netherlands publishing house, Brill, and oering invaluable advice and numerous corrections. Mr. Julian Deahl, Senior Acquisitions Editor for Brill, was the rst to take interest in my work, and Mrs. Marcella Mulder, Assistant Editor, was kind enough to walk me through the lengthy publication process. Ms. Barbara Edsall, reg- istrar of the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, kindly supplied me with an impor- tant photograph and information. Mr. Kent dur Russell, director of the Higgins, was most cooperative as was Dr. Jerey Forgeng, its curator. Ms. Sue Reid and Ms. Page Hamilton of the department of prints and drawings in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston were helpful in locating relevant prints for my use. Father Sigisbert, the librarian of the Benedictine cloister library in Engelberg, Canton Obwald, Switzerland, located codex 339 for me and permitted the reproduction of illustrations from it. In the Scandinavian countries, Mr. Nils Drejholt, curator of Arms and Armor at the Livrustkammaren in Stockholm was gracious with his time, information on Swedish arms manufacturing and photographs, as was Ms. Nina Heins in the department of photography for producing new ones. Mr. Fred Sandstedt of the Armémuseum also in Stockholm provided printed materials, information on mili- tary history and les on the collection, which was temporarily closed for restoration. I could not avail myself of Mr. Bengt Kylsberg’s oer to visit the collection at Skokloster Castle for lack of time. In Copenhagen, Ms. Åse Højlund Nielsen, curator of the medieval collection at the Danish Nationalmuseet, helped me obtain photos of an unusual weapon in that collection. Mr. Michael Hielscher, director of the Tøjhusmuseet in Copenhagen, arranged in his absence, access to staweapons, and permission to use a photograph in this book. Magister Karin Leitner of the Alte Galerie in the Joanneum in Graz helped me secure an important photograph. Ms. Francesca Consagra, curator of prints and draw- ings at Vassar College provided material for my use. Mr. Ian Ashdown of the Center for Restoration and Conservation, in his capacity as restorer for the collection in the Castle of Grandson, kindly showed me the weapons in the storage area and the main collection. A debt of gratitude is due to my friend Evelyne Tiersky, who translated letters, dis- cussed the text and made it more readable. My friend Dr. George Snook is partly respon- sible for the inspiration to write this book, and has never failed in the early days, to prod me into activity when I have lagged. His wife, Lee, was of help in locating books and articles in libraries both near and far. Christine Pratt, of Dark Horse Photographics, devel- oped and printed many of the black and white photos. Last but not least, the book would surely not have been acceptable for publication without the careful editing by both Walter Karcheski (as I previously mentioned), and Dr. Kate Sampsell, whose commands of the English language, composition and history are profound.

INTRODUCTION

This book deals primarily with the origins of hafted weapons and their development dur- ing the expansionist and turbulent period in European history shortly after the turn of the rst millennium. Some of the facts relevant to this period can be summarized, if only in a brief way, leaving out specic political-historical references and emphasizing the social and demographic ones. Geopolitical changes during the period under discussion were rapid in the small and not-so-small dynastic states, while population sizes, despite natural setbacks such as reduc- tion by wars, the plague, and adverse climatic changes, were increasing. For example, the population of the Helvetic tribes in what is now Switzerland doubled between the early and late Middle Ages, from about 400,000 in the tenth century to 800,000 in the four- teenth. 1 It is at this time that major eorts of intentional primeval deforestation were occur- ring, and the resulting emergence of farmlands with their increased food supply, along with increased utilization of the mining of ores as well as the improvement of trade routes, helped to bring about these population growths and related migrations. One nds already at about 1100 A.D. a rapidly improving infrastructure for travel, that is, reasonably good roads that were physically safe from natural hazards in the mountains, bridges to cross torrents, rivers, and chasms, and an evolving system of hostels and tav- erns for comfort. These amenities decreased the high risk of traveling, especially for traders and merchants. The newfound advantages were, however, somewhat oset by the institu- tions of tolls initially set up to pay for improvements made, and soon corrupted by the local lords or landowners as a means of monetary gains, with often no actual improve- ments being made. Companies of bandits and armed robbers from all levels of social life also constituted an ever-present danger to tradesmen, travelers and pilgrims on these routes. In short, where in the early middle ages cities, towns, and hamlets were relatively iso- lated, separated by vast forests, rivers, and mountains that were dicult to traverse, a few hundred years later, with signicant reductions of those barriers, trading prospered. In the late Middle Ages; circa 1400, the inhabitants of these rural and urban centers could now count on an adequate food supply from the new farmlands created out of forests that now produced opportunities for both agriculture and animal husbandry. Central Europe had at last undergone the same changes that the classical world had, more than a millennium before, and as a consequence of these changes, Europeans could look from the problems of subsistence to those of expansion and might. The major urban centers of the late middle ages began to accumulate vast wealth for their ruling classes, who, impressed with their own power, expressed their greed for expan- sion with military campaigns against neighboring states. One of the most typical examples of such expansionist desire occurred in the latter part of the fteenth century in the duchy of Burgundy under one of the richest men in the world; Charles the Bold. What Charles tried and failed to do by armed conquest, his son-in-law Maximilian did by politically advantageous marriages. Maximilian was far more successful than Charles in accumulating territory, despite the fact that he was constantly at war and on the verge of bankruptcy.

2

introduction

The political maneuvers typied by Charles’ and Maximilian’s ambitions necessitated the use of armed force: in the period under discussion, Europe in one location or another, was almost constantly at war. The empires of Alexander the Great and Charlemagne attest to the fact that warfare and military conquest were not new to Europe, but that in the early part of the second millennium, technology had reached a somewhat greater degree of sophistication and craft in which the development of arms and armor was no mean part. The war machine had evolved by circa 1350 from the pre-medieval and medieval form of feudalism where landed knights had been led by nobility who had little regard, if not utter contempt, for the concept of a peasant infantry—to one in the later middle ages powered mainly by a respected infantry. That infantry model provides the framework of this book; it discusses the weapons most favored, and found most eective, by the foot soldier. As the importance of the infantry increased, the peasant foot soldier and his weapons, specically staweapons, eclipsed the sword-and lance-wielding knightly horseman. The book also concerns itself with not only the staweapons’ impact on the structure of armies, but also with their use and forms, and relies on the study of the surviving objects, as well as texts and illustrations found in chronicles, manuscripts, and books. As with many other objects throughout history, cultural artifacts change with time as society itself changes. The purpose, and therefore the signicance of staweapons, was modied continuously from their inception throughout their rise and decline. During the latter period, most of the weapons became ceremonial, that is, symbolic; they are known for their decoration and the great variety. These surviving and mostly late forms are in modern times much publicized and prized for their artistry and visual impact, both by collectors and museums. They are not, however, the subject of this book, which will focus on the often confusing nomenclature, military signicance, techniques of manufacture, and above all chronological development of staweapons, especially halberds, where this is discernible, in the period up to circa 1650. By far the greatest diculty, in writing a book of this sort, is the association of a weapons’ name to a given illustration. That is to say that manuscript or other illustra- tions, almost never have an accompanying text to identify or describe the particular weapon in question. It is usually by the association of known historical facts with a contemporary illustration, and series of similar illustrations that the rational identication of a given arm is made. Even the best descriptions in the modern literature on staweapons are usually not specic enough to make positive identication, and often a work will add what pre- vious authors consider synonyms at the end, thus muddying the waters even more. When a reasonable association has been made, as is attempted in this book, one can then work both forward and backward, relying on specic changes in the weapon’s mor- phology that are expected, knowing general stylistic trends, and the related history. Using this methodology, the book tries to be as specic as possible. Past works are quoted not merely because they are in print, but to make a point and to extract from them signicant observations. Only the most widely used types of weapons are discussed. Many subtypes exist, which are not really insignicant, but found limited use in battle, and lack the military impor- tance of the major weapons which comprise the greatest volume in this work. So, for instance, the sponton-halberd which is a very late combination of a diminutive partisan and a halberd, having use only in the military ranking system of the seventeenth century and later, is given little more than mention, as it has no real combative use, and as with all other staweapons of that period, had become obsolete in the eld of battle.

introduction

3

The arms that will be discussed most fully, are those used by the Swiss. This has two reasons; the rst is that Swiss hafted arms have been the principal focus of personal studies for many years. The second is that because of their particular political and geographic history, the Swiss were at their greatest power using these arms against their continuously invasive neighbors, the Habsburgs (as well as, early on, against each other), and much of the development of some of the most important types of staweapons occurred in this very centrally located part of Europe. One must not, however, think of “Swiss” in the modern concept; as in the formative years of the confederation that we are dealing with, these tribes were anything but homogeneous, either geographically or politically, and often sections (cantons) of the modern country were on opposite sides of the strife. The nuclear states of the later nation, bound together by a treaty in 1291, added on additional states for mutual protection over several centuries. In theory, at least, a critical survey of all extant staweapons in the world would nd no two to be identical, minor variations being evident in weapons even from the same workshops. If this sounds unreasonable, it should be remembered that all weapons of this period were literally hand made, portions by master craftsmen, parts by apprentices or journeymen, in workshops perhaps within one city, or perhaps hundreds of miles apart. Countless small towns throughout Europe have small exhibitions in town halls or local museums dealing with local history and mostly but not always using archaeological nds. Those near castles, ruined or not, as well as those near sites of battles, or on the banks of rivers are even more likely to have excavated ground or river nds of, among other things, weapons. Although many of these weapons have been published, there is as yet no mechanism by which these objects can be collated and studied as a group. One would have to spend years traveling to see them all. The author has not gone to this length, of course, but has made an eort to personally examine as many as possible of these lesser-known but often very important examples. Early specimens in private col- lections are important also, but are often inaccessible and their origins are mostly obscure; doubtless they are not much more than a fraction of the material in the collective town exhibits. The length of chapters in this book is an indication of the assessment of both the impor- tance of the weapon, and of the amount of surviving documentary evidence, including contemporary pictorial material. This is not to say that other weapons were not impor- tant, just that there is less available evidence concerning them, as well as fewer of the sur- viving arms themselves. They may have been dropped from use, or been converted, with changes, into guard or parade arms. Their importance in civil life is enhanced however, because they often became a vehicle for the decorative arts, involving masters of not only crafts such as goldsmithing, but also of the arts of engraving, damascening, etching and silver inlay—often on blue black metallic ground. 2 Some of these masters; Daniel Hopfer of Augsburg for example, were also skilled in the graphic arts on paper. The principal weapon discussed is the halberd, because it—in conjunction with the longspear (“Langspiess” in German) was one of the primary weapons used by the armies involved in the wide-ranging shifts of power that occurred across Europe between 1250

2 Niello; a technique dating back to the Romans and consisting of mostly linear decoration of metallic sur- faces using both physical and complex chemical procedures, appears in Turkey and Russia in the period under discussion. Axes decorated with the Niello technique are present in the State Armoury of the Kremlin in Moscow.

4

introduction

and 1550. Firearms, to be sure, which were developing during the last half of this time period, overshadowed hafted weapons by the mid-sixteenth century, although longspears

in a somewhat shortened version, at this time known as pikes, were used in the early sev-

enteenth century to protect the marksmen during the reloading maneuver. Conservatives, nonetheless clung tenaciously to the belief that hafted arms as well as

some other non-rearms should be stocked in the town arsenals, and so in present times we see some strange bedfellows in surviving arsenals such as in Graz, Austria and Solothurn, Switzerland: halberds of a fourteenth century form alongside longspears of the fteenth and sixteenth centuries 5 meters (16 feet) in length, matchlocks, wheellocks, intlock pis- tols, and long arms of various periods, not to mention mail shirts and armor whose dates

of manufacture span more than a hundred years.

