SIXTEENTH CENTURY ITALIAN BILL HOOK OR GUISARME

$1,500.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 766-922

Used throughout Medieval era, though use in England and Northern Europe extended into 1500s and beyond, polearms were the principle weapons carried by infantry for centuries and many were derived from agricultural tools, adapted slightly or simply called into service for less peaceable pursuits. The billhook or guisarme shows its derivation from a simple pruning tool. The curved blade was good not only for cutting, however, but could also drag a mounted fighter from his horse, and the basic form of the weapon was soon improved with a long spearpoint for thrusting, short spike for puncturing (including finding chinks or crevices in armour), a thicker blade for chopping, etc.

With the original haft measuring 65 inches, this weapon has a head measuring 28 ½ inches, with a long spearpoint jutting out from the hook. At the base of the blade a pointed crescent acts as an additional spike and as a handguard if the wielder chose to shorten his grip. Both the socket and the upper part of the haft are rectangular to give a better grip and keep the blade in alignment. Two 4 ¼-inch langets extend from the socket to prevent the shaft being cut. Precisely dating blades like this is problematical, but this one is likely right around 1500. The blade decoration is minimal, just a series of engraved half-moons alternating vertical and horizontal between two thin border lines.

The blade shows as light gray with darker gray spots overall. It was obviously cleaned many years ago, but the detail of the engraving was not softened. As is usually the case, the shaft is old, but unlikely to be the first one on it. This has a great look and would be the basis for a very classy arms collection.  [sr]

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