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Richard Jao





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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jun, 2010 10:13 am    Post subject: Was this Egyptian weapon practical?         Reply with quote

Many times whenever I see a movie that takes place in ancient Egypt, I often see guards carrying around a polearm that looks like this:



It seems it's been called an axe, but I always thought an Egyptian axe looked like this:



Either way both look like ceremonial items. Would these have ever seen use in the ancient Egyptian military during the reign of Ramesses II? And would anyone happen to know if that polearm was really an axe?
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Luke Zechman




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jun, 2010 10:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would take what you see in movies with a grain of salt... they are very rarely accurate.
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David Sutton




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jun, 2010 10:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The 'polearm' looks more like the base of a fan to me; minus the feathers out of the top. Notable Egyptians were usually flanked by a couple of fan bearers.

I'm not an expert of Ancient Egyptian arms, but for what its worth I've never seen anything like it.

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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jun, 2010 11:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For the top one, the fan theory sounds good.

The second one is a common axe model. I've always thought them to be quite functional. Most aren't decorated so nicely.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jun, 2010 11:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Sutton wrote:
The 'polearm' looks more like the base of a fan to me; minus the feathers out of the top. Notable Egyptians were usually flanked by a couple of fan bearers.

I'm not an expert of Ancient Egyptian arms, but for what its worth I've never seen anything like it.


The only thing I saw like it that was a weapon is in a 1960s Star Trek:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyhhFzE5O5U

Seemed exciting at the time I first saw it but now I think the fight was pretty lame but still fun !

Notice how the blade seems glass like as it breaks of rather easily in the middle of the fight ..... bad heat treat. Razz Eek! Laughing Out Loud

Design wise I think it could be a credible polearm with slashing attacks and the horns of the 90 degree rotated axe head could hook or pierce rather well.

As to the Egyptians I don't think it exists as a weapon except in the mind of a Hollywood prop maker. Wink

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Gottfried P. Doerler




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jun, 2010 12:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

oh yeah, Jean absolutely got it.

star trek was the first association i had, when i saw the picture of this weapon
(and if i rember this episode rightly, there were also some egyptian-style people meeting the enterprise before this fight)
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jun, 2010 1:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is a real "weapon" that is similar, the Chinese monk's spade:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monk%27s_spade

Only really known as a specialised kung fu weapon, and a weapon carried by fictional monks (in Monkey/Journey to the West and Outlaws of the Marsh/Water Margin). Not the kind of thing palace guards would use.

Perhaps a deliberate hybrid, a monk's spade (what does the other end look like?) mixed with "Egyptian" decoration.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Sam Barris




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jun, 2010 2:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean, beat me to it. My first thought was, "Hey! It's a lirpa!" Big Grin
Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Brawn Barber




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jun, 2010 5:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Was this Egyptian weapon practical?         Reply with quote

Richard Jao wrote:
Many times whenever I see a movie that takes place in ancient Egypt, I often see guards carrying around a polearm that looks like this:



It seems it's been called an axe, but I always thought an Egyptian axe looked like this:



Either way both look like ceremonial items. Would these have ever seen use in the ancient Egyptian military during the reign of Ramesses II? And would anyone happen to know if that polearm was really an axe?


Where did the photo come from, Richard?
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Andrew Fox




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jun, 2010 7:44 pm    Post subject: It's a fan         Reply with quote

As mentioned above, it looks a lot like an Egyptian fan. There would have been ostrich feathers arrayed across the top of the crescent part. Not a weapon, but I suppose you could have clonked someone on the head with it in a pinch, though. Wink
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Richard Jao





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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jun, 2010 7:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Was this Egyptian weapon practical?         Reply with quote

Brawn Barber wrote:
Richard Jao wrote:
Many times whenever I see a movie that takes place in ancient Egypt, I often see guards carrying around a polearm that looks like this:



It seems it's been called an axe, but I always thought an Egyptian axe looked like this:



Either way both look like ceremonial items. Would these have ever seen use in the ancient Egyptian military during the reign of Ramesses II? And would anyone happen to know if that polearm was really an axe?


Where did the photo come from, Richard?


