Parade Partizan of the life guard of Duke August Wilhelm, of Brunswick-Luneburg in Wolfenbüttel,
dated 1718, etched and fire gilded.
Overall length: 258 cm.
Dossier as PDF
Head length without socket: 42,6 cm.
Head width maximum: 30 cm.
The partizan belongs to the group of polearms and originates in early 15th century Italy. Partizan is a term that has its roots in the Italian word partigiana for
party supporter. Obviously mercenaries of the Italian wars of the 15th and 16th centuries had been equipped with the early types of this weapon. Its period of usage
lasted until the 18th century. As a rudimentary form the so called spontoon was prevalent well into the 19th century, being an officer’s sign of rank.
Like other types of arms the partizan underwent technical changes in the course of time. The original form that was also called oxtongue features a blade of arm length
tapering evenly to an acute point with straight edges. At the base it was about a hand wide. In order to reinforce the head it was often forged with a midrib. While
early examples predominately lacked parrying devices soon two hooks were molded at the base of the blade. In this way it became feasible to parry the opponent’s
attacks and a skilful combatant could also clamp the enemy’s weapon and snatch it away. Like other polearms an advantage of it was keeping the adversary at a
In the course of the 16th century the parrying hooks became larger and the blade shorter. Officers now carried partizans as signs of rank.
An important function of this polearm was its usage by live guards of European monarchs. Suchlike pieces were flamboyantly adorned and meant to express the status
and wealth of the ruler. By the 18th century these polearms served a more representative and ceremonial purpose since their practical value for the protection of the
sovereign became rather limited. more