Battle Axe

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Battle Axe

Battle AxeA battle axe is an axe that was designed for melee combat. A battle axe originated from a regular utility axe that served as a simple tool. Battle axes came in various sizes and were intended to be used in one or two hands. Axes that were used for combat had weight that ranged from one to six pounds. The heavier ones were used as melee weapons and the lighter ones were used for throwing (the best example of a throwing axe is the fransisca used by the Gaul warriors). Axes were prevalent on the battlefields as they were inexpensive to manufacture.

Battle axes were usually much lighter than axes used for splitting wood because they were intended to cut through human flesh. As a result the blade of the battle axe are sharper and narrower which resulted in very deep wounds inflicted on the enemy. Also, lighter weapons were easier to handle in melee combat. The handles of the battle axes were usually reinforced by metal bands that spanned from the head of the axe to the end tip of the handle. The bands prevented the battle axe handle from being cut or damaged.

In Ancient Times battle axes had heads that were made from stone, copper or bronze. Battle axes were very popular in Northern Europe during the Viking reigns. Later, during the Medieval Times the battle axes were used mostly by regular warriors whereas the knights and the nobility preferred swords as their primary weapon. Still, the battle axe could be used against a knight in full suit of armor as a single blow with it could crash through the armor and easily cut the flesh.

History of Arms and Armor | Arms and Armor Glossary


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