Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Weight and Measure of Pollaxes

Most of the following data comes from this excellent article, where the pollaxes are illustrated. I’ve linked to the exceptions. Weapons with a cutting edge are noted.

Approximately in chronological order:

From the Wallace Collection (A925)
Possibly French, 1400-1450. Blade length: 6 inches. Top spike: 9 inches. Total weight: 6 pounds, 10 ounces. Bladed.

From The Higgins Armory Museum (HAM # 2005.01)
German pollaxe of about 1440. Top spike length: 4 inches. Total length: 41 1/2 inches (possibly shortened). Weight: 3 pounds 8 ounces. No spike on haft. Much more, including the balance point, 4.5" from the bottom of the head, here.

From the Wallace Collection (A926)
Possibly French, about 1470. Blade length: 7 1/2 inches. Top spike: 7 5/8 inches. Total weight: 5 pounds, 8 ounces. Bladed.

From the Tower of London
European pollaxe, about 1500 Total length 70” Total weight: 6 pounds, 7 ounces

Located in a private collection
Western Europe, circa 1500. Blade length: 8 7/8 inches. Overall length: 81 7/8 inches. Weight: 5 pounds, 7 ounces. Bladed.

From the Wallace Collection (A927)
Italian, about 1530. Blade length: 9 1/4 inches. Top spike: 10 3/4 inches. Total weight: 5 pounds, 2 ounces. Bladed.

From the Wallace Collection (A928)
German, early 16th century. Blade length including socket and top spike: 17 3/8 inches. Total weight: 2 pounds, 11 ounces., but this is probably for the head without a haft. I would describe this as a halberd because the spike, langets, blade and fluke are welded into a single unit, and the Wallace Collection currently agrees. Bladed.

From the Royal Armouries, Leeds (VII.1510)
First half of 16th century. Head length: 11 1/4 inches. Overall length: 93 1/5 inches. Weight: 7 pounds, 11 ounces. Has buttspike.

Unsurprisingly, longer pollaxes weigh more, all other things being equal. The two outliers on weight are the shortest and longest.

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