The History and Development of Halberds

In today's blog post we examine some of the history and development of one of the most important polearms of the late Medieval period, the halberd. Using a couple of replicas made by Arms and Armor we discuss the evolution of the halberd from its progenitors, spears and axes, into classic and later styles. Below are several examples of historically accurate replicas that we have made, that reflect a range of styles popular between about 1350 and 1550 AD. While we do not currently offer a halberd as a production piece, we frequently take custom commissions. Check out our other polearms for an idea of the range of prices.  
Custom HAlberd to an original piece done in hardened steel
A custom Halberd built to copy an original piece.
HAlberd back spike with reinforced tip
Beak shaped spike on back of Halberd.
The two photos above feature a halberd that we recently completed, a replica of a piece in a private collection in the United States that dates to around the year 1500. It features a hand forged spike, an ash haft, and recessed langets, and weighs about 4.5 pounds.
Custom Halberd Swiss in style with very long top spike
Another custom Halberd with long top spike
The piece above and those below illustrate some of the variety in halberd form as the weapon evolved over time and regional styles developed.
Sempach style halberd
Sempach style Halberd copied to Swiss original
Crescent bladed halberd 16th C
Crescent bladed halberd
Crescent bladed halberd with side spikes
Crescent shaped halberd with side spikes and decorative back edge
Check out the video in which Nathan gives a rundown of the history, development, and attributes of these awesome weapons. To enquire about a custom halberd, click here. To learn more about halberds and the development of polearms we recommend checking out a copy of John Waldman's "Hafted Weapons in Medieval and Renaissance Europe" it is one of the three books we recommended in our post on learning more about Polearms.
divider swords

Nathan Clough, Ph.D. is Vice President of Arms and Armor and a member of the governing board of The Oakeshott Institute. He is a historical martial artist and a former university professor of cultural geography. He has given presentations on historical arms at events including Longpoint and Combatcon, and presented scholarly papers at, among others, The International Congress on Medieval Studies.

Craig Johnson is the Production Manager of Arms and Armor and Secretary of The Oakeshott Institute. He has taught and published on the history of arms, armor and western martial arts for over 30 years. He has lectured at several schools and Universities, WMAW, HEMAC, 4W, and ICMS at Kalamazoo. His experiences include iron smelting, jousting, theatrical combat instruction and choreography, historical research, European martial arts and crafting weapons and armor since 1985.

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