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Creator Nationality: European; Northern European; German
Creator Dates/Places: Germany, c. 1550
Creator Active Place: Germany, c. 1550
Creator Name-CRT: Germany, c. 1550
Title: Halberd
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1545
Creation End Date: 1555
Creation Date: c. 1550
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Armor
Classification Term: Arms
Materials and Techniques: steel, with pierced trefoils; wood haft (rectangular with planed corners)
Dimensions: Overall: , Blade: 25.4cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1916.1542
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Severance
Provenance: Frank Gair Mcomber; Boston; cat. #66.
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_.1916.1542
AMICA Library Year: 1999
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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