This all to our good fortune, as in so many other instances, intentional destruction of outdated or “archaic” objects deemed useless, occurs, and we are left only with pictorial and occasional written references to those objects. Documentary evidence by such persons as ambassadors and other observers exists, to what would appear to be large numbers of specialized weapons. Nicolo di Savri, the Italian ambassador to England, noted in 1513 that 12,000 holy water sprinklers were carried by

the English at that time. Whether indeed such large numbers of this now rarely found weapon did exist, is a matter of conjecture, as we can assume that no matter how impressed

di Savri was, he did not actually count those weapons personally. Where we nd greater

accuracy is in the logbooks of the arsenals and in town records, as these weapons had to

be paid for, and the books balanced. 3

Other diculties encountered in accurately describing weapons and their variations include the liberties a given artist takes with his subject matter (not to mention the bias

in interpreting, say, the outcome of a given battle, or the guilt or innocence of a well

known and inuential person), and the degree of artistic skill, or the span of time elapsed

between the episode depicted and the execution of the work of art. One can, however, draw rational conclusions after having studied enough of an artist’s oeuvre, and by know- ing in whose employ or under whose patronage the artist worked. Identication of the precise form of a weapon and tying it to a date may indeed place it close to the time and place where a weapons smith created it, but this analysis cannot

be performed on the basis of merely nding it in a dated illustration. Weapons of a given

form may not only be manufactured unchanged over a very long period of time during which newer forms are also being made, most likely by other workshops; but much older forms may persist as well. Dating is therefore a dicult matter and it should be under- stood that this book attempts to tie in the form with its earliest appearance, unless other- wise noted. A survey of various works of art shows that artists sometimes accurately depict weapon forms some 100 years or so apart in design, as being used, at the same time. 4 That is, they can; but just as often they do not, and depict historical events from remote times as if they were happening in the latest style of their own time. This lack of historical and stylistic perspective is readily understood when one realizes that printed matter was scarce

3 Many such logbooks or inventories of arsenals survive. A few examples are: the inventories of the Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrolia of 1555, 1583, 1593, and 1596 (the last three under his son Ferdinand II). The 1485 inventory of the Vienna city arsenal (the oldest one) records all purchases since 1424 and was periodically updated, as were those of Graz and Zurich.

4 See for instance g. 18.

introduction

5

and concerned itself mainly with religious, philosophical and moral issues—and hardly with issues of style. The whole concept of style and art history is relatively modern. There is however, a slow progression in stylistic accuracy by the seventeenth century; examples to point to are some the Biblical works of Rembrandt in which pale robes clothe the gures in the manner of the near East, but more often than not, seventeenth century styles are seen on important gures to indicate wealth or prominence, and military clothing and weapons are either sketchy and vague or more frequently distinctly sixteenth or seventeenth century. The etching “Ecce Homo” of 1635, also known as “Christ before Pilate” is an example of this. It is decidedly Oriental in character, and this is explained by the fact that Rembrandt had studied the world of Orientalism both from books such as by the historian Flavius Josephus, and by old pictorial representations that he had access to. Thus the artist-scholar begins to incorporate history into art, which in turn depicts history. As this material is put together, it appears that there are more unanswered questions and speculation than one would wish, but the work does hopefully serve as a foundation for future research and amplication.

than one would wish, but the work does hopefully serve as a foundation for future research

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL BACKGROUND AND FORERUNNERS

The rudimentary spear is perhaps the simplest and earliest form of a hafted weapon, being an attempt to increase the thrusting length of the weaponed arm in combat and in the hunt. Its typology and development during the millennia of its existence need not be dis- cussed here at length, as detailed and excellent works exist concerning this weapon. 1 These weapons include the winged spears ( ügellanzen or knebelspiesse in German, epieu or espieu de guerre in French, and derived from the Latin Spiculum) that are used throughout the period under discussion, the so called Bohemian ear-spoons (g. 1), together with their relative, the hunting spears, spiedi da caccia, jagdspiesse, epieu de chasse used mainly for boar and bear hunting well into the seventeenth century. 2 Nonetheless, the spear being the rst staweapon deserves some discussion here. Beginning with the fourteenth century, the infantry spear was known as a “longspear” (Langspiess in German, Picca lunga in Italian and Pique longue in French). The English word “pike” is not used here because it refers to a later type of weapon. The rst use of the word “pike” is recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary as occurring in 1511. The longs- pear was, from the fourteenth century on, commonly 15 to 18 feet (5 to 6 meters) in length, and its major use was as a defensive weapon. It was very eective in dense mutu- ally supporting masses and in combination with other weapons such as halberds and axes and nally two-handed swords and rearms in combat with the old cavalry formations of the medieval and early renaissance nobility. The longspear, regardless of its length could only be used for a short forward thrust by the combatant on foot but was able, if its thrust was well directed, to reach an equestrian before being in range of his lance or other weapon. In contrast, the equestrian lance had

a long and sustained forward motion and had the advantage of tremendous momentum,

but one can imagine the accuracy needed to transx a target moving tangentially and at

a relatively short distance. 3 The length of the lance itself was limited by the fact that it had to be held by only one hand, the other being needed to guide and control the horse. Historically, the spear was used successfully as a thrusting weapon against such bodily protection as bronze plate (Greek and Roman), leather or “cuir bouilli,” mail (from Roman

1 Ellehauge, Martin, The Spear—Traced through its Post Roman Development, Møller, Copenhagen, 1948. Oakeshott, R.E., European Weapons and Armour, Lutterworth Press, Guilford and London, 1980. Oakeshott, R.E., The Archaeology of Weapons, Lutterworth Press, London, 1960. Wegeli, R., Inventar der Waensammlung des Bernischen Historischen Museums in Bern, III Stangenwaen, K.J. Wyss, Erben A.G., 1939.

2 This weapon is seen not only in Bohemian illustrations, but also elsewhere in Europe. Surviving exam- ples are diversely manufactured as well. The term is böhmischer Ohrlöel in German and is derived from the small instrument used to clean an ear, having a stop at its base.

3 The throwing version of the spear, the javelin and pilum were all but discarded by the early middle ages, as bows and crossbows could have much more devastating eects and over much larger distances. A failed thrust might be repeated, but a failed throw was the loss of the weapon, which might indeed be used against one by the target soldier. A few javelin-like weapons continue to be seen into the sixteenth century, resem- bling giant arrows, and javelins were for a time the designated weapon assigned to guards protecting judges and magistrates traveling to their assizes. These “javelins” are often depicted as being thrust, rather than thrown. (See p. 61).

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chapter one

8 chapter one Fig. 1. Winged spear or “Bohemian ear spoon”, ca. 1500. Note that the

Fig. 1. Winged spear or “Bohemian ear spoon”, ca. 1500. Note that the wings arise from the socket (see chapter 12), as opposed to the wings of partizans, which issue from the bottom of the blades. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 14.25.460.

general background and forerunners

9

to Renaissance), and “reinforced” mail (fourteenth century Europe). 4 For this last function, the spear-head was long slender and quadrangular in shape, not unlike its’ dagger equiv- alent used to pierce mail and known as “Panzerstecher” in German. The use of the spear persisted well into the seventeenth century, not only on the battleelds, but also as the favorite weapon in the exercise of equestrian tournaments in which it took on a very spe- cialized form and function. But, the discussion in this chapter is meant to illustrate the changes in arms and armor that led to the development of staweapons other than spears. Suce it to say that with other and later developed arms such as the halberd, the spear was often used side by side with them, especially in the tight formations of the Swiss dur- ing the Burgundian wars of the last half of the fteenth century, in the Swabian War (1499), and throughout the battles of the rst quarter of the sixteenth century. Thereafter hafted arms used chiey for thrusting as well as most other hafted arms found their use limited and in decline. They were eventually replaced by rearms and by the resurgent use of the sword. Increasingly, however, with the continuous development of better and generally heav- ier body armor in the late fourteenth century, the spear began to lose the surety of its penetrating power, especially against plate armor. This last, a marvel in protective engi- neering and technology, was the culmination of renements and experiments made over long periods of time. Plate armor provided great security against such traditional weapons as the spear and sword. This success in turn necessitated the development of new classes of weapons that would be eective against plate armor, and is only one example of the adaptation that was the chief hallmark of the ever-evolving ballet of battleeld strategy and tactics. The rst of these was the cutting staweapon (at least, certain of its sub- types), the other being the portable rearm. Success against armor-wearing opponents meant the successful penetration of that armor, which in turn depended on hitting the opponent squarely, that is, perpendicular to the plane of the protection, and even more important was the ability to “catch” into some type of channel that would guide the weapon through the armor. Most of the success of plate armor was in presenting rounded and glancing surfaces to a weapon, so that a thrust would be deected. A more sophisticated type of weapon was needed which could not only thrust, cut and hook, but which contained such great mass and momentum was such that it could penetrate or disrupt the plate steel. Altogether staweapons, and especially halberds, were designed with such functions in mind. Other arms, such as hammers, maces, Morgensterne (chapter 11) and various conguration of the axe family also found use against plate. All this is not to say that staweapons are just redesigned spears. Far more so their action is linked with an axe-like weapon, although early on, their action might have been more like heavy knives. The axe is a weapon that is probably as old as the spear but has appeared somewhat less regularly throughout the ages, except perhaps during the Viking and Saxon age in Europe. In warfare it was used in conjunction with the sword and the spear; in peace, it had many uses as a tool. Whereas in the Stone Age, axe heads were hafted in the split ends of a stick and bound with hide strips (g. 2), they were later per- forated in the center and the top of the shaft was inserted through them. The rationale

4 Besides “Ailettes” (shoulder defenses, also heraldic devices), various pieces of plate armor were added grad- ually to the mail in the fourteenth century, in some instances even earlier, so that by the third quarter of the century the plates were contoured and articulated, and by ca. 1400, fully covered the body.

10

chapter one

of this step is of great importance in the use and eciency of this weapon and ultimately in the design of all staweapons. As wood is composed of longitudinally arranged bers, its greatest strength and resis- tance to disruption lies in maintaining the cohesiveness of its tightly cemented cell bun- dles (the grain). A force directed at right angles to the grain meets the greatest resistance to rupture, whereas one directed parallel to the bers tends to separate them. Thus the splitting of the ends of a wooden shaft to accommodate an axe head for example, even though it is intricately bound with hide or other material, breached the integrity of the cohesive ber structure; subsequent blows tended to further disrupt the structure of the shaft. The union of axe head and shaft was far more stable and long-lived if the shaft penetrated the axe head. Whether the head was of stone, copper, bronze, or iron, these dense materials had far greater internal cohesion than wood. Each blow delivered with this design actually pressed the wood bers together, since the head acted as a rigid band surrounding the shaft end. Later with more rened shapes, the shaft hole became eccentric, and in order to pre- vent inadvertent rotation of the weapon with the blow, the perforation tended to be of oval cross-section rather than round. To further the ease of penetration, the mass of the head, as well as its length, was increased, and in order to best utilize these altered dimen- sions, the shaft hole was moved towards the rear of the axe head, much as is seen in the modern single-bitted axe. This development was continued by increasing the size of the blade in all dimensions and by moving the shaft hole to the rim of the back of the axe head. Of course this last renement became possible only with the use of a metal blade. Finally, the large blade, at at the cutting edge and narrow at the junction with the shaft, was eectively joined to a ring or short tube (the “eye”), which tted over the end of the shaft. The cutting mass was, by the time of the Bronze Age, almost universally of metal rather than stone, except for such weapons that were used for ceremonial purposes. 5 These metal axes tted on various lengths of wooden shafts were in use for long periods of time and were a favorite amongst the Norse and Saxons (g. 3).

