Renaissance Weapons Revisited

As time marches forward, the world must find ways to adjust to the changes around them.  In each new era, new things are brought in and old things fade away.  When it comes to the Renaissance period, this is no exception, especially in their weaponry.  However, many weapons from the Medieval period, such as the guisarme, the mace, the halberd, and the partisan, actually continued to flourish during the Renaissance period, although they were modified and improved upon.

Out of the weapons used in the Renaissance period, the guisarme remains the most ancient of them all, originating in the Bronze period and lasting until the 17th century.  It had two parallel edges were keen and razor-like with an extremely sharp and strong point.  The blade was richly ornamented with designs and engravings and a hook was provided a little way down the blade.  This weapon was used in England until around 1513.

Flanged Mace:

Flanged Mace

Already in circulation by the Normans and Saxons was the mace which experienced a decent life span in the Renaissance period, remaining until the 16th century.  The basic form of this weapon was a central head with radiating flanges surrounding it.  It contained a lead knob and a spike, which was an extension of the shaft.  Over time, the mace took on many forms including oval, dentated, and cog wheel shaped.  By the 16th century, this weapon had become the primary weapon of the sergeant of arms.

Introduced by the Swiss, the halberd was the most popular of all Renaissance weapons.  The weapon consisted of an axe blade balanced by a pick, with a spike shape elongating the head of the shaft.  The spike morphed, broadening and flattening, until it developed into a blade-like aspect curved downward towards the shaft.  This became the main weapon for the foot soldier and it seldom exceeded five or six feet in length.  The halberd had a strong ride, but was eventually replaced by the pike.

17th Century Swiss Halberd:

17th Century Swiss Halberd

Another weapon spreading to England in the “age of rebirth” was the partisan in the 14th century.  From there, it enjoyed wide use all through Europe from the 15th to the 17th centuries, most notably in France.  This double-edged blade had a wide base with a tapered point.  It was also symmetrical, balanced on both sides.  Modifications of the partisan were eventually made resulting in the ranseur and the spetum.

In addition to these weapons, many developments and changes were made to swords, guns, and a fair amount of other weaponry.  To have a glance at our full Renaissance weapon collection, as well as the Medieval weapons which overflowed into this period, visit:

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