The francisca (or francesca) is a throwing axe used as a weapon during the Early Middle Ages by the Franks, among whom it was a characteristic national weapon at the time of the Merovingians from about 500 to 750 and is known to have been used during the reign of Charlemagne (768–814).Although generally associated with the Franks, it was also used by other Germanic peoples of the period, including the Anglo-Saxons; several examples have been found in England.
The term francisca first appeared in the book Etymologiarum sive originum, libri XVIII by Isidore of Seville (c. 560–636) as a name used in Hispania to refer to these weapons "because of their use by the Franks".
The historian Gregory of Tours (c. 538–594) in his History of the Franks uses two Latin terms for the Frankish axe: securis and bipennis.
The régime of Vichy France used the image of a stylised double-headed francisque as part of its iconography (compare fasces).
The francisca is characterized by its distinctly arch-shaped head, widening toward the cutting edge and terminating in a prominent point at both the upper and lower corners. The top of the head is usually either S-shaped or convex with the lower portion curving inward and forming an elbow with the short wooden haft. cm (16–18 in) and a 10 cm (4 in) cutting edge with an average weight of around 600 g (21 oz, 1.3 lb). Based on the surviving heads of franciscas recovered at Burgh Castle and Morning Thorpe in county Norfolk, England, the length of the head itself measured 14–15 cm (5–6 in) from the edge to the back of the socket.Sometimes the head is more upswept, forming a wider angle with the haft. Most franciscas have a round or teardrop-shaped eye designed to fit the tapered haft, similar to Viking axes. Based on the measurements of modern replicas, the francisca had a haft length of around 40–45
The Byzantine historian Procopius (c. 500–565) described the Franks and their use of throwing axes:
...each man carried a sword and shield and an axe. Now the iron head of this weapon was thick and exceedingly sharp on both sides while the wooden handle was very short. And they are accustomed always to throw these axes at one signal in the first charge and thus shatter the shields of the enemy and kill the men.
Procopius makes it clear that the Franks threw their axes immediately before hand-to-hand combat with the purpose of breaking shields and disrupting the enemy line while possibly wounding or killing an enemy warrior. The weight of the head and length of the haft would allow the axe to be thrown with considerable momentum to an effective range of about 12 m (40 ft). Even if the edge of the blade were not to strike the target, the weight of the iron head could cause injury. The francisca also had a psychological effect, in that, on the throwing of the francisca, the enemy might turn and run in the fear that another volley was coming.
A pole weapon or pole arm 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. Because many pole weapons were adapted from agricultural implements or other tools in fairly large amount of abundance, and contain relatively little metal, they were cheap to make and readily available. When warfare breaks out and the belligerents have a poorer class who cannot pay for dedicated weapons made for war, military leaders resort to looking the appropriation of tools as cheap weapons. The cost of training was minimal, since these conscripted farmers had spent most of their lives in the familiar use of 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 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 bearded axe, or Skeggøx refers to various axes, used as a tool and weapon, as early as the 6th century AD. It is most commonly associated with Viking Age Scandinavians. The hook or "beard", i. e. the lower portion of the axe bit extending the cutting edge below the width of the butt, provides a wide cutting surface while keeping the overall weight of the axe low. The "beard" of the axe would also have been useful in battle, for example to pull weapons out of the defender's grasp, or to pull down a shield to allow another attacker to strike at the unprotected defender.
The term kopis in Ancient Greece could describe a heavy knife with a forward-curving blade, primarily used as a tool for cutting meat, for ritual slaughter and animal sacrifice, or refer to a single edged cutting or "cut and thrust" sword with a similarly shaped blade.
The Dane axe is an early type of battle axe, primarily used during the transition between the European Viking Age and early Middle Ages. Other names for the weapon include English long axe, Danish axe, and hafted axe.
The pollaxe is a European polearm that was widely used by medieval infantry.
Knowledge about military technology of the Viking Age is based on relatively sparse archaeological finds, pictorial representation, and to some extent on the accounts in the Norse sagas and laws recorded in the 14th century.
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 falx was a weapon with a curved blade that was sharp on the inside edge used by the Thracians and Dacians – and, later, a siege hook used by the Romans.
Seax is an Old English word for "knife". In modern archaeology, the term seax is used specifically for a type of small sword, knife or dagger typical of the Germanic peoples of the Migration period and the Early Middle Ages, especially the Saxons, whose name derives from the weapon. These vary considerably in size, but are mostly all-purpose tools and weapons, often carried by women as well as men.
The doloire or wagoner's axe was a tool and weapon used during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The axe had a wooden shaft measuring approximately 1.5 metres (5 feet) in length and a head that was pointed at the top and rounded at the bottom, resembling either a teardrop or an isosceles triangle. The top of the shaft was fitted with a metal eye or socket that was welded to the head of the axe near the base of the blade. The upper part of the blade extended above the eye, while the opposite side of the socket featured a small blunt hammer head. The head of the axe itself measured approximately 44 cm. (17 inches) in length, was sharpened on the back and flattened bottom edges, and was uniformly decorated with punched and incised abstract floral patterns.
The period of Anglo-Saxon warfare spans the 5th Century AD to the 11th in England. Its technology and tactics resemble those of other European cultural areas of the Early Middle Ages, although the Anglo-Saxons, unlike the Continental Germanic tribes such as the Franks and the Goths, do not appear to have regularly fought on horseback.
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 bow and arrow and slingshot, which shoot projectiles from a mechanism. However, devices do exist to assist the javelin thrower in achieving greater distance, generally called spear-throwers.
The spear or lance, together with the bow, the sword, the seax and the shield, was the main equipment of the Germanic warriors during the Migration Period and the Early Middle Ages.
The angon was a type of javelin used during the Early Middle Ages by the Franks and other Germanic peoples, including the Anglo-Saxons. It was similar to, and probably derived from, the pilum used by the Roman army and had a barbed head and long narrow socket or shank made of iron mounted on a wooden haft.
An axe is an implement that has been used for millennia to shape, split and cut wood, to harvest timber, as a weapon, and as a ceremonial or heraldic symbol. The axe has many forms and specialised uses but generally consists of an axe head with a handle, or helve.
A throwing axe is a weapon used during the Middle Ages by foot soldiers and occasionally knights. Usually, they are thrown in an overhand motion in a manner that causes the axe to rotate as it travels through the air.
Mughal weapons significantly evolved during the ruling periods of Babur, Akbar, Aurangzeb and Tipu Sultan. 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.
Native American weaponry was used by Native American