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Sam Arwas




Location: Australia
Joined: 02 Dec 2015

Posts: 81

PostPosted: Wed 24 May, 2017 10:45 pm    Post subject: What are some early complex medieval polearms?         Reply with quote

So I've heard that halberds have their origins in the 13th century but I can't find and polearms from that period that aren't plain old spears. When do things like glaives/halberds/bills appear and what are their early forms?

EDIT: I realize some of these may have had agricultural origins, I'm asking specifically about the weaponized versions
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Thu 25 May, 2017 3:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Depending upon how you define a glaive, they appear at least as early as the Morgan Bible from circa 1244-1254 AD (foot soldier on the far left):

http://manuscriptminiatures.com/media/manuscr.../118-6.jpg

The Cambridge Life of Edward the Confessor from 1250-1260 likewise gives early examples of polearms (although the military fork can be found in the Morgan Bible as well):

http://manuscriptminiatures.com/4450/10072/

An oddity from the Codex Justinianus from 1251-1275:

http://manuscriptminiatures.com/3939/10795/

Arguably, an early form of bill hook, from the Coutumes de Toulouse of 1300-1325, closely related to those for agricultural use, yet used in a military context:

http://manuscriptminiatures.com/4362/9945/

Halberds are tricky, as they are essentially just a modified axe. Perhaps this one from the Taymouth Hours of 1325-1350 counts:

http://manuscriptminiatures.com/4181/10662/

By the way, I should not imply these are the earliest examples of the pole arms I have posted. They are simply comparatively early examples.
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Bartek Strojek




Location: Poland
Joined: 05 Aug 2008
Likes: 23 pages

Posts: 448

PostPosted: Sun 28 May, 2017 4:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What do you count as 'polearms'?

There were early 2nd millennium some West Slavic great axes(most likely two handed) which combined the axe (obviously) with some hammer/butt.

http://znaleziska.org/wiki/index.php/Plik:Top...ubonia.jpg

And similar even earlier South Slavic axes.

Which probably all are Byzantium influence/inspiration.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/2a/93/ae/2a93ae01bf13e24668eb2397a601ba9f.jpg

In later ~13th century Western European art, you'll find plenty of axes with spikes on the other side of the stick. Not sure if they're any actual preserved example.

Those would probably be the best bet as 'early complex polearm'.
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Jacek Gramlowski





Joined: 17 Jun 2015

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sun 28 May, 2017 9:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello! Besides asian pieces One of the early weapon is this: http://www.levantia.com.au/lodrep.html
Which is basicaly proto Italian halberd or billhook or whatever you want to call that weapon. It is also on picture, which i have uploaded.

Next thing i would seek for is a thing called Sovnia in Russian. It is basicaly a oneedged blade on long shaft. First such things are known from 11. century and maybe before.

There is evidence about longer than ussual maces and battle pickaxes for Byzantinum. Those are hovever Daneaxe lenght at best.

If we will talk about Asia, but i thing this int the case it will be completely different story and we can go back possibly to 3000 bc from which is the oldest known halberd.



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sudlice(1136.jpg

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Mark Lewis





Joined: 19 Apr 2014

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Posts: 359

PostPosted: Sun 28 May, 2017 7:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jacek Gramlowski wrote:
One of the early weapon is this: http://www.levantia.com.au/lodrep.html
Which is basicaly proto Italian halberd or billhook or whatever you want to call that weapon.

Thanks for sharing this information! I was going to post a similar example of this early Italian bill-type weapon, but I wasn't aware of the Byzantine connection/origin. The weapon appears in another scene of the arrest of Christ from a late 12th century crucifix in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

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