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Malcolm A




Location: Scotland, UK
Joined: 22 Mar 2005

Posts: 89

PostPosted: Mon 03 Oct, 2005 5:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello one and all.
Thought I would pitch in my penny's worth on the topic of two headed axes specifically as it relates to the Minoan labrys.
I was in Crete recently on holiday and visited the Knossis site and the Heiraklion Archaeological Museum.
Actual examples of the labrys were on show and it is obvious to me [as a well grounded idiot maybe] that they are not for actual use in cutting people, trees or the like. Some examples where about 30inches edge to edge with no real thickness to them atall.
The heads were of uniform thickness from side to side and that thickness was about 1 to 2mm max!.
Even where the handle [of modern contruction] was fitted the metal was still 1 to 2mm thick.
At best you could cut toilet paper with it.
HOWEVER!!!! There was an axe head on show that was double headed and looked like it was a real axe, as in it coulld be used for real work. But it was of a different make / design altogether.
It had a simple rectangular profile without any flaring winges on it.
It was thick in the middle [where handle would be be] and tapered to an edge. It was relatively small; looking at it face on, it was about 2inches top to bottom and 6inches edge to edge.
It was pointed out by the guide that Knossis did not have any fortification walls and that it was believed that they were a relatively peaceful people; maybe they didnt get into making axes for war? A moot point that I am prepared to be proven wrong on.

For anyone travelling to Crete on holiday I would heartily recommend a visit to the Heiraklion Archaeological Museum to see the various axes and swords on view. Quite a few swords on show; quite long - 30 inches with a rib down the middle of the blade. Oh yeah, and a couple of nice helmets; one made of boars tusks and the other of bronze [the latter was a bit misshapen]

Now for the apology; yes I should have taken photographs but my camera was new and I couldnt work out how to turn off the flash and flash is 100% forbidden in the museum. I did get some photos using a film camera and will try to get them scanned and added to this topic.
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Bob Burns




Location: South Indianapolis IN
Joined: 09 Sep 2005
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Reading list: 112 books

Posts: 1,019

PostPosted: Mon 03 Oct, 2005 6:17 am    Post subject: Tabar by Arms & Armor         Reply with quote

Dern it! There was a Tabar at the Arms & Armor store at the Bristol Renaissance Faire (located on the border of IL&WI), I was going to buy it and I chose not to, buying the spiked mace instead. Had I known it was discontinued, I'd of bought the Tabar and left the spiked mace for a later purchase. Though I gotta say I really like that mace, especially the fact that it has the longer spike at the top, which is great for close in fighting stabbing techniques.

By the way, being the personal computer nimbnull that I am, I could not get my picture to go up on my personal listing after having joined the "premier members group" last night. I would again like to thank Nathan Robinson for assisting me with this.

This is a great website, a huge resource to broaden the learning spectrum and to meet other blade and bludgeon weaponry enthusiasts like myself. Incidently, my wife is grateful for this site as well, she says all I ever talk about anymore are my swords from Arms & Armor and she is glad I have found I vehicle to talk to other sword buffs instead of her all the time. LOL.

However, having received her Elector of Saxony Dagger with Ornate Scabbard, she has admitted to me (upon inquiry that is) that she would like a German Rapier someday.

Actually, I am kind of hoping for either the Danish War Axe or the Sparth Axe by A&A for Christmas, but I'd settle for the Medici Falchion as well. LOL


Happy Collecting,

Bob
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Tue 08 Nov, 2011 8:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

sorry to bring this topic back from the dead. but there is a video showing freeplay with pollaxes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=IL&hl=en&v=PVBTRFQqKGA

another advantage of a double axe is that , one often underestimated characteristic of axes is that with most designs, particularly the flaring ones, is you can hook things with the bottom edge of the axe, having two axeheads means you have a second hook giving you more choice in your ability to trap an opponent,

also even a double bitted axe thats abit heavy needent be super unwieldy

while the lord of the rings obviously is a movie, theres a curious thing that happens with gimlis use of the axe he holds the double bitted axe with one hand very close to the head and the other on the butt, and several times he doesnt use big wood felling swings , he slides the shaft back and forth, bashing his opponents in the face of chest with the top of the axe then uses simple swings holding it like mentioned with the hands far apart, and making short, quick swings, making it seem a VERY nasty extreme close in item that if you wanted to could be used to deliver those more powerful swings as well to keep people at bay.


but id agree that theres little point in having two blades, for the most part because your better served adding a hammer or a spike, both of THOSE on the other hand are very well documented throughout history and the world.

as for the weight issue,
http://www.worldmuseumofman.org/display.php?item=5 this axe is one made by the rus, and was used during their service in the varangian guard
considering the more full axes like this one http://www.manningimperial.com/item.php?item_...mp;c_id=13 this one weighs only 640 grams the russian axe is likely to be

http://www.worldmuseumofman.org/display.php?item=2 this axe is double bitted but i doubt its combat worthiness because most combat axes have a much wider cutting edge,
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E. Storesund





Joined: 10 Jan 2011

Posts: 101

PostPosted: Tue 08 Nov, 2011 11:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hisham Gaballa wrote:
There seems to be a common theme running here. Nearly all the double head axes shown here, whether they are Indian, Iranian, European or even Ancient Minoan are ceremonial or parade weapons.

The only functional ones are for felling trees, not people!


