Rondel Guards on Polearms: Response to Matt Jensen

Today Dr. Nathan Clough takes a closer look at how disc guards on 14th and 15th century polearms were attached, what they were for, and how these weapons were used.  This was spurred by some questions that our sword friend Matt Jensen had in his review of our new 15th C. Glaive. Below you can see the guard on our piece, and the original on which it is based, a poleax in the Wallace Collection in London, A926.  

Rondel Guard on our Glaive

A detail of the guard from poleaxe A926 in the Wallace Collection

A glaive with a similar guard from an early 15th C. painting.

Similar rondel guard in art

Another similar rondel guard

We also address the aesthetics of weapons in the late 14th and early 15th centuries and how a stark and undecorated style predominated at the time, which stands in stark contrast to the highly decorated polearms of the following two centuries.

As always, our swords and other weapons are entirely made by us at our shop in Minneapolis, MN out of 6150 carbon steel, hardened and tempered to 50-52 Rockwell. Our swords and other weapons are made to look, feel, and function just like the historical originals on which they are based.


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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