A Parade Halberd of the Trabantenleibgarde of the Elector August of Saxony, circa 1580.
Overall length: 211 cm.
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Head without langets: 75,5 cm.
Maximum width: 32,5 cm
The head is composed of a long spike of diamond section with ornamental cusps near the base
and an axe blade, tapering to a down-pointed beak with a reinforced point on one side, which
would have served for both penetrating plate armour by delivering a blow and for pulling an
enemy off his horse. There are two auxiliary flukes for decorative purposes, a double one on
the lower edge, and a single one on the upper, almost encompassing circles as an open work
ornament. On the other side the axe blade swings out vertically showing a concave edge, again
equipped with two auxiliary flukes. The socket is of square section and has decorative
mouldings. Below it extends into for langets that serve to attach the head to the haft by brass
capped and fire gild nails. The original wooden haft is of octagonal section.
There are extensive etchings all over the axe and the lower part of the spike in the shape of
polished foliate strapwork on a blackened ground. In the center of the blade on either side
cartouches comprise the coat of arms of Electoral and Ducal Saxony, respectively. Both
depictions are etched and fire gild. This suggests a ceremonial occurrence as a cause for the
design of this type of halberd and its use by those Trabanten closest to the Elector. The etching of the head is typical for South Germany and probably of Nuremberg
I. Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, Inv. No. W106 and W107.
II. Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Inv. No. 278.3 III.
Collezione Odescalchi, Rome, Inv. No. 1665.