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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 04 Sep, 2006 1:21 am    Post subject: Sep 4: myArmoury.com news and updates         Reply with quote

Today's update:


Spotlight: The Medieval Poleaxe

An article by Alexi Goranov


A Poleaxe from the Higgins

An article by Alexi Goranov


As always, you can see our Complete History of Updates listed right from our home page.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Mon 04 Sep, 2006 3:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great article Alexi, I really like the number of original ones shown of different styles as usually one sees only the Wallace Museum one A 926 and maybe one other A925 of the " axe " blade type and sometimes a bec-de corbin type: Seeing a wider selection is really exciting.

A couple of notes F.Y.I. the name Bec-de corbin probably originates or is related to the word " corbeau " in French which is black bird or raven in English.

Oh, " hache " : Probably from the " Jeux de la hache " which you know is a manual of arms about the use of pollaxes.
So a pollaxe is associated with the word hache but the word hache is not exclusive to describing a pollaxe, as hache is also the generic French word for axe. It very possible that the " Jeux de la hache " although dealing with pollaxes may be an evolution of techniques developed for earlier basic axes like a Danish axe and from earlier fighting techniques. ( Speculation here. )

Very very minor observations as it's more additional information rather than any correcting of an error. Big Grin

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 04 Sep, 2006 3:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
A couple of notes F.Y.I. the name Bec-de corbin probably originates or is related to the word " corbeau " in French which is black bird or raven in English.

Hi Jean-

I know that bec-de-corbin is shown translated in many texts as "Raven's beak".

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Sep, 2006 10:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Scots also used the term "corbies" for ravens, as in the poem below. Note that the raven imagery conjured by the name of this weapon had special meaning in the context of war. The term Bec de Corbin means so much more in this cultural light, I think.

The Twa Corbies (17th c.)

As I was walking all alane
I heard twa corbies making a mane:
The tane unto the tither did say,
'Whar sall we gang and dine the day?'

'—In behint yon auld fail dyke 5
I wot there lies a new-slain knight;
And naebody kens that he lies there
But his hawk, his hound, and his lady fair.

'His hound is to the hunting gane,
His hawk to fetch the wild-fowl hame, 10
His lady 's ta'en anither mate,
So we may mak our dinner sweet.

'Ye'll sit on his white hause-bane,
And I'll pike out his bonny blue e'en:
Wi' ae lock o' his gowden hair 15
We'll theek our nest when it grows bare.

'Mony a one for him maks mane,
But nane sall ken whar he is gane:
O'er his white banes, when they are bare,
The wind sall blaw for evermair.' 20

GLOSS: corbies] ravens. fail] turf. hause] neck. theek] thatch.

------------

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Cole Sibley




Location: Montana, USA
Joined: 19 Apr 2005

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PostPosted: Tue 05 Sep, 2006 8:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wonderful poem Sean, it strikes very solidly at the heart. Also great articles on the poleaxe, very interesting and great illuminations, thanks.
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Fabrice Cognot
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Location: Dijon
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PostPosted: Thu 07 Sep, 2006 5:56 pm    Post subject: Poleaxe article         Reply with quote

Hi all

Thanks to the talks on this very forum, about that strange poleaxe with crossguard in an obscure museum in the UK Wink , we had the chance to see Alexi Gordanov writing an interesting spotlight article on the poleaxe - good job, Alexi.

Although I generally don't disagree with its contents, I'd like to further this particular point :

Quote:
There is even a slightly modified type, called a hache in French, which was used primarily for duels. This weapon had a 6-7 foot long haft and a rondel guard on each side of the grip.


Well, in French, Hache simply means axe, and although the poleaxe was indeed a very popular weapon for fighting in the lists in XIVth and XVth (even XVIth) century France (and Burgundy), an axe is an axe. No slightly modified type - the rondels were not a compulsory feature. Any poleaxe could do the job, and judging from period artwork and written sources, poleaxes could be of any type, and there is no mention of a specifically modified type of poleaxe in these occurences - although then again, the most commonly found poleaxe for fighting in the lists was the hammer/spike type.

But this is not a specifically French feature, from what can be seen on Italian, English and German artwork.

This being said, congrats (again) for the article. The poleaxe and its use are favourites of mine, and it is only fair to shed some light on its immense popularity in the late Middle Ages.

Fab

PhD in medieval archeology.
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