The dagger-axe (Chinese :戈; pinyin :gē; Wade–Giles :ko) is a type of pole weapon that was in use from the Erlitou culture until the Han dynasty in China. It consists of a dagger-shaped blade, mounted by its tang to a perpendicular wooden shaft. The earliest dagger-axe blades were made of stone. Later versions used bronze. Jade versions were also made for ceremonial use. There is a variant type with a divided two-part head, consisting of the usual straight blade and a scythe-like blade.
The dagger-axe was the first weapon in Chinese history that was not also a dual-use tool for hunting (such as the bow and arrow) or agriculture. Lacking a point for thrusting, the dagger-axe was used in the open where there was enough room to swing its long shaft. Its appearance on the Chinese battlefield predated the use of chariots and the later dominance of tightly packed infantry formations.
During the Zhou dynasty, the ji or Chinese halberd gradually became more common on the battlefield. The ji was developed from the dagger-axe by adding a spear head to the top of the shaft, thereby enabling the weapon to be used with a thrusting motion as well as a swinging motion. Later versions of the ji, starting in the Spring and Autumn period, combined the dagger-axe blade and spear head into a single piece.
By the Han dynasty, the more versatile ji had completely replaced the dagger-axe as a standard infantry weapon.  The ji was later replaced by the spear as the primary polearm of the Chinese military. By the Warring States period, large masses of infantry fighting in close ranks using the spear or ji had displaced the small groups of aristocrats on foot or mounted in chariots who had previously dominated the battlefield. 
Many excavated dagger-axes are ceremonial jade weapons found in the tombs of aristocrats. These examples are often found within coffins, possibly meant to serve as emblems of authority and power, or in some other ritualistic capacity. Sometimes they are found in a pit dug beneath a coffin, with a victim who was sacrificed to guard the tomb, where they presumably are intended to keep the spirit-guard armed. Normally only the head of a dagger-axe is found, with the shaft absent because of either decomposition or mechanical removal. Although the jade examples do not appear to have been intended for use in actual combat, their morphology closely imitates that of the battle-ready bronze version, including a sharp central ridge which reinforces the blade. Some dagger-axe artifacts are small and curved and could have been intended for use as pendants.
A polearm or pole weapon is a close combat weapon in which the main fighting part of the weapon is fitted to the end of a long shaft, typically of wood, thereby extending the user's effective range and striking power. Polearms are predominantly melee weapons, with a subclass of spear-like designs fit for both thrusting and throwing. Because many polearms were adapted from agricultural implements or other fairly abundant tools, and contained relatively little metal, they were cheap to make and readily available. When warfare would break out and the belligerents had a poorer class who could not pay for dedicated military weapons, leaders would often appropriate tools as cheap weapons. The cost of training was comparatively minimal, since these conscripted farmers had spent most of their lives using these "weapons" in the fields. This made polearms the favored weapon of peasant levies and peasant rebellions the world over.
A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a shaft, usually of wood, with a pointed head. The head may be simply the sharpened end of the shaft itself, as is the case with fire hardened spears, or it may be made of a more durable material fastened to the shaft, such as bone, flint, obsidian, iron, steel, or bronze. The most common design for hunting or combat spears since ancient times has incorporated a metal spearhead shaped like a triangle, lozenge, or leaf. The heads of fishing spears usually feature barbs or serrated edges.
A halberd is a two-handed pole weapon that came to prominent use during the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. The word halberd is cognate with the German word Hellebarde, deriving from Middle High German halm (handle) and barte (battleaxe) joined to form helmbarte. Troops that used the weapon were called halberdiers.
A pike is a very long thrusting spear formerly used in European warfare from the Late Middle Ages and most of the Early Modern Period, and were wielded by foot soldiers deployed in pike square formation, until it was largely replaced by bayonet-equipped muskets. The pike was particularly well-known as the primary weapon of Swiss mercenary and German Landsknecht units. A similar weapon, the sarissa, had been used in antiquity by Alexander the Great's Macedonian phalanx infantry.
Dao are single-edged Chinese swords, primarily used for slashing and chopping. The most common form is also known as the Chinese sabre, although those with wider blades are sometimes referred to as Chinese broadswords. In China, the dao is considered one of the four traditional weapons, along with the gun, qiang (spear), and the jian, called in this group "The General of Weapons".
A bill is a class of agricultural implement used for trimming tree limbs, which was often repurposed for use as an infantry polearm. In English, the term 'Italian bill' is applied to the similar roncone or roncola, but the Italian version tended to have a long thrusting spike in addition to the cutting blade.
A battle axe is an axe specifically designed for combat. Battle axes were specialized versions of utility axes. Many were suitable for use in one hand, while others were larger and were deployed two-handed.
The ji was a Chinese polearm, sometimes translated into English as spear or halberd, though they are fundamentally different weapons. They were used in one form or another for over 3000 years, from at least as early as the Zhou dynasty, until the end of the Qing dynasty. They are still used for training purposes in many Chinese martial arts.
