Halberd (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
A pole weapon tipped with an ax blade opposite a pick and a long pike head. It was normally five to six feet long. Serving a dual purpose as a thrusting and cleaving weapon, it was commonly used by western European infantry during the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. As armor fell into disuse, the ax element of the halberd lessened in utility and the weapon largely succumbed to the lance. Still, it retained a ceremonial purpose and many seventeenth century examples were heavily engraved or otherwise adorned. The halberd remains a symbol of authority, carried on ceremonial occasions by the Papal Swiss Guard, Scottish magistrates, and others.
(The entire section is 108 words.)
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