Iron

It is necessary, in order to fully understand and appreciate the capabilities (and limita- tions) of staweapons under discussion, to include a short discussion dealing with the met- allurgy of iron and the process of making steel: the metal used almost exclusively at the time hafted weapon blades were being produced. Many dierent methods were already developed in antiquity for the hardening of iron and to produce a more-or-less exible steel. 6 Steel is, roughly speaking, iron with the addi- tion of a small percentage of carbon. After the dissolution of the Roman Empire, the ensuing political chaos prevented the development and expansion of mining operations, so smiths found themselves re-using and re-working existing weapons, and the art of smelting ores and carbonizing iron into a desirable form of steel for weapons declined. 7 Only after the ninth century did the situation

5 Such ceremonial axes are seen for example in Celtic Ireland, but also in China, made of exquisite jadeite.

6 Davidson, H.R.E., The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England, The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 1962 and 1996.

7 Also known as carburizing.

general background and forerunners

11

general background and forerunners 11 Fig. 2. Stone age axe; the shaft and thongs are reconstructions.

Fig. 2. Stone age axe; the shaft and thongs are reconstructions. If used under wet conditions these thongs would tend to relax and loosen, allowing stress on the split upper shaft portion. Private collection.

stress on the split upper shaft portion. Private collection. Fig. 3. The mass of this large

Fig. 3. The mass of this large axe found near London, and possibly of Viking origin, hinges on the relatively small “eye” over the shaft making this joint unstable in a heavy blow. Lengthening the blade vertically and bringing it closer to the shaft brought with it greater stability. The guisarme, with the added feature of having the lower portion of the blade attached to the shaft, was probably a later example of such a weapon. (See chapter 14.) Courtesy of the Museum of London, inv. no. 887.

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chapter one

begin to improve; new mines were opened and new procedures for producing steel were established. The Romans, as early as the sixth century B.C., had use of steely iron with a carbon content of between 0.1 to 1 percent, and in some cases as high as 3 to 4 percent. This iron in most instances was imported from India in two-pound blocks or cakes smelted in sealed clay crucibles and later designated “wootz.” 8 Most of the local bog iron ores in Europe and England contained traces of impurities such as phosphorus that rendered the iron unsuitable for thin weapons such as sword blades but were probably suitable for axe blades. Nevertheless, Celtic iron mined in central Europe (Styria for example) was also a valuable source of high quality iron for the Romans. The smelting and forging process appears to have been performed in this region as well. Finds of the La Tène period (ca. 550 B.C.–1 A.D.) are exhibited in the Museé d’Unterlinden in Colmar, France. Here the ingots are slender, long and tapered almost to a point at each end. It appears possible that mining localities can be identied by the shape of the ingots. For example, recent excavations near the Swiss city of Liestal in the Canton Baselland unearthed, among many other artifacts, a Roman smithy in which heavy hammers, tongs, and other tools lay together. These nds are exhibited in the Cantonal museum. Two blocks of raw iron (ingots) were also found. These blocks are much larger than the Indian wootz cakes, weigh an estimated 10 kg. (22 lbs.) each, and are slightly drawn out cubes with tapered ends (g. 4a). They are also, according to recent archaeological research, of local origin, coming from ancient iron mines in the adjacent Canton of Jura. 9 The local Swiss-German name for them is “masseln.” In the Museum Ferdinandeum in Graz Austria, there are very similar ingots of raw iron (g. 4b) dating, however, to the earlier La Tène period. Blade weapon nds of several epochs between the Roman and medieval periods have been analyzed for structure and carbon content. One such dagger revealed a com- plex makeup not unlike that of some of the early halberds. The soft pure iron core had a carbon content of 0.05 percent, the harder mid-portion 0.5 percent, and the cutting edge 1.8 percent. The impurities in European ores cited by Davidson as being incompatible with high quality blades had, it seems, by the eighth or ninth centuries been worked out of the iron by processing it. Bog ores containing these impurities could also have been used for iron and steel artifacts other than blades. The Swiss ores just cited are magmatic, (rock ores) as are the Styrian, Lorraine, and other sources of Merovingian to medieval ores. Many of the excellent sword and other weapon blades of this period were probably therefore of European rather than of Indian origin, including possibly the damascened ones. Specic information as to the origin of iron used for the manufacture of staweapon blades in the periods covered by this book has not yet been found, but given the above informa- tion; it is likely that the ores used were from local sites as well. As previously mentioned, by the late thirteenth or early fourteenth centuries, steel or iron in the form of plates reinforced the quintessential mail defenses, which had formed

8 Most of the information on early iron and steel is taken from Davidson’s book (see footnote 10). She writes of the availability of Indian steel blocks in Europe as early as the sixth century B.C., and notes that they were later called “wootz.” There is no conict with the statement by Bronson that steel made in India from the second century onward was called wootz; as it—or a similar metal, was also made earlier under a dierent name. Davidson’s second edition was printed and revised in 1996, well after Bronson’s article in Archeomaterials.

9 Bronson, B., “The Making and selling of Wootz, a Crucible steel of India”, Archeomaterials, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 13–51.

general background and forerunners

13

general background and forerunners 13 Fig. 4a. A pair of rare surviving ingots of Roman iron

Fig. 4a. A pair of rare surviving ingots of Roman iron from Swiss mines in the Jura. They are locally called “masseln”. Courtesy of the Cantonal Museum of Baselland.

“masseln”. Courtesy of the Cantonal Museum of Baselland. Fig. 4b. Ingots of raw iron, a ground

Fig. 4b. Ingots of raw iron, a ground nd now in the Museum Ferdinandeum in Graz, 5th to 1st century B.C. Courtesy of the Museum Ferdinandeum.

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the prime defensive armor for millennia before. Mail, even though relatively heavy but extremely exible, was vulnerable, to well-placed axe cuts and lance thrusts as well as to arrows and crossbow bolts. Plate-like additions in ever increasing sizes and shapes even- tually supplanted mail; although as late as the fteenth century or even in the early six- teenth century mail shirts or sleeves were worn under plate armor for additional protection. This plate armor, a beautifully formed series of hinged, articulated, and strapped steel plates, was signicantly developed by 1350 to 1380 and essentially covered the body by ca. 1400. It could successfully stop the eects of most lance thrusts as well as sword cuts and thrusts and tended by virtue of its rounded form to deect even most axe blows, unless they were directed at a right angle to the surface of the plate armor. It is still some- what controversial whether plate armor could resist penetration by crossbow bolts, but it is likely that a direct hit at relatively short range would not be stopped by armor cover- ing the extremities, as it was usually not as thick as the plate covering the chest and head (breastplate and helm). Nevertheless, a fteenth century archer’s sallet in the historical museum in Bern evidences several crossbow bolts having penetrated the helmet. It should be noted, however, that at this time, very few foot combatants in an army would actually be using the “latest” defenses; this plate armor was very expensive and was produced at rst only in relatively small numbers, largely for the titled and wealthy. Peasants recruited as infantry had, as is seen in many illustrations, simple (sometimes non-metallic) defenses and unsophisticated arms often converted from farm implements. Peasant tools were transformed massively at the time of the crusades because it would have been impos- sible to arm these “soldiers” with real weapons. Charles Buttin cites the conversion of such tools as fourche, faux, couteau de charrue, hache, serpe, maillet, eau (fork, scythe, ploughshare, axe, bill-hook, mallet, ail), as well as the conversion of hunting weapons. There was a stimulus to develop new and better forms of weapons occasioned by mil- itary success in the eld, such as the battle of Morgarten in 1315, where the soldiers of the newly founded Swiss confederation, using the recently introduced halberds, established their superiority over the mail-clad Hapsburg forces. This victory highlighted the staweapons used, and probably accelerated the evolutionary process of these and other sim- ilar weapons, because the user was out of reach of the sword, mace, war hammer, or dagger often associated with the wearer of plate armor. Halberds were also used, most importantly, to complement the longspear. The eect of improvements and additions to armor during the fourteenth century was the continued development of these new weapons so as to be capable of penetrating the plate armor reinforcements, but one must again bear in mind that in any given military force only the uppermost echelons would be wearing mail and plates. The vast majority of combatants, that is the common infantry—the importance of which became increasingly apparent with the adoption of hafted weapons—would only have leather protection or parts and pieces of plundered armor. Scavenging a battleeld was the most common way for foot soldiers and peasants to acquire arms and armor. This activity is clearly seen in the foreground of the painting of ca. 1430 showing the victory of Louis The Great (1342–1382) over the Serbs (g. 5). 10 Already in a much earlier period, mail defenses, swords, shields, and helmets were obtained in this way. A lower border scene in the Bayeux tapestry, now more correctly called “embroidery,” of ca. 1070, shows, under the depiction of the death

10 In the Steiermarkisches Landesmuseum Joanneum, Abteilung Alte Galerie, on loan from the cloister of St. Lambert.

general background and forerunners

15

of King Harold, soldiers stripping mail garments from the fallen warriors and gathering up swords from the battleeld. No doubt this method of acquisition has always existed. It seems that the gathering of booty was often begun well before the end of a battle, although eld commanders generally forbade this practice until its conclusion. Against these foot soldiers, staweapons were already quite eective. There is some

disagreement as to how functional fourteenth- as well as fteenth-century weapons such as the halberd were against the new plate armor (see chapter 6); however, it is not true that the famous “hardening” of the cutting edge of halberds made them as vulnerable to shat- tering (like “glass”) on impact with steel armor as is generally claimed; nor is it true that the lesser weight of the early forms, as opposed to the greater weight of the fteenth-, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century halberds, should have caused them to be classied as

a “knife-like” weapon rather than an “ax-like” one. Extant war scythes, couteaux de brèche,

couses, guisarmes, and vouges, are more knife-like, without question, but the fourteenth- century halberd was used successfully in an axe-like way against the “lighter” armor gen- erally worn in that time, as did the heavier and more compact halberds of later times

against heavier armor. 11 This does not mean that the function of spearing the opponent with the spike of the halberd was not an important one nor was the swinging of the weapon to use its beak useless. We shall retrace some of this development as it applies to halberds. The rst experi-

ments of the thirteenth century probably proved rather quickly that a simple axe-like head mounted on a long shaft would weaken or break the shaft just below the “eye” socket on

a solid impact unless the eye and shaft were of large diameter. A large diameter shaft,

however, was too heavy and unwieldy to swing quickly, no matter what type of wood was used. The initial solution in the second quarter of the thirteenth century appears to have been to add a small strap to the lower edge of the blade and to fasten this to the shaft. This type of weapon is currently designated a guisarme (see chapter 16). Soon after, greater stability was achieved by adding a second eye to the back of the somewhat lengthened axe blade instead, which would distribute the shock of the blow along a greater surface area of the shaft. These weapons were the rst “halberds” (see chapters 4–6). Many ideas on the manufacture and development of arms were spontaneous, sometimes very local and for a specic purpose. At times these “experiments” died quickly after their inception, but often the typology, if successful, would spread rapidly. Coexistence over a long period of time of widely varying designs of halberds was common. This last point is of great inter- est because it can lead to confusion in dating and tracing the evolution of a design; there- fore it is an important phenomenon of the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance and needs to be elaborated on. In his “Wappenbuch” (Heraldry Book) of 1544–1555, 12 the Hessian painter Hans Döring

illustrates on his page 172, two groups of Swiss soldiers of the Canton of Appenzell, three in armor of the period (mid sixteenth century) and a single gure of an older man wear- ing armor dating to the end of the fteenth century (g. 6). 13 Both he and one of the others carry halberds of a much older date than the book. Even allowing for some degree of artistic license, the rst halberd is probably from the late fourteenth century and the

11 Despite Schneider’s experiment described on page 99.

12 In the Landesbibliothek, Dresden.

13 He wears a kettle-hat with eye slits, a long mail shirt and a two-piece “Gothic “breastplate. His sword has a wheel-pommel and straight at quillons. His shoes are pointed (fteenth century) as opposed to the broad-toed shoes of the younger men (sixteenth century).

