French, Burgundy

Not on view

The poleaxe was the western European equivalent of the halberd and was similarly designed for hacking and stabbing and for piercing armor plates. However, the heads of halberds were constructed in one intergral piece, but the heads of poleaxes were composed from separate elements, held together by rivets. The basic element was the axe blade with a counter-balancing beak. The blade was overlaid by side straps, which in turn would have the apical spike attached. The long side straps reinforced the shaft against being chopped through in combat.

Though the poleaxe was one of the weapons used in the formal duels of foot combats, it was primarily a serious battle arm. In some cities the guards of the city gates were armed with poleaxes; in emergencies, when there was no time to raise the drawbridge, they could hack through the ropes that held up the portcullis, and the grill would drop to block the engrance.

Pollaxe, Steel, wood (oak), French, Burgundy

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Detail, side a