A war scythe or military scythe is a form of pole weapon with a curving single-edged blade with the cutting edge on the concave side of the blade. Its blade bears a superficial resemblance to that of an agricultural scythe from which it is likely to have evolved, but the war scythe is otherwise unrelated to agricultural tools and is a purpose-built infantry melee weapon. The blade of a war scythe has regularly proportioned flats, a thickness comparable to that of a spear or sword blade, and slightly curves along its edge as it tapers to its point. This is very different from farming scythes, which have very thin and irregularly curved blades, specialised for mowing grass and wheat only, unsuitable as blades for improvised spears or polearms.
Sibat is the Filipino word for spear, used as a weapon or tool by natives of the Philippines. The term is used in Tagalog and Kinaray-a. It also called bangkaw, sumbling or palupad in the islands of Visayas and Mindanao; and budjak among Muslim Filipinos in western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of eastern North Africa, concentrated along the northern reaches of the Nile River in Egypt. The civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh, and it developed over the next three millennia. Its history occurred in a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as intermediate periods. Ancient Egypt reached its pinnacle during the New Kingdom, after which it entered a period of slow decline. Egypt was conquered by a succession of foreign powers in the late period, and the rule of the pharaohs officially ended in 31 BC, when the early Roman Empire conquered Egypt and made it a province. Although the Egyptian military forces in the Old and Middle kingdoms were well maintained, the new form that emerged in the New Kingdom showed the state becoming more organized to serve its needs.
A javelin is a light spear designed primarily to be thrown, historically as a ranged weapon, but today predominantly for sport. The javelin is almost always thrown by hand, unlike the sling, bow, and crossbow, which launch projectiles with the aid of a hand-held mechanism. However, devices do exist to assist the javelin thrower in achieving greater distance, such as spear-throwers or the amentum.
Historically, Chinese swords are classified into two types, the jian and the dao. A Jian is a straight, double-edged sword mainly used for stabbing, and has been commonly translated into the English language as a longsword; while a dao is a single-edged sword mainly used for cutting, and has been translated as a saber or a "knife".
People have used weapons in warfare, hunting, self-defense, law enforcement, and criminal activity. Weapons also serve many other purposes in society including use in sports, collections for display, and historical displays and demonstrations. As technology has developed throughout history, weapons have changed with it.
The ancient Chinese chariot was used as an attack and pursuit vehicle on the open fields and plains of ancient China from around 1200 BCE. Chariots also allowed military commanders a mobile platform from which to control troops while providing archers and soldiers armed with dagger-axes increased mobility. They reached a peak of importance during the Spring and Autumn period, but were largely superseded by cavalry during the Han Dynasty.
Mughal weapons significantly evolved during the ruling periods of its various rulers. During its conquests throughout the centuries, the military of the Mughal Empire used a variety of weapons including swords, bows and arrows, horses, camels, elephants, some of the world's largest cannons, muskets and flintlock blunderbusses.
An edged weapon, or bladed weapon, is a melee weapon with a cutting edge. Bladed weapons include swords, daggers, knives, and bayonets. Edged weapons are used to cut, hack, or slash; some edged weapons may also permit thrusting and stabbing. Edged weapons contrast with blunt weapons such as maces, and with thrusting weapons such as spears.
"Hymn to the Fallen" (Jiu Ge) is a Classical Chinese poem which has been preserved in the Nine Songs section of the ancient Chinese poetry anthology, the Chu ci, or The Songs of Chu, which is an ancient set of poems. Together, these poems constitute one of the 17 sections of the poetry anthology which was published under the title of the Chuci. Despite the "Nine" in the title, the number of these poetic pieces actually consists of eleven separate songs, or elegies. This set of verses seems to represent some shamanistic dramatic practices of the Yangzi River valley area involving the invocation of divine beings and seeking their blessings by means of a process of courtship. The poetry consists of lyrics written for performance as part of a religious drama, however the lack of stage directions or indications of who is supposed to be singing at any one time or whether some of the lines represent lines for a chorus makes an accurate reconstruction of how such a shamanic drama would actually have been performed quite uncertain; although, there are internal textual clues, for example indicating the use of spectacular costumes for the performers, and an extensive orchestra. Although not precisely dated, "Hymn to the Fallen" dates from the end of the late the Warring States period, ended 221 BCE, with possible revisions in the Han dynasty, particularly during the reign of Han Wudi, during 141 to 87 BCE. The poem has been translated into English by David Hawkes as "Hymn to the Fallen". "Guo shang" is a hymn to soldiers killed in war. Guó (國) means the "state", "kingdom", or "nation". Shāng (殤) means to "die young". Put together, the title refers to those who meet death in the course of fighting for their country. David Hawkes describes it as "surely one of the most beautiful laments for fallen soldiers in any language".
The three most common types of Chinese polearms are the ge (戈), qiang (槍), and ji (戟). They are translated into English as dagger-axe, spear, and halberd. Dagger-axes were originally a short slashing weapon with a 0.9 to 1.8 m long shaft, but around the 4th century BC a spearhead was added to the blade, and it became a halberd. The spear is also sometimes called a mao (矛), which is sometimes used to designate polearms with a wavy snake-like spearhead. There was another polearm weapon known as the pi (鈹), translated into English as either sword-staff or long lance, that was used from ancient times until the Han dynasty. It was essentially a short sword attached to a stick. From the Warring States period onward, the length of Chinese polearms varied from around 2.8 m to 5.5 m, however there is no specific designation for a pike in the traditional Chinese lexicon. A very long spear is just called a long spear.