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other from the mid- to late fteenth. In each case they precede the date of the armor by more than fty years. Once a weapon had demonstrated itself to be successful, its users might be loath to change it for one of another design. This supposition is supported by the fact that the manufacture of halberds persisted well into the seventeenth century using the shapes of weapons that initially proved themselves in battles of the fourteenth and fteenth centuries, as well as those that were newly designed but were constructed using old manufacturing techniques. Furthermore, the town councils in some Swiss cities placed large orders to restock the town arsenal long after the massive use of halberds had dis- appeared from the battleelds. In contrast to the heterogeneous armaments shown in g. 6, the illustration from a related work dated 1545 (g. 7), shows a mounted knight armed with a lance, surrounded by his retinue of foot soldiers, probably equipped by him, all wearing very much the “lat- est” of 1545. 14 All halberds depicted in the illustrations are identical in form and of that date. The soldiers’ only armor consists of bishop’s mantles (mail collars extended like a mantle over the shoulders) and a few helmets. Two out of the eight soldiers carry what appear to be matchlocks. Therefore, a wealthy knight or lord might outt his whole ret- inue with recently made arms and armor, or a poorer or less generous lord might only permit the scavenging of these. Economics and social conditions thus often dictated the style and usage of weapons and defensive gear. Finally, a word about the methods of carrying hafted weapons is called for. In g. 8, the landsknecht carries his halberd slung over his right shoulder and grasps it over the base of the spike. This may not have been as unusual as its awkwardness might suggest, as this method is seen again in a single-leaf woodcut portrait of a sergeant in 1535 by the artist Erhard Schön. 15 The illustrations that duplicate this method of carrying spiked staweapons, halberds as well as other spiked weapons, show them to be well-balanced, light and easy to support, which would have been essential during the long marches between countries. Doubtlessly a variety of positions were used for portage of these arms depending on the specic weapon, its weight and balance, and the individual soldier’s strength. Although spears were among the most ancient hafted weapons, and despite the fact that they never completely disappeared, a process of oensive and defensive evolution, as well as technological advancements and access to raw materials, both mandated and allowed diversication in types of staweapons, culminating in the Swiss type halberd of the late 15th- and early 16th-centuries, The success of the halberd led to its being a prolic and oft-copied weapon that proved to be exible in battle and inspired condence in its users as well as fear in their enemies.

14 Doring, H. Kriegsordnung of Count Reinhard the Elder of Salms, 1545—in the Staatsbibliothek Munich (Cod. Germ. 3663).

15 Erhard Schön, “Sergeant,” woodcut, ca. 1535, Göttingen, G. 1205 (Geissberg) Pass. 25, Rö. 214, probably cut and printed by Hans Guldenmund.

CHAPTER TWO

HALBERDS

A halberd is dened as being a cut and thrust combination staweapon, consisting at

rst of an elongated axe-like blade, early forms of which are sometimes described as knife- like, from which a vertical spike of varying shape and length arises. It is fastened to its shaft by two circular straps at the rear of the blade, referred to herein as “eyes”. 1 Later forms have a socket in the center of the blade to receive the shaft, longer and thinner spikes, and steel straps called “langets” (longue bandes de fer in French, and schaftbänder in German) issuing from the base of the blade socket down the shaft. A rear-facing beak is variably present in the early forms but is always to be found on later halberds. It had a piercing function (see gs. 7 and 10). A “ange” is present after ca. 1400. This is a rear facing at, mostly rectangular part below the base of the beak that extends down to the level of the base of the blade, thus forming a rear closure for the shaft socket. Its edges are often incised or scalloped. The ange disappeared from halberds again after ca. 1570. The word halberd is derived from the old German Halm, a shaft, and Barte, an early axe form, probably similar to the Viking ax blades. 2 According to the O.E.D., the word

“halberd” is not recorded in the English language until 1495. The Italian term is “alabarda,” the French, derived from the Italian, has been “hallebarde” since 1448 but was originally “alabarde” (after 1333). The Spanish word was originally “alabardero,” then “alabarda,” and was taken from French and Italian. 3 The Portuguese appellation is the same as the Spanish. The greatest variety of spellings of the word occurs in the tongue of its incep- tion: German. They are “helmbart(e)”, “halbart(e)”, “hellebarde”, “halparte”, (1920s) and stand apart from the medieval and renaissance terms that will be discussed later in this chapter. The most agreed on modern term in the German literature is “halbarte”. Two more terms should no longer be used because they are confusing as well as inac- curate. The rst that should be excised from the lexicon is the term “Vouge Suisse”, or simply vouge, and its various translations. “Vouge” refers to halberds before the use of a socket, when the blade, hafted by means of two “eyes”, in eect, describes the pre-circa 1400 weapon. The term is modern, having been used for the rst time by Viollet-le Duc

in the latter part of the nineteenth century, although he “quotes” earlier unnamed sources.

The term Vouge was used in the Middle Ages for a dierent weapon, one that is described

in chapter 18. The second term is the German expression Hippe (dened in the dictionary

as a sickle, hedging or pruning knife, billhook or scythe) and short for Kriegshippe, (war scythe) and also used to describe the pre-1400 halberds fastened to the shaft by eyes.

1 This term, used in Stone, G.C., A Glossary of the Construction Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor, Jack Brussel, N.Y. 1961, p. 654, is probably modern but seems preferable to “ring” or “tube”. The German equiv- alent terms vary in the literature, and are “Stangenring”, “Tulle”, or “Schaft öse”, but they are also modern. The French term “frette” was used by Viollet-le-Duc in 1875, but Buttin uses the term “bague” and “oeil”.

2 Gessler, E.A. “Das Aufkommen der Halbarte und Ihre Entwicklung von der Frühzeit bis in das 15. Jahrhundert,”

Revue Internationale d’Histoire Militaire, Paris, 1939–40. Vol. I, p. 145.

3 Corominas, J., Pascual, J.A., Diccionario Crítico Etimológico Castellano e Hispánico, Editorial Gredos S.A., Madrid

1980.

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chapter two

Clarication follows for yet another use of the word halberd in modern times. A small to medium sized weapon of early Bronze Age Europe (ca. 2000 B.C.), called a “halberd,” is discussed in the scholarly literature. 4 These objects were found in Irish bogs as well as in Scotland and are made from Irish copper. They have also been found in hoards as opposed to graves, and thus they show very little wear. This leads to the conclusion that they were likely not ghting weapons but were more ceremonial in nature. Similar blades are also designated Irish daggers, and one can be hard put to distinguish between the two types of blades, except that most “halberds” have slightly curved blades. They both have in common longitudinal ridges, a length of about 10–25 cm., and a shoulder at their base pierced for rivets, some of which have been found still in place. These rivets in the daggers serve to attach the one-piece grip and pommel, still present on some of the nds. A very ne example of a copper Irish dagger—a weapon designed to be used with one hand— is present in the London Museum, where it is mounted onto a modern shaft. An example of a very similar bronze Chinese form was de-accessioned from a provincial museum in China; also designated a “halberd” (g. 9), it is denitely not a dagger, and can easily be pictured mounted into a slot at the head of a shaft. The more accurate name of these archeological nds is “dagger axe,” 5 ji or ge in Chinese. 6 Only small number of such blades were excavated in Hubei province, China, intact with their shafts; the double and triple blade form bears the name ji, but single blades found elsewhere with- out their shafts could have been part of either a ji or the single bladed variety; ge, some of which were also found intact in the Hubei excavation. These shafted weapons, it is believed, did have military use, the long-shafted ji as a charioteer’s weapon and the shorter ge, as a foot-soldier’s. Reference is also made to the European early bronze-age “halberd” called “Dolchstabin German or “hafted dagger” in English. This hafting is done with a shafting plate (tang) passing horizontally through the wooden shaft at a level with the main blade, along the back of which are holes and slits for lashing. The actual shaft is relatively thin and bent backwards on top. Shang dynasty pictographs (ca. 1400 B.C.) show this weapon being car- ried over the shoulder, and in relation to the length of the person carrying it, some 4 feet in length. The shaft base is knob-shaped, and one such pictograph shows a trident at the base. The ge is not found outside of China, but analogies are seen in Oceania and Africa in addition to Bronze Age Europe. Beautiful examples, some with inlaid sea-animal gures, are found in Greece dating as far back as 1450 B.C. None of these items qualies for the name, or function of a European halberd. Considering the etymology of the word halberd, the use of the word in the association of this name with the weapons just discussed is a convention adopted by historians and archaeologists in the twentieth century. Returning now to the early development of the European halberds, as well as other shafted varieties; they appear very infrequently in the early wall paintings of Greek and Byzantine monasteries (6th to 8th centuries) but are virtually non-existent in those of the Cappadocian rock churches of the 8th to 12th centuries. A number of papers have been

4 Coles, J., “Scottish Early Bronze Age metalwork”, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 101, pp. 1–110 1968–9. Harbison, P. “The Daggers of the Early Bronze Age in Ireland,” Prähistorische Bronzefunde, division 6, vol. 1.

5 Loehr, M., Chinese Bronze Age Weapons from the Chinese National Palace Museum, Peking University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1956, pp. 49, 57.

6 Yang, X., ed. The Golden Age of Chinese Archaeology, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1999, p. 301, no. 102.

halberds

19

halberds 19 Fig. 9. Chinese dagger axe known as a “ji”. Bronze Age, but designated “halberd”

Fig. 9. Chinese dagger axe known as a “ji”. Bronze Age, but designated “halberd” in modern times. Private collection.

“halberd” in modern times. Private collection. Fig. 10. A very early halberd closely related to a

Fig. 10. A very early halberd closely related to a guisarme. Excavated in Alsace, near Basel, middle to second half of the 13th century. Note that the upper end of the blade is not yet particularly suited for thrusting, but a beak is already present, and welded to the upper eye. Courtesy of the Historical Museum of Bern, inv. no. 13741.

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published using early pictorial references to show the origin of hafted weapons such as the halberd to be a staweapon whose metal head is a scramasax or a scramasax-like blade with its tang centrally inserted into the wooden shaft end, and sometimes nailed to the side of a shaft. 7 These publications base their conclusions on the examination of a

Carolingian wall painting originally found in the Cloister of St. John in the town of Müstair in the Grisons, Switzerland, and which has been transferred to the Landesmuseum in Zurich. The weapons do have a long blade with a slightly convex cutting edge but are clearly not scramasaxes. The scramasax is a Frankish weapon; the long version of which was used as a sword in combat. It was common between the 4th and 7th centuries, had

a single cutting edge, grooved sides, and a length up to 40 inches. The short version out-

lived the long one and was used as a knife. As Schneider pointed out, it would be curious indeed to see a scramasax, which is a sword, suddenly transformed into a staweapon; there are, he concluded, cheaper ways to produce a cutting weapon than to ax an expen- sive sword to a sta. 8 In all probability there were multi-centric eorts to create such a weapon during the centuries following the turn of the rst millennium. Even the “devel- opment” such as we shall try to reconstruct it, ran in parallel series: some early forms having had long thin blades, angular and curving as in the Müstair painting; others had nearly untransformed squarish axes, and so on.

