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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Sun 29 Oct, 2017 1:45 pm    Post subject: Single edged spears         Reply with quote

I've been aware of this distinction in miniatures for some while, but decided to seek other opinions. Here are two messengers from a single manuscript, BNF Français 95. One has a double edged spear head with medial rib, which seems quite normal for the XIII century. The other has a single edged spear head, perhaps we should consider it a glaive. This is not the only manuscript which shows both types in use, and it doesn't seem odd in a world where both double- and single-edged swords were in use, Does anyone know of any extant examples of spear heads with a single edge?


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Beinecke MS 229 fo.169r [ Download ]

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Mark Moore




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PostPosted: Sun 29 Oct, 2017 2:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some might consider the Scottish 'Lochaber axe' to be a type of spear---minus the usual hook, of course. The actual 'glaive' is the only one I know of...outside of fantasy video games and such. You might look into African weapons. That continent is known to produce some very unique weapons. Seems to me that a well balanced single-edge spear would work just as well as a double-edged. Happy .....McM
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Oct, 2017 11:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dürer's chamois hunters use what appears to be a single-edge, socketed spear head that might double as part of the knife set the men carry–the spear head in the foreground has been removed from the haft and rests in its own accessory sheath on the front of the larger messer sheath.


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-Sean

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Oct, 2017 11:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We have thousands and thousands of extant spearheads in museums and private collections, so we should definitely expect to have some examples of this single-edged variant. If the illustration isn't corroborated in the archaeological record then our interpretation of the illustration is probably wrong.
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Luca Nic




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Oct, 2017 1:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi! This is actually my first post here, so my apologies if I'm doing something wrong.

Anyway, although I'm quite sure that you were specifically talking about am European context, in Japan, single edged spear were used. They were called "Teboko", written with these kanji "手鉾" and they were a crossover between a glaive and a spear. They do appear quite a lot in early Japanese depictions like in the "Kasuka Gongen Genki E" (春日権現験記絵)

After the 14th-15th century, a single edge Yari spear came into used, it is called Kikuchi Yari (菊池槍) and it was basically a Tanto mounted on a shaft. This type of weapon was probably the direct evolution of the previous Teboko and has a single edge blade.
Hope to have been useful!



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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Oct, 2017 5:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am one for thinking that these "single edge spears" are, essentially, artistic error.

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Tue 31 Oct, 2017 6:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing that woodcut Sean. The spear head scabbard is a cool idea that I'd like to see recreated.

If I remember correctly, there are two single edged spear heads in the National Museum of Ireland. One found in the Islandbridge excavation dated to the 11th century, and the other found at Ballinderry Crannóg dated to the 9th century.

I took this image from a now defunct discussion forum. I think that it's the example from Ballinderry.



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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 31 Oct, 2017 9:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's very interesting, Stephen!

My general thought / rule is that we have to weigh the accuracy of arms depictions against the depictions of other items in a painting, and also consider the overall artistic ability in terms of showing perspective, etc. These early paintings are dodgy in both respects.

More specifically, when I think of single-edge hafted arms, my thoughts go to things like what Stephen posted, the chamois spears and the family of arms that includes the glaive/couteau de breche/vouge/kuse, etc. My first thought on seeing Stephen's Irish weapon was that it's a scaled-down weapon of that type. Some of those weapons are so much like large, single-edged spears that if you look hard at those like the Arma Bohemia recreation below, you can imagine that it's a cousin of the spear. Some of those, like this one, are actually DE in the upper half.



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-Sean

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 31 Oct, 2017 9:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

by the way, you can get something like the chamois spear head here: https://www.amazon.com/Cold-Steel-Bushman-Sheath-95BUSKZ/dp/B00BD4W54Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1509467045&sr=1-1&keywords=cold+steel+bushman

I'd love to have one of those in an outdoor survival kit or make a medieval-style sheath and use it as my camp knife. The construction is much like Stephen's Irish weapon, among other variations.



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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Tue 31 Oct, 2017 10:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looking back over my notes, the example I posted has a blade length of 115mm. The other example apparently has a blade length of 228mm but unfortunately I don't have an image.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 31 Oct, 2017 11:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow! At 4.5" (blade only?) that does appear to be about the size of the chamois spears. truly a knife on a stick.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Tue 31 Oct, 2017 12:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
Wow! At 4.5" (blade only?) that does appear to be about the size of the chamois spears. truly a knife on a stick.


Yes Sean that measurement was for the length of the blade only. It does not include the socket.

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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Tue 31 Oct, 2017 2:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Certainly socketed knives (#11 & 14) were known in the late Roman period. The benefits of such can be seen by the re-appearance of the modern Cold Steel product, as one can change the tool from knife to spear by the addition of a longer cane or sapling, which make me wonder if what might have been identified as a socketed knife might also be a socketed spear.




And the 1333 list of arms for War, Joust, and Tournament for 1333, Jean II de Chalon, Count of Auxerre lists among the items for war,
Item ii lances de guerre et ung fer de glayve.
Item, 2 war lances and an iron glaive head.

I'm wondering if these are distinguished by the number of edges, although some lances have pyramidal points.

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 31 Oct, 2017 2:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The overwhelming majority of the socketed single-edged blades in the archaeological record are farming and cooking implements, not weapons. The only way to confirm whether it was intended as a weapon is for the context to be properly recorded. If it was found together with other martial items such as shields and helmets, then it is likely to be a weapon. Otherwise the assumption of its purpose must default to a domestic context.
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Tue 31 Oct, 2017 5:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I had found myself wondering if socketed knives were a thing. Not sure what advantage - if any - it would offer me over a tanged one, though. Not sure if changing out the grip for a long pole was something you'd expect to do.

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 31 Oct, 2017 9:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pretty much all socketed blades are intended for longer shafts, not handles. My point is that they were used in domestic contexts as well as military ones. Most were used in agriculture but they had some strange cooking implements too. It is impossible to point at a single-edged socketed blade and say it is a spearhead unless it was found in a military context.
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Mark Moore




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2017 6:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=MHW0959...pear+Head+

This looks pretty spot-on. Too bad it's back-ordered....and blunt. The blunt part could be remedied though. Wink .....McM

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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2017 7:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Moore wrote:
www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=MHW0959&name=Gibeah+Spear+Head+

This looks pretty spot-on. Too bad it's back-ordered....and blunt. The blunt part could be remedied though. Wink .....McM


Yeah, I had my eye on that a ways back with the intent to sharpen it on a grinder. After they added pictures and specs showing just how thick it was, though, it fell off the radar a bit.

Still looks cool; I can say I'm a fan of the "knife on a stick".

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Mark Moore




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2017 10:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I can say from experience----I bought a CS Bushman back when they first came out, and it's a handy little item. All it takes is a straight sapling and you have instant spear/defensive hiking staff. A leather wrap on the 'handle'/socket makes a fine bushcraft knife. Happy ....McM
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2017 2:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All of these are domestic tools, not military weapons. The top one could easily be misidentified as a single-edged spear head.


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