That particular photo is actually a Halloween prop and I'm well aware of the fact. However, I still recall seeing movies in which guards would be carrying those odd polearms, which when I think of it does not make any sense whatsoever. The ceremonial axe photo is at a museum, so I'm pretty sure that's real.
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Nicholas Rettig




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jun, 2010 8:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As someone has already said it does greatly resemble a monks spade which was a real weapon, so it's not totally out of the question that that could be a weapon, some people said fan but I'm not sure if that was speculation or fact.
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Brawn Barber




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jun, 2010 8:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Monk's spade actually has a shorter and less curved blade surface area. This weapon could provide a greater slicing capability if it could be proven to be in fact, historically correct.
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jun, 2010 12:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There's a lot of different polearms from Egypt and neighbouring regions (see f.e. http://www.larp.com/hoplite/JP4.jpg), but I've not seen anything like that. I've been wondering though about weapons found in Europe, where you have combinations of much elongated flanged axes, chisels and spoon shaped axes (don't have a picture at hand atm). I've been wondering if they might have been attached lengthwise to be used as polearm, rather then at an angle. These date from before bronze spears became common, so they may have been early experiments.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jun, 2010 8:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Functionally the " Demi-Lune " polearm Spanish 16th or17 th centuries: Sort of reverses the curve but in principle it would be a broad arc slicing weapon but it also can thrust with the double points.

Very Star Trek " LURPA-LIKE " weapon. Wink Laughing Out Loud

http://books.google.ca/books?id=J5PgapzD6FoC&...D4L58AaEhO

From: A glossary of the construction, decoration, and use of arms and armor in all ... By George Cameron Stone

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Christopher Gregg




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jun, 2010 12:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My wife is taking an Egyptology course this summer - it's a fan, minus the ostrich plumes. And yes, I have seen the Halloween costume prop like this that purports to be some kind of weapon. Very Stargate, IMO Laughing Out Loud
Christopher Gregg

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Jojo Zerach





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PostPosted: Mon 21 Jun, 2010 6:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeroen Zuiderwijk wrote:
There's a lot of different polearms from Egypt and neighbouring regions (see f.e. http://www.larp.com/hoplite/JP4.jpg), but I've not seen anything like that. I've been wondering though about weapons found in Europe, where you have combinations of much elongated flanged axes, chisels and spoon shaped axes (don't have a picture at hand atm). I've been wondering if they might have been attached lengthwise to be used as polearm, rather then at an angle. These date from before bronze spears became common, so they may have been early experiments.


The fan without feathers looks a lot like an egyptian axe rotated 90 degrees.
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Sa'ar Nudel




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PostPosted: Fri 25 Jun, 2010 3:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christopher Gregg wrote:
My wife is taking an Egyptology course this summer - it's a fan, minus the ostrich plumes. And yes, I have seen the Halloween costume prop like this that purports to be some kind of weapon. Very Stargate, IMO Laughing Out Loud


Indeed. Also, double-sides fan shaped "halberds" were used in the current MUMMY film, by the army of Anubis. Purely fictional. Egyptian warriors were very fond of the composete bow (they used very long vicious arrows) and for close quarters an array of axes, maces, straight daggers and of course, the famous Khoppsh.

Curator of Beit Ussishkin, regional nature & history museum, Upper Galilee.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Jun, 2010 2:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sa'ar Nudel wrote:
Egyptian warriors were very fond of the composete bow (they used very long vicious arrows)


Only the chariot warriors--relief carvings continue to show foot soldiers with the old-style long non-recurved bows long after the composite bow became the predominant missile armament for charioteers. I don't know if there's any way to tell whether these long bows had self, laminated, or composite construction, though, since (if I'm not mistaken) the only ancient bows discovered in Egypt so far seem to be foreign ones (Assyrian?).
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Mikko Kuusirati




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Jun, 2010 4:05 am    Post subject: Re: Was this Egyptian weapon practical?         Reply with quote

Richard Jao wrote:
Many times whenever I see a movie that takes place in ancient Egypt, I often see guards carrying around a polearm that looks like this:



It seems it's been called an axe, but I always thought an Egyptian axe looked like this:



Either way both look like ceremonial items. Would these have ever seen use in the ancient Egyptian military during the reign of Ramesses II? And would anyone happen to know if that polearm was really an axe?

The second one is an entirely functional axe design, usually called a "penetrating" or "piercing" axe as opposed to the crescent-bladed axes also used in the same region and period, the narrow head supposedly designed that way to better penetrate armour. It was quite popular in its day, though most of the ones intended for actual use as fighting weapons were not as ornate as this one here, naturally. The first... yeah, looks like somebody misinterpreted a picture of a fan, confusing it with the crescent axe which, to be fair, looks kinda similar but with the blade affixed along the haft instead of at right angles. Same thing as with "banded mail", "studded leather" and other such second-hand misconceptions. Happy

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