Portage of Arms by the Untitled Swiss

It is signicant that the use and development of arms, including staweapons, was accel-

erated in the peasant population of the old Swiss forest cantons, as opposed to peasants elsewhere. One major reason for this distinction is the fact that before the rst millen- nium they had been declared free, subject only to the royal person. King Louis the German initiated this situation by donating lands to the convent of Sts. Felix and Regula in the year 853. The important corollary to the donation mandated that all persons associated with the convent and area were given the privilege of enjoying what was called “Reichsfreiheit in German or freedom of the realm. Soon thereafter, inhabitants of the neighboring districts in Uri began to commend themselves to the abbey, thus obtaining the same privileges. This freedom included the right to bear arms, and this in turn allowed a familiarity with, and possession of, weapons that was forbidden elsewhere to persons without rank. The general oversight or rule of this original “free” territory was given by King Louis to an

advocatus” in Latin 9 or “vogt” in the German vernacular, somewhat similar to the func- tion of the English Medieval “Shire-Reeve” or “Sheri.” Soon after their creation, how- ever, these overseers began to restrict the customs and habits of their charges to the point of unjust repression and taxation, as is so well illustrated by the legend of Wilhelm Tell, so that these transgressions upon this system and its freedoms earned for the thirteenth century Habsburg family; the vogts of that time, the wrath and enmity of the “free” Swiss.

7 Gessler, E.A., Schweizerisches Landesmuseum. Führer durch die Waensammlung. Zurich, 1928, p. 52. Wegeli, R.,

Inventar der Waensammlung des Bernischen Historischen Museums in Bern. Bern, vol. III, p. 45. 1939. Bosson, C. “La Hallebarde.” Genava, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Genève. Ash, D., “The Fighting Halberd,” The Connoisseur, May

1950.

8 Schneider, Hugo, “Zur Fabrikation der Halbarte,” Zeitschrift für Schweizerische Archäologie und Kunstgeschichte,

Vol. 19, 1959, pp. 60–65.

9 Literally; “the voice for another” (the King’s).

halberds

21

The Emperor Frederick II, in 1240, granted the same freedoms to the inhabitants of the community of the Canton of Schwyz, which is adjacent to the Canton of Uri. For mutual protection, mainly against the Habsburgs, knowledge of ghting tactics was encour- aged in Uri, and as a result an informal voluntary part-time “standing” army was cre- ated. So engrained was the use of weapons in the population that a multitude of restrictive decrees were later issued by the townships limiting the use of these arms in an attempt to curb the brawling and violence associated with their portage. Thus in the same vein, and possibly as a protective measure, a decree of 1438 in the canton of Schwyz required every citizen earning twenty to forty pounds a year to purchase a breastplate and addi- tional breastplates for every multiple of forty pounds earned in a year. 10 This decree how- ever, probably served a dual purpose in that it also prepared the population for the eventuality of war. Reichsfreiheit in another form came as late as 1511 to the peasants and other folk in Tyrolia as a consequence of the general order by the emperor Maximilian, binding all eligible men for military service, but only for the defense of national bound- aries. Ancillary to this was the permission to possess weapons at home.

Possible Early Halberd Forms

Rudolph of Habsburg, leading troops from Strasbourg in 1262, defeated the bishop of Basel’s forces in the battle of Hausbergen using weapons called “Haches Danoises,” Danish axes. 11 These Danish axes, survivors of the Viking Age in Scandinavia, were long shafted weapons for two-handed use. The English called them broad axes, as the cutting edge of their convex blades could measure up to 30 cm. (g. 3). The form was triangular, that is, narrowing down sharply towards the haft portion, and ending as an “eye” just as the two eyes in the later halberds. Their construction was somewhat awkward and the mas- sive axe blade might have been broken ojust below the shaft eye after a heavy blow. It is also possible that some forms resembled either guisarmes, which were probably derived from Danish axes, or early halberds such as the groundnd in the Historical Museum of Bern (g. 10) that was excavated in Alsace near Basel and dated from the time of Hausbergen, or the Basel blade (g. 25). 12 Similar weapons were carried by soldiers from Canton Schwyz in 1289, in the service of Rudolph of Habsburg. 13 It is likely, therefore, that this form of early halberd was adopted by the soldiers of Basel and possibly devel- oped by them, as well as by soldiers of the original Swiss cantons, in those intervening years. These hafted weapons had changed forms rapidly during the next quarter century as evidenced by the results of the use of the deadly halberds in the battle of Morgarten in 1315. Certainly, if the Habsburg forces carried “halberds” during this battle, the weapons were a small minority compared to those of the Confederation and possibly still in the “undeveloped” style of the hache Danoise. This line of development paralleled another one typied by the squarish axe-like form seen in the St. Lambert panel, and the surviving

10 Laont, R. The Ancient Art of Warfare, ILTE Turin, 1966, p. 451.

11 The discussion and facts are in part taken from: Schneewind, W., Sonderabdruck aus dem Basler Jahrbuch, 1957, pp. 99–100.

12 There is evidence that will be discussed in a later chapter, that there were halberds—even earlier than

1250.

13 Schneewind, W., ibid.

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example, as well as the sixteenth century woodcut seen in gs. 5, 15, and 16. This form had, by the late fteenth century, metamorphosed to the same form as other Swiss hal- berds. In any case it seems likely that one particular form of an early polearm such as a Danish axe, or a gisarme derived from a Danish axe either in one or several localities, developed into what eventually became a “halberd,” and another developed into an elon- gated cutting arm such as a fauchard, vouge, couteau de brèche, or bardiche. Some became percussive weapons, but most evolved into some form of combination weapon designed to cut and thrust. Even in late periods of development, such as the end of the fteenth and beginning sixteenth centuries, the distinction between the weapons is sometimes blurred, and the nomenclature in both old and modern literature even more so. According to the article published in 1928 and expanded in 1939 by E.A. Gessler, the rst mention of the word “halberd” is in a text by the poet Konrad of Würzburg, who died in 1287. 14 He uses it in a poem on the Trojan War, stressing its deadly nature and writes in Middle-High German:

Sechs Tusend Man Ze Fuoz Bereit Die Truogen Hallenbarten Ser Unde Wol Geslien Swaz si Damite Ergrien Daz Was Ze Töde Gar Verlorn.

Six thousand ready men on foot They carried halberds So well sharpened that those Who were hit by them Were lost to death. 15

In 1348, the Franciscan, John of Winterthur, described the battle of Morgarten (1315) in his chronicles in which battle his own father was a combatant. He commented on the deadliness of the halberd:

Habebant quoque Switenses in manibus quedam instumente occisionis qesa in vulgari illo appellata helnbartam valde terribilia, quibus adversarios rmissime armatos quasi cum novacula diviserunt et in frusta conciderunt.

The Swiss had in their hands a terrible sort of weapon called a halberd in the vernacular, with which they cut through their enemy’s armor as though with a razor, and reduced them to pieces. 16

And again, reiterating the description by the king of Bohemia of the mercenaries of Glarus serving in the army of Ludwig of Austria in 1330 at Colmar, John said:

Rex Boemus pertransiens per circuitum castrorum ducis et perveniems ad aciem virorum de Glarus vidensque eorum instrumenta bellica et vasa interfectionis gesa dicta in vulgari helnbarton, amirans ait: o quam terribilis aspectus est istius cunei cum suis instrumentis horribilibus et non modicum metuendis.

As the King of Bohemia passed through the camp of the Duke and reached the battle lines of the men of Glarus, he saw their ghting equipment and the murderous weapons, the Gesa, in dialect called halberds, and said with amazement: “What a terrible sight this wedge for- mation is, with its horrible and frightening instruments of death. 17

14 Gessler, E.A., ibid., footnote 15.

15 “Der Trojanischer Krieg von Konrad von Würzburg,” A. Von Keller ed. Stuttgart 1858 p. 358, v. 30050, as quoted by Gessler, E.A. In “Das Aufkommen der Halbarte von ihrer Frühzeit bis zum Ende des 14. Jahrhunderts”, Stans, 1928. English translation by the author.

16 “Johannis Vitodurani Chronicon,” Archiv für Schweizer Geschichte, vol. II., Zürich, 1846, Gessler E.A., ibid., footnote 15, English translation by the author.

17 “Johannis Vitidurani Chronicon,” Mon. Germ. Hist. Scriptores III, Berlin 1924, quoted in Gessler, E.A. ibid., footnote 15, English translation by the author.

halberds

23

An illustration in a German Psalter stylistically relatable to the early thirteenth century (g. 11), shows a halberd in the hands of a soldier in a “Betrayal and Arrest of Christ” scene. 18 Several groundnds exist that mirror this precise type. The fact that they have been thought of as somewhat later creations (ca. 1280), will be discussed in the next chapter. An early but indisputable halberd is depicted in an al secco wall painting in the choir of the mid-fourteenth century chapel in St. Nicklausen, Canton Obwald in Switzerland, executed ca. 1370–1380. It is held by a sleeping soldier, as a part of the Resurrection scene (g. 12). The soldier is dressed in a full suit of mail including a coif and chausses, over which he wears a surcoat, perhaps of leather. This defensive armor style is that of the early fourteenth century. 19 His halberd blade is short, massive and almost square, ris- ing to a relatively short obtuse point. The short shaft appears to be only 3–4 feet long and passes through a lower eye into a socket integral with the superior part of the blade. The point (which cannot yet be designated a spike) is in line with the shaft in contrast to most early halberds where the point is in front of the shaft. Two halberds from a Book of Hours of about 1380 seen in g. 13 (contemporary with the battle of Sempach of 1386), show little change in style from the far earlier type rep- resented in the previous illustration from the early thirteenth century German Psalter (g. 11). 20 The left one of the two in g. 13 is quite distinct from the other in that the lower part of the blade extends itself to a point well below the lower eye. It is therefore a still more elongated and less massive halberd than the type seen in g. 12 and that in the St. Lambert panel in Graz (g. 5). The other is very similar to the one in the early thirteenth century German Psalter, and to the earliest ground nds of Basel, Bern, and Zurich. A similar halberd with a slightly more elongate blade and more acute point is present in the hands of the Legionary behind the Roman captain in a crucixion scene, the sub- ject of the oldest pictorial woodblock known: the Bois Protat (g. 14). This block, one of three used for the print, has survived from the second half of the fourteenth century. Although no original prints survive, modern prints have been pulled from the block. The short ared cuof the captain’s gauntlet with what appears to be a brass border is con- sistent with a date of about 1370–1375. 21 Because they appear to be rough and primitive, two halberds in a panel painting of 1430, by the Master of the Votive Panel of St. Lambert that is now hung in the Alte Galerie in Graz, Austria, are most interesting. The rst is in the hands of the man on foot involved in recovering arms and armor from the dead in a battleeld scene; the sec- ond is a similar weapon in the right upper corner in the midst of a mêlée (g. 5). These two weapons appear simply as large axe blades mounted on a pole, each with two large eyes. Both appear to be far older in style than the date of the painting. 22 The upper and lower ends of the blade are pointed and similar, but the upper is more acute and slightly

18 Betrayal and Arrest of Christ, Psalter, Germany, thirteenth century. Paris Bibliothèque Nationale MS., lat. 17961, folio 113, verso.

19 The armor is very similar to that shown in an illustration in the “Sachsenspiegel” of ca. 1330 of Eike von Repgow.

20 Betrayal and Arrest of Chris. Très Belles Heures, France, 1380–1413, Paris Bibliothèque Nationale MS. nouv. acq. Lat. 3093, folio 181, recto,

21 Boccia, Rossi, Morin, “Armi e Armature Lombarde”, Electa Editrice, 1980. gs. 12, 13.

22 However, it should be noted that simple forms such as these, made by local blacksmiths working in rel- ative isolation, might look quite dierent from contemporary weapons of urban centers.

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24 chapter two Fig. 12. Detail of a wall painting in the chapel of St. Nicklausen,

Fig. 12. Detail of a wall painting in the chapel of St. Nicklausen, Canton Obwald, Switzerland, ca. 1375. The halberd’s shaft is “capped”, that is, the superior eye is integral with the upper back portion of the blade and is closed on top.

halberds

25

halberds 25 Fig. 14. Reduced modern impression from the right hand wood block (one of the

Fig. 14. Reduced modern impression from the right hand wood block (one of the original three) called the Bois Protat, ca. 1370–80. The halberd is capped as in g. 12 but appears to have a longer shaft. The orig- inal woodblock is in the Paper Museum of the city of Basel, Switzerland. Private collection.