Perhaps there is a phallic aspect to the double headed parade axe?
"Look here; TWO knobs!"
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Gary Teuscher





Joined: 19 Nov 2008

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 704

PostPosted: Tue 08 Nov, 2011 11:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Possibly. In "the Great Warbow", Matthew Strickland cites evidence for the use of composite bows in Northwestern Europe in the very late 12th and through the 13th century.


There are a few records of trials for assasinations in England (13th cent actually) during this time, the bow being described as short, and called a "turkish" bow. Does not state whether the assasin was turkish or not/
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Sat 25 Feb, 2012 7:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i have it on some authority that battle axes, double bitted ones may likely have been used by the myceneans
http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisbarnes/455402449/in/photostream as this image showcases, another man who has similar kit, robert wheeler told me this about the axes being held

Quote:
Our axes are based on Mycenaean archaeological finds. I could not find the source, apart from a photograph in a museum display, in my references so I suspect that Dave has it. From memory they are the same size (length and width, and possibly thickness) as the finds but they are heavy (I think 700 grams).


Although Minoan axes are only supposed to be used in rituals, and then apparently only by women, Mycenaean axes are battle axes. The heads we made, as I said before, are heavy. They may be too heavy to use in a prolonged fight but in an opening round, before the user became fatigued, they would be formidable. I have seen a photograph of a double-headed axe dated at about 1250 B.C. and it appears to be the same length and width as ours but much thinner (no dimensions are given). This axe would be light so it would be easier to use in a sustained fight. I will photocopy that photograph for you. Crescent-shaped single edge axes from the same period have been found, and this type of axe appears to be depicted in a warrior’s hand on a vase painting.


i havent yet gotten a response back from either with more details on the lighter example.
the guy on the left though is dave from the sydney ancients, a australian, greco roman group, their website might give you the ability to email him for more details
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David Hohl




Location: Oregon
Joined: 07 Feb 2011

Posts: 57

PostPosted: Sun 26 Feb, 2012 11:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The double-bitted axe for felling is to have twice the edge, so it stays sharp twice as long. Some people I know keep one of their edges at a lower, more durable angle, and the other sharpened back to a very thin sharp edge for fast cutting in emergencies. The double-bitted axe was mostly in use in conjunction with a crosscut saw, especially during the big logging industries of the 19th century, so it'd see a full day's use, when the extra 'sharp lifespan' would have been really handy.
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Len Parker





Joined: 15 Apr 2011

Posts: 277

PostPosted: Fri 03 Aug, 2018 12:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Double headed axe at bottom left.
http://warfare.gq/6C-11C/Utrecht_Psalter.htm
These are Bible scenes showing ancient armour. Usually the manuscripts from this period are pretty accurate with contemporary weapons.

Leonard
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Ken Speed





Joined: 09 Oct 2006

Posts: 656

PostPosted: Sun 05 Aug, 2018 8:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kenneth Enroth wrote:
What's the point of a double bitted axe when felling trees then?


Typically, double bitted axes are sharpened on one edge with a more acute taper for cutting trees while the other edge is not kept as sharp and is used for splitting.

Axe heads are a study in compromise. Narrow heads will bite more deeply but are more likely to get bound in the cut while thicker heads will not cut as deeply but will pop out a chip more easily than a narrow blade.

Some assert that Scandinavian axes are make for cutting the soft wood trees which are more common there rather than the hardwood trees commonly found in the U.S.
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Len Parker





Joined: 15 Apr 2011

Posts: 277

PostPosted: Mon 06 Aug, 2018 6:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's another one from late roman times: http://lukeuedasarson.com/MagisterOfficiorumW.html
Leonard
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Ken Speed





Joined: 09 Oct 2006

Posts: 656

PostPosted: Mon 06 Aug, 2018 8:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not that it's proof of anything but I came across a mention of a double bitted axe (that's not exactly the term used) while reading Robert Fagle's translation of the Aeneid by Virgil. It was a prize in a contest.
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Mon 06 Aug, 2018 5:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ken Speed wrote:
Not that it's proof of anything but I came across a mention of a double bitted axe (that's not exactly the term used) while reading Robert Fagle's translation of the Aeneid by Virgil. It was a prize in a contest.

Anyone know what the original Latin says?

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Mon 06 Aug, 2018 6:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
i havent yet gotten a response back from either with more details on the lighter example.
the guy on the left though is dave from the sydney ancients, a australian, greco roman group, their website might give you the ability to email him for more details

I did a lot of research on this subject before writing my book and couldn't find an example of a Bronze Age double-bitted axe that would make a suitable weapon. The one that the Sydney ancients reproduced is too heavy compared to other one-handed battle axes. The one they have was likely intended for the ceremonial slaughtering oxen or bulls. Generally I loathe the practice of claiming these things as "ceremonial" but, in the case of Minoan/Mycenaean examples, I think they were.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Mon 06 Aug, 2018 6:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Len Parker wrote:
Here's another one from late roman times: http://lukeuedasarson.com/MagisterOfficiorumW.html

If we are interpreting this literally then the axes look more like agricultural tools that serve double-duty as impromptu weapons. Proper battle axes don't look like this.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Len Parker





Joined: 15 Apr 2011

Posts: 277

PostPosted: Wed 08 Aug, 2018 2:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You got three images of double headed axes on this thread. All connected with fighting. So what difference does it make to someone today who wants to make himself a double headed axe and call it a weapon?
Leonard
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