Switzerland, 17th century / Halberd / 17th centurySwitzerland, 17th century
17th century

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Creator Nationality: European; Swiss
Creator Dates/Places: Switzerland
Creator Active Place: Switzerland
Creator Name-CRT: Switzerland, 17th century
Title: Halberd
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1600
Creation End Date: 1699
Creation Date: 17th century
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Armor
Classification Term: Arms
Materials and Techniques: steel; wood haft (rectangular with planed corners)
Dimensions: Overall: , Blade: 18.5cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1916.1562
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Severance
Rights: http://www.clemusart.com/museum/disclaim2.html
Context: The most effecient weapons used by the infantry (foot soldiers) during the 15th and 16th centuries were pole arms (or staff weapons). The halberd, like the examples shown here, was a weapon of great versatility. The word "halberd" comes from the German words Halm (a staff) and Barte (an axe). The halberd is, in fact, an axe mounted on a long pole with a very specialized shape and function: the axe blade was used for hacking, the spike for thrusting, and the beak either for piercing plate armor or for pulling a knight from his saddle. The halberd was a weapon for shock troops and the weapon of choice for Swiss and German mercenaries.From about 1550 onwards, the halberd underwent major changes. Its distinctive outline became exaggerated and its functional elements evolved into purely ornamental shapes. The halberd's large blade conveniently provided space for armorial devices. By the late 1500s, the halberd became a ceremonial weapon favored by princely body guards. It is still carried today bythe Swiss Guard at the Vatican.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1916.1562
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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