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longer. The uppermost portion of the shaft is shaped into a spike and protrudes some 30 cm. or so above the upper eye. A halberd blade like this one is illustrated in g. 15, mounted on a new shaft. A similar weapon is illustrated in a much later woodcut in the mid-sixteenth century Swiss chronicle of Johann Stumpf (g. 16) on p. 647 of the second edition. The illustration is meant to depict a late-fteenth-century combatant and uses what is likely a much earlier surviving weapon as a model. The halbardier wears a Swiss dagger, or more probably a Basilard (only the pommel and part of the grip is visible) worn as a sword on the left side, both of which were typical weapons of the rst half of the sixteenth century, along with a long-sleeved mail shirt. 23 The backward facing plumes on his cap help identify him as a Swiss reislaüfer or soldier. 24 This rather primitive form of a halberd relied on a sharpened wooden stafor thrusting rather than a modied upper blade portion as in all other halberds. Unless a lance-like point was fastened onto this spike, it could not have been terribly eective against armor. In the St. Lambert illustra- tion, no such metal point is seen. The blunt axe-like halberd with a wooden spike, per- haps of peasant manufacture, had probably fallen out of use by the mid fteenth century and was certainly a less capable weapon than the all steel head type present since the thirteenth century. In contrast to this type, there are illustrations in the cloister library in Engelberg, Switzerland, in Codex 339, that dates from 1380–1390, and that depicts the Passion of Christ (gs. 17a, 17b). In these pictures, the soldiers carry halberds that are in a form essentially like the one in the National Museum in Zurich, LM 13675 (g. 29) that was excavated from the battleeld of Morgarten (1315), except that the point of the spike in one of the Codex illustrations is in line with the shaft rather than in front of it. These are the types of halberds that were used at the battle of Sempach in 1386, and they should not be confused with the modern and erroneous term “Sempach” halberd, and which refers to a seventeenth century halberd (see chapter 3). In general it is true that the later the halberd style, the more the spike point moves back in relation to the shaft; however, variations and exceptions do occur. The woodcut depicting scenes from of Dorneck, the decisive battle of the Swabian War in 1499, clearly shows halberds whose spike points are in front of the axis of the pole. 25 They had either survived from earlier times and were favored by reputation as being battle-worthy, or, as was more likely, the earlier type continued being constructed contemporaneously with more “advanced or developed” forms whose spike points were in line with (and some- times behind) the shaft axis. These types can be seen in a partial view of the Swiss force in g. 18. This large colored woodcut, printed from two blocks and vertically joined in the center; was created by an unknown Swiss artist who depicts the merciless rout of the Burgundian and German forces of Maximilian I in 1499, at the castle of Dorneck. The Burgundians, marked by an “X” on their clothing and armor symbolizing the cross of St. Andrew, are being hacked, speared, and decapitated by the halberd-wielding Swiss foot soldiers, marked by the cross of St. George on their clothes. The various gures reproduced here (gs. 19, 20, 21, 22) show the techniques of use of the halberds, such as thrusting with the spike and, huge overhead swings using the

23 The basilard is a dagger, popular in both fteenth and sixteenth-century Switzerland and Germany.

24 Bächtiger, F., Bemerkungen zum “Widersacher” des Eidgenossen von 1529, Zeitschrift für Schweizerische Archäologie und Kunstgeschichte, 1980 vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 252–259.

25 Dorneck 1499,” Anonymous colored woodcut—Kupferstichkabinet, Kunstmuseum, Basel.

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halberds 27 Fig. 15. Early halberd blade resembling that in the foreground of the St. Lambert

Fig. 15. Early halberd blade resembling that in the foreground of the St. Lambert Panel in Graz (g. 5) and mounted on a new shaft. Note that the St. Lambert halberd’s shaft extends above the upper eye and is sharp- ened to a point, that is, into a wooden spike. Private collection.

a point, that is, into a wooden spike. Private collection. Fig. 16. Swiss warrior carrying a

Fig. 16. Swiss warrior carrying a halberd with a (presumably) sharpened extension of the shaft above the blade and resembling that of gs. 5 and 15. Mid 16th century Swiss chronicle of Johan Stumpf. It is prob- able that the woodcut itself is from a slightly earlier period, that is, early 16th century, but the halberd itself is of 15th century manufacture. Courtesy of Karl Mohler, Basel.

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28 chapter two Figs. 17a and b. Two representations from the Passion in Codex 339 “Mystisches
28 chapter two Figs. 17a and b. Two representations from the Passion in Codex 339 “Mystisches

Figs. 17a and b. Two representations from the Passion in Codex 339 “Mystisches Traktat zum Leiden Christi”, Luzern, 1396, in the library of the Benedictine Cloister in Engelberg, Switzerland. The halberd in the door- way of the building in 17b is a pure “Sempach” form; the one in the right of 17a is described in the text as the “capped” form with the spike in line with the shaft. Courtesy of the library of the Cloister.

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blade (gs. 19, 20), as well as sideward swings of the weapon (gs. 21, 22). It is again noteworthy that the weapons used were more than one hundred years apart in style. The earlier types were only slightly later than Morgarten (gs. 21, 22) and were used beside “1499” types (gs. 19, 20) which were manufactured without great change during the lat- ter half of the fteenth century and in the rst quarter of the sixteenth century. Judging from the remaining details in the woodcut, especially the arms and armor worn, the illus- tration is in all likelihood created close to 1499. 26 There is no doubt that there is an “evo- lution” of the form of the halberd in both warfare and civil defense, but noting the example of the above woodcut of 1499, this evolution is anything but linear. There is, in a Bohemian panel painting of the second half of the 13th century, a type of halberd diering from the rapidly developing Swiss models. A typical example is seen in the hands of a soldier in the panel painting of the resurrection of Christ by the Master of the T®eboÏnskÿ Altar, formerly in the National Gallery in Prague and now in the Cloister of St. Agnes in that city. It resembles somewhat the type seen in the St. Lambert panel (g. 5) but is more slender. The eyes are slightly further from the back of the blade, which has an inferior point usually indented on the back side and slightly shorter than the supe- rior point of the blade—which is questionably useful for thrusting. It bears, therefore, a remote resemblance to the halberds in gs. 15 and 16. There can be one or two small beaks (pointed straight back) welded to the eyes, as well as a spear-like metal point cap- ping the shaft, the latter being of the usual length. An early but unusually formed halberd is pictured in the hands of the soldier-guard of the tomb in a Bohemian Resurrection panel painting by the Hohenfurther Master, of ca. 1350. This halberd shows the presence of a cylindrical cap-spike curved backwards at the tip to which a blade is solidly attached without eyes; it has a slightly convex cutting edge, not unlike the primitive one in the St. Lambert panel. The curved spike, fused eyes, and extremely attenuated blade points are probably the idiosyncratic depiction by this artist. 27 By contrast, an early halberd is depicted in Martin Schongauer’s engraved Passion of about 1480 in the “Christ Taken” scene in the hands of a fully armored man wearing a visored hounskull (pig-faced basinet) of about 1400. The halberd, of approximately the same date (g. 23), is fastened to its shaft by eyes and has a large slightly forward-curved spike, retaining nonetheless its thrusting function. Although only one such surviving halberd has been identied (it is located in the castle of Chillon), near Lausanne, Switzerland, Schongauer’s acute sense of detail and accurate depictions lead one to believe that this form existed in somewhat larger numbers at that time. These details also demonstrate that a man of means might have kept himself in the lat- est style of arms and armor, but that a common soldier certainly could not aord to do

26 Breastplates are two piece “Gothic”; these are not made after 1500. Helmets, when worn, are visored German sallets (Fig. 11) and swords have both wheel-pommels with S shaped quillons (Fig. 9) as well as vase shaped pommels, which are beginning to replace the wheel-pommel by 1450 (Fig. 7). It should be noted here that, especially in this period of time, that artists, whether or not they were actual witnesses of a scene or event would depict it using the latest in style, arms, architecture, etc. The rule is not absolute, but very use- ful in dating a work of art. In this case, the fact that various types of weapons and armor are shown prob- ably indicates that the artist was an actual witness. It was not uncommon, in fact, to nd artist-soldiers; well known ones include Niklaus Manuel Deutsch and Urs Graf.

27 What justies calling this weapon a halberd is the fact that a simple axe would not have a spike; and a pollaxe, which may have a short spike, would not have as long a shaft, and would not be found in the hands of a common soldier acting as a guard in the fourteenth century. The pollaxe is found mainly in the fteenth and early sixteenth centuries, and was an elaborate and expensive weapon, used mainly by the nobility. (See chapter 15).

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30 chapter two Fig. 23. Martin Schongauer, “Christ Taken” from the engraved passion, ca. 1480. Note

Fig. 23. Martin Schongauer, “Christ Taken” from the engraved passion, ca. 1480. Note the non-contemporary halberd shafted by “eyes” and the slightly forward curved spike. Courtesy Vassar College.

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so and could count himself most fortunate to possess armor of, in this instance, some sixty years of age. The halberd, a far less expensive item to acquire, was therefore more a mat- ter of personal choice for the foot soldier (halberds were not used by mounted warriors). This particular early weapon, as depicted by Schongauer, although “antiquated” in his day, was just as functional as the later halberd forms of 1460–1480. The peasant foot- soldier or landsknecht, once having acquired a ghting arm as required by the muster; the repair or replacement of the weapon, damaged or lost in military use, was the respon- sibility of the army command, not the soldier. Some of the reasons given for the rise in the success of the early halberd as a weapon of the infantry were the Reichsfreiheit of the non-titled, which gave them the freedom to bear arms. Propositions for the development of halberds from earlier weapons are given, as almost no written, pictorial or other surviving evidence is known to exist of the 12th- and early 13th-centuries, when this evolution took place. Descriptions of its deadliness in the ancient literature which recounted the fear it evoked in its victims, and contemporary depictions of them in use, now lead us to discuss the ner details of the physical weapon from the early to the late forms by studying the extant examples themselves.

the fi ner details of the physical weapon from the early to the late forms by

CHAPTER THREE

EXTANT EXAMPLES OF HALBERDS

The following is an attempt to list the features of the design and structure of halberds, focusing on the evolution of the manufacture itself and recognizing again that all through- out this period of time, older and “outdated” halberds were in active use side by side with newer and developing forms. This chapter is based primarily, although not solely, on the study of surviving halberds rather than pictorial evidence. The latter, although immensely helpful in general, does not provide ne detail the way an actual weapon does. If one can imagine the diculty encountered by art historians in arranging in chronological order solely by stylistic criteria, the undated prints of an artist such as Albrecht Dürer or Rembrandt van Rijn for example, then it becomes obvious that trying to arrange halberds in chronological order can also be a dicult matter. The variables here include: dierent smiths (dozens judging from the stamped marks), dierent locations of manufacture (regional or national), preferences of styles, (that is, the persistence of an older style because of per- sonal experience), failed experiments, and the degree of exposure a given style has in conicts, which in turn can introduce a style to a new region. It is, furthermore, not pos- sible to know which important forms in the course of such a development were destroyed during those developmental years and the metal reused to make more recent or “advanced” forms. Nonetheless, judging by surviving examples and illustrations of those times, a cer- tain line of evolution (and involution) took shape over centuries. As in human evolution, it is dicult to state specically when proto-halberds yielded to early examples of the complete weapon. Notwithstanding the possibility of a missing link, some of the earliest ground nds that merit being called halberds, are present in the col- lection of the Historical Museum of Basel, the Landesmuseum in Zürich and in the Historical Museum of Bern. The Zurich blades were used to illustrate the earliest phases of the development of halberds in the 1939 article by Gessler 1 and later again by Schneider. 2 These weapons are typically long, thin, faintly crescent shaped, and have a convex cut- ting edge. The rst (pictured at the left on p. 149, g. 18, in Gessler’s article, and repro- duced here as g. 24) rises to a point which is not yet demarcated as a spike and has a questionable thrusting function: the vector of forces of such a thrust would put great stress on the lower eye, tending to move it forward. It thus diers in this respect from all sub- sequent halberds. The lower end of the blade is pulled-in (narrow) and has a thin ring- like eye welded onto it. A second eye is present on the mid portion of the blade back and appears somewhat stronger. The upper eye has a smaller diameter than the lower one. An almost identical blade is present in Basel (No. 1873.24, g. 25) in relatively good condition. The rear edge of this blade, beginning at the tip, is sharpened down to and including the section between the eyes. A very similar halberd blade, mounted on a mod- ern shaft, is in the collection of the Historical Museum of Bern 3 (g. 10); it diers only

1 Gessler, E.A., Das Aufkommen der Halbarte.

2 Schneider, H., “Gedanken zur Halbarte aus Hünenberg,” Helvetia Archaeologica, Schwabe & Co., Basel.

3 It is pictured and described in the 1945 Copenhagen monograph by Martin Ellehauge, entitled “The Glaive.” He dates it, as does the author, to the thirteenth century.

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in that it possesses a small straight triangular beak welded on to the rear of the upper eye. Traditionally these three halberd blades are assigned to the last two decades of the thirteenth century, but as can be seen in g. 11, in a German Psalter which shows a very similar halberd on a shaft approximately 2 meters long and is dated to the earlier part of the thirteenth century, this form is already present some half century earlier. Reference should be made to an illustration not reproduced here, in order to point out how variably in a given period of time the spread of a new weapon form occurs. The Scrovegni Chapel in Padua contains one of the great masterpieces of the early fourteenth century: the fresco cycles by Giotto of 1305. In the “Betrayal and Arrest” scene, two staweapons are present (left and right) resembling early halberds such as the rst three described above. The weapons dier only from these three in one respect; the lowest por- tion of the blade is attached to the pole only by a nail-like extension, which pierced the shaft and was probably bent over on the other side. This shows that this “halberd”-form of manufacture existed in Italy by 1305, but there is not evidence that it was further devel- oped or used there at this time, nor really until well over a century later. In fact the hal- berd appears never to have been used in great numbers in battles in Italy as it was in the North, but made a transition via the “scorpion” form, which was indeed a powerful weapon of the late fteenth and early sixteenth centuries, to a decorative guard or parade weapon in that country later in that century. What may also be signicant about this illustration is the observation that the weapon on the left as well as on the right has a lower nailed fastening like in a guisarme (see chapter 14). This may in fact distinguish them from a true halberd. This type of a lower fastening may have just preceded the establishment of the lower eye of halberds and may have been a transitional form between the Danish great axes and the thirteenth century halberd blades excavated. If so, the transition must have occurred earlier than ca. 1230 (see g. 11) because shortly after that time the earliest true halberd forms are already shown in illustrations. Also, this example points out another vexing problem, that of seman- tics or nomenclature. Troso in his book, citing the illustration above calls the weapon on the left a Swiss voulge, and the one on the right, a bardiche. 4 Borg, writing a very enlight- ened article on “Gisarmes and Great Axes” calls the Giotto weapon an axe, probably Danish, but concludes that these elongated axe-like weapons were soon called gisarmes (guisarmes). 5 Very similar weapons are pictured in the fresco cycle by Barna of Siena in the Collegiate Church in San Gimigniano, on the second arcade panel entitled the “Betrayal and Arrest,” said to have been executed towards the middle of the fourteenth century. Furthermore, three other extant weapons can be included in a catalog of the earliest halberds. Halberd no. 2 in Gessler’s g. 13 (g. 26) is no longer convex and saber-like. It has a long, thin, rectangular blade, eyes similar to the previous one but clearly shows a slight angulation of the blade backwards above the level of the upper eye, a faint indi- cation of a “spike” and is certainly functional as a thrusting weapon. A similar but slightly later halberd appeared as lot no. 1 in a 1959 Galerie Fischer (Lucerne) sale catalog. 6 It shows a long narrow blade with a vertical measurement 4 to 5 times its width, and it narrows again towards the base. The superior end sweeps back into the relatively long at spike with a minimal concavity. No beak is present. These ve weapons described in

4 Troso, M., ibid.

5 Borg, A., Gisarmes and Great Axes, Journal of the Arms and Armor Society, vol. 8, 1974–76, pp. 337–342.

6 Galerie Fischer, Luzern, Waenauktion Frühe Schweizer Waen, Sammlung Boissonas, November 25, 1959 (Katalog

136).

extant examples of halberds

35

extant examples of halberds 35 Fig. 24. Early halberds in the Landesmuseum, Zurich. From an illustration

Fig. 24. Early halberds in the Landesmuseum, Zurich. From an illustration in the 1928 article by E.A. Gessler on the development of the halberd. The individual blades are discussed in the text, and numbered left to right.

are discussed in the text, and numbered left to right. Fig. 25. This 13th century halberd

Fig. 25. This 13th century halberd in Basel (inv. no. 1873.24, neg. no. 12375) measures 47 cm. in length and has a greatest width of 6.5 cm. It is almost identical to the rst halberd in g. 24, including the triangular top eye. Courtesy of the Historisches Museum, Basel.

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36 chapter three Fig. 26. Halberd #2 in fi g. 24, late 13th century, found near

Fig. 26. Halberd #2 in g. 24, late 13th century, found near Rorbas, Canton Zurich. It measures 42 cm. in length and has a greatest width of 7 cm. The upper eye is almost completely broken o. Note that the blade back is now straight and useful for thrusting. Courtesy of the Landesmuseum, Zurich, inv. no. 4327.

Courtesy of the Landesmuseum, Zurich, inv. no. 4327. Fig. 27. Halberd #3 in fi g. 24.

Fig. 27. Halberd #3 in g. 24. It is the rst to show a real indent between the blade and the spike. The length is 43 cm., the spike is 15 cm., and its weight is 960 g. It was found amongst the vine roots in Cormondrèche near Neuchâtel. Courtesy of the Landesmuseum, Zurich, inv. no. LM6345.

extant examples of halberds

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the last two paragraphs precede the Morgarten types that follow; they are certainly thir- teenth century arms. The third halberd in Gessler’s g. 13 (g. 27) is slightly later. Although similar to the preceding two it shows a clear cut indentation of the cutting edge of the blade above the upper eye demarcating the at short spike with a low central ridge, both edges of which are sharp. The blade is heavier, more solid and rectangular. The bottom edge has a very slight downward slant. The eyes are stronger, of larger and equal diameters and thicker vertically. Its date is probably around 1300. The fourth weapon in Gessler’s g. 13 (g. 27) is very likely a modern copy. 7 Fig. 28 is of a groundnd mounted on a new pole in the collection of the Historical Museum of Berne; it is slightly later but very similar to the halberd in g. 27, and appears to be the immediate predecessor of the fth halberd in Gessler’s g. 13 (g. 29). This last was found in the 1860’s buried in the stump of a tree, which was being removed from the soil very near the memorial on the battleeld of Morgarten (1315), between it and the lake of Aegeri. Although it appears massive and short, this is only because the spike tip has broken o; it must have been originally at least 4 cm. longer. The author’s recon- struction is depicted in g. 30. The base of the blade was missing a piece when originally found, as well as a small fragment removed in modern times for metallurgic analysis. The next six halberds pictured, including one already described (g. 24, no. 5, and gs. 19, 21, 22, 23, 25) are classic for the forms following the battle of Morgarten (1315) to the end of the fourteenth century and are characterized by a slightly longer blade, longer tubular eyes that are closer together and a straight, slightly convex, or most frequently concave sweep from the top of the blade to the tip of the at broad spike. A good example is shown in g. 31, recovered from the river Broye in Switzerland, and showing the massive lower eye as well as the emerging quadrangular spike tip. Another river nd, seen in g. 32 shows yet more elongation of the blade, and dates to about the mid-14th century. It begins to resemble the typical halberd used at the battle of Sempach (1386). Any or all these halberds might have had a small beak arising from around the shaft between the eyes, or from the upper eye (gs. 35, 36). An excavated halberd blade from the last quarter of the fourteenth century is present in the historical museum of the town of Murten (Morat in French), the site of the battle in 1476 marking the second major defeat of Charles the Bold on Swiss soil. It diers from the Morgarten halberd of 1315, in that the blade is slightly longer, just as is the halberd blade in g. 32, and also shows a signicant change in the spike, which is at and sharp- ened in the front, swelling slightly towards the rear, and forming a primitive “quadran- gular” (actually triangular) thickening near the tip. This thickening became more pronounced with time, and coexisted with the at spike throughout most of the fteenth century. But by the sixteenth century, the spike points were almost universally quadrangular, except for the at sword-like spikes seen mostly in Germany. The spike point in the Murten blade and other halberds of the fourteenth century was still in front of the shaft line.

7 The word copy is used here in a neutral sense, meaning simply that the piece is made to look like an older piece (style) i.e. is not original. What is not implied in using the word “copy,” is whether the piece was meant to deceive the modern eye, or merely represent the form of an older original piece. Copies without intent to deceive (deceive = fake) usually can be distinguished by means of a clear (modern) maker’s mark or some identifying icon stamped into it. Dr Matthias Senn, curator of Arms and Armor in the Landesmuseum in Zurich agrees with the interpretation of this weapon as a copy.

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38 chapter three Fig. 28. Halberd of about 1300–20, very similar to the one in fi

Fig. 28. Halberd of about 1300–20, very similar to the one in g. 27. Note that both edges of the spike are sharpened as well as the rear blade edge between the eyes. Courtesy of the Historisches Museum Bern, inv. no. 3463.

Courtesy of the Historisches Museum Bern, inv. no. 3463. Fig. 29. Halberd blade with a broken

Fig. 29. Halberd blade with a broken spike probably used at the battle of Morgarten in 1315 and excavated there in the 1860’s. Note how compact and massive the weapon is. Courtesy of the Landesmuseum, Zurich, inv. no. 13153.

extant examples of halberds

39

extant examples of halberds 39 Fig. 30. Reconstructed drawing of the halberd in fi g. 29,

Fig. 30. Reconstructed drawing of the halberd in g. 29, Landesmuseum, Zurich, inv. no. 13153.

halberd in fi g. 29, Landesmuseum, Zurich, inv. no. 13153. Fig. 31. Halberd blade closely following

Fig. 31. Halberd blade closely following the Morgarten blade of g. 29 of ca. 1330, (?). Note the very long lower eye. Ex. collection Charles Boissonnas, found in the river Broye in the 19th century. Photo courtesy of Landesmuseum, Zurich.

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40 chapter three Fig. 32. Halberd blade on a new pole somewhat after the one in

Fig. 32. Halberd blade on a new pole somewhat after the one in g. 31 (ca. 1350?). It is larger and more slender. The blade is slightly drawn in at the base. Ex collection Charles Boissonnas. Found in the river Thièle in the 19th century. Photo courtesy of the Landesmuseum Zurich.

19th century. Photo courtesy of the Landesmuseum Zurich. Fig. 33. Halberd blade of the middle of

Fig. 33. Halberd blade of the middle of the 14th cen- tury, found in 1985 in 5 meters (16 ft.) of water in the Greifensee (Switzerland) near the shore. Two small pieces of the stawere trapped in the eyes but were lost during the process of conservation. It measures 37 cm. in length; the spike is 14.2 cm. and its weight 578 g. Courtesy of the Landesmuseum, Zurich, inv. no. KZ 11476.

extant examples of halberds

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Between the time of the battle of Morgarten and the end of the century, the method of construction and nishing of the early halberds with two rear shaft eyes appears to have varied greatly. Careful examination of the original ground- and water-nds in the Landesmuseum in Zürich (LM KZ 11476, 6345, 13153, 3453, g. 24), and the weapon in g. 37, reveals in some, a faint longitudinal indentation in the rear edge of the blade, indicating that the blade consists of either two pieces of iron, hammer welded, or a single piece folded on itself at the cutting edge and then welded together (g. 44). The actual cutting edge leading up to the spike tip and down the back side to the upper eye could have been made of hardened high carbon content steel and welded onto a central por- tion of the blade of softer iron with a technique allowing the hardened qualities of the steel to persist. In these specimens the front or rear vertical joint lines are of course, not visible. Unlike the method of construction proposed in Schneider’s article of 1983, 8 the eyes on these early blades are not always separate pieces of metal welded over the rear edge of the blade but were sometimes integral with the blade before the welding as two rectan- gular straps which are then bent around a mandrel to conform to the diameter of the shaft and then hammer welded on one side of the blade (gs. 29, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42). In the well-preserved halberd in the Landesmuseum of Zurich, (KZ 11476, g. 33), a water-nd from the Greifensee in Switzerland, these weld marks are especially clear through the slight corrosion that has occurred. The much longer lower eye has a great overlap with the blade body and the weld edge is only a short distance from the front cutting edge (approximately 1.5 cm.). The upper eye is welded onto the blade very close to the rear cutting edge, again only 1.5 cm. from the cutting edge. The same technique is seen in the construction of DEP 3453 in the Landesmuseum of Zurich, found during the exca- vation of the castle of Hünenberg in 1945 (g. 34). This halberd shows a central ridge down the entire length of the spike to the upper eye. Also in contrast to Schneider’s diagram in his article, most blades, as previously men- tioned, were constructed out of two leaves or a folded one (gs. 42, 44). Some eyes were, as proposed by Schneider, a separate strap welded to the blade on both sides (g. 37 top eye and g. 43). One of these, having come apart, is pictured in g. 36. Finally, these early types can be distinguished by the fact that the rear edge of the spike, which is invari- ably located just in front of the shaft, was sharpened just like the front edge. This area of sharpening is quite wide (approximately 1 cm.) and is angled, giving the cross section of the spike a at hexagonal appearance. Between the middle of the fourteenth century and the middle of the fteenth, the spike became somewhat longer and thinner, allowing the front and rear sharpened edges to meet in the middle, thus forming a quadrangular cross section instead of a hexagonal one. The halberd in g. 35 has a curved rear langet, as well as the remnants of an anterior one. Both langets appear to have been welded on. This halberd is from approximately 1390; it shows the spike tip to have a faint swelling creating a quadrangular cross section. The rear edge of the spike, however, was still sharp- ened down to the upper eye. A very similar halberd in the collection of the Royal Armouries in Leeds gives some insight into the techniques of manufacture. It has a long slender beak welded on to the upper eye, which is in itself somewhat crudely welded to the rear edge of the blade. The spike which is slightly shorter than the one in g. 35, appears to be sharpened down

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42 chapter three Fig. 34. Halberd blade found in the excavation of the castle of Hünenberg,

Fig. 34. Halberd blade found in the excavation of the castle of Hünenberg, Canton Zug in 1945. Length 39.5 cm., weight 590 g. Second third of the 14th cen- tury. Displayed in the Landesmuseum, Zurich, inv. no. Dep. 3453. Courtesy of the Landesmuseum Zurich.

inv. no. Dep. 3453. Courtesy of the Landesmuseum Zurich. Fig. 35. Halberd blade on a replacement

Fig. 35. Halberd blade on a replacement staand with a separate beak, the latter showing the weld mark. End of the 14th century. The thick curved dorsal langet appears at about this time (see also g. 37), the ante- rior one is sometimes a later addition. What is novel in this weapon is that the spike point is in line with the shaft because of its slight backward lean. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 14.25.35.

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extant examples of halberds 43 Fig. 36. Halberd blade on a new sta ff with distinct

Fig. 36. Halberd blade on a new stawith distinct and partially dehiscent weld marks. A posterior rounded langet is present as well as a small beak as part of the upper eye. Note the slight forward curve of the beak edge of the at spike (vaguely like g. 23). This is one of the last halberds before the change in haft- ing from “eyes” to a socket. Courtesy of the Historisches Museum, Bern.

to a socket. Courtesy of the Historisches Museum, Bern. Fig. 37. Halberd of ca. 1400 with

Fig. 37. Halberd of ca. 1400 with a long narrow blade and an angled convexity leading to the spike which also leans backwards slightly so that the point as in g. 35 is in line with the shaft. The spike tip is clearly reinforced and the last 3.5 cm. are quadrangular. The blade measures 43.8 cm. in length. Only a short rear langet is present. It has possibly the oldest surviving shaft, and one of the last of a round diameter, which measures 181 cm. in length and has a diameter of 3.8 cm. just below the langet. The shaft between the eyes measures 3.1 cm. in diameter and appears to be made of a soft wood such as pine. It is also among the last halberds before the appearance of sockets, but as shown throughout this book, such types were prob- ably made and used until late in the 15th century and are shown in illustrations of ca. 1500 alongside later forms. Private collection.

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44 chapter three Fig. 38. Schematic diagram illustrating the method of creating the “eyes” on a

Fig. 38. Schematic diagram illustrating the method of creating the “eyes” on a 14th century halberd. A man- drel would have been inserted during the nal bending of the eye and during the hammer welding process. The Morgarten blade in Zurich (g. 29) was created in this way. Hardened steel might have subsequently been welded on the cutting edges of the blade, the spike point and the beak, if there was one.

the blade, the spike point and the beak, if there was one. Fig. 39. Two photographs
the blade, the spike point and the beak, if there was one. Fig. 39. Two photographs

Fig. 39. Two photographs of the lower eye of the early Basel halberd in g. 25. The retouched one shows that there is a single weld of a strap bent as in g. 38. The upper (triangular) eye is welded on both sides.

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extant examples of halberds 45 Fig. 40. Detail of the hammer weld of the left side

Fig. 40. Detail of the hammer weld of the left side of the upper eye of the Morgarten halberd in Zurich (g. 29). The eye is not welded on the right side, indi- cating that it is a strap bent as in g. 38.

side, indi- cating that it is a strap bent as in fi g. 38. Fig. 41.

Fig. 41. Another view of a strap with a weld on the right side of the blade. It is similar in appearance to the one in g. 39, but is of a later date.

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46 chapter three Fig. 42. Detail of the weld on the bottom eye of the halberd

Fig. 42. Detail of the weld on the bottom eye of the halberd in g. 37, which represents a fusion of the two blade halves (see the diagram in g. 38).

of the two blade halves (see the diagram in fi g. 38). Fig. 43. A 14th

Fig. 43. A 14th century halberd with a lower eye welded on both sides, showing early dehiscence.

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no.

14.25.35.

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extant examples of halberds 47 Fig. 44. The two blade halves, welded together over the top

Fig. 44. The two blade halves, welded together over the top eye. Halberd in g. 37, ca. 1400. Private collection.

eye. Halberd in fi g. 37, ca. 1400. Private collection. Fig. 45. Schematic diagram of the

Fig. 45. Schematic diagram of the construction of the halberd in g. 37.

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the rear edge of the blade, which carries a smith’s mark on both sides and is completely at in cross section. It is nevertheless from the same period as the former halberd dated ca. 1400. The halberd of g. 37 has a short but clear quadrangular spike at its tip 3.5 cm. in length, as well as a single curved dorsal langet. This early halberd on its original shaft has yet another method of construction diering from that previously described in four- teenth century halberds. The blade is composed of a double leaf, connected in the back by a wide strap that became the lower eye when it was bent around a mandrel. Also it has a wide downward extension that becomes a dorsal langet. The upper eye is a sepa- rate strap, hammer-welded on. 9 Although the reconstructed pattern before welding looks somewhat strange and complex (see the diagram in g. 45), no other explanation is pos- sible, since welded seams are not present between the lower eyes and the blade and all metal parts (aside of the spike tip) are of nearly equal thickness (g. 42). The cutting edge of the blade does not have a hardened steel edge welded onto it; it reveals, however, a faint joint line in the front, almost at the very edge where the leaves are joined. In some of the early halberds such as the Morgarten type, the cutting edge does appear to be welded on, as has been previously described. Metallographic studies 10 performed on a six- teenth century halberd from the Historical Museum in Bern show the lightly etched sur- face of a hammer-weld to consist of a joint between a soft iron, relatively free of carbon, and a much harder mix of pearlite-ferrite steel. 11 On occasion, within the working life of these weapons, a hammer-welded seam between the eye and the blade would open. Repairs could be made by oven-brazing, which con- sisted of lling the open seams with powdered or granular lings of brass, and heating in an oven or furnace. 12 The powder melted into the seam much as modern solder would, using a point/heat source. The weld was achieved at lower temperatures than with ham- mer welding, which probably served to protect the tempered steel edges, should they be present (g. 46). Following the earliest types from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries as represented by groundnds, in general, the halberd shows a rectangular box-like blade a little more than twice as high as wide. The superior end sweeps backward in a concave form into a relatively short spike, originally at, but soon showing a central ridge and again later a quadrangular reinforcement of the tip in the fteenth century (gs. 47–52). Almost invariably the lower eye is larger than the upper, (if they are not equal) and the pole is trimmed accordingly. Surviving original poles of this period are exceedingly rare. One original shaft is found on the halberd in g. 37 and shows that tting the shaft to the diering diameter eyes is accomplished not as in many modern restorations by forming a conical end to the shaft between the eyes (gs. 10 and 28), but by keeping a cylindrical shape of two diameters throughout. The signicance of this fact is that if the

9 The technique of hammer welding was a delicate procedure and had to be performed at temperatures of between 1300 and 1400 degrees centigrade at which time rapid hammer blows forced the pieces being supported on an anvil together. The slag inherent in the steel melted at these temperatures and acted as a ux preventing oxidation from interfering with the bond. When thus properly performed the bond was a strong and stable one. From Smith, R.D., Brown, R.R. Bombards-Mons Meg and her Sisters, Royal Armouries Monograph 1, 1989, p. viii.

10 Rupp, A., Metallographische Untersuchung von Halbarten des Historischen Museums Bern zur Ermittlung Unterschiedlicher Herstellungsverfahren und Eisenqualitäten, in the “Sonderdruck aus dem Jahrbuch des Bernischen Historischen Museums 1979–80”, pp. 279–284.

11 Using the Vickers Pyramid Hardness scale. The gures indicate the Kg. pressure per sq. mm. necessary to create a measured indentation with a diamond point.

12 Personal communication by Robert Carroll, armorer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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extant examples of halberds 49 Fig. 47. Corroded halberd found in 1908 on the shore of

Fig. 47. Corroded halberd found in 1908 on the shore of the Rhine near Rheinfelden, 1390–1400. The blade is double-leafed (see g. 44); it has the earliest socket and ange. Courtesy of the Historisches Museum, Basel, inv. no. 1910.93. Negative no. 12373.

Museum, Basel, inv. no. 1910.93. Negative no. 12373. Fig. 48. 15th century halberd (perhaps middle) showing

Fig. 48. 15th century halberd (perhaps middle) showing

the rather rare at spike with the axis behind the shaft line. The mandrel used to form the socket was inserted fully to the top of the blade. The nished halberd shows therefore a small hole on the upper blade edge. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no.

52.208.8.

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50 chapter three Fig. 49. Halberd, probably from the third quarter of the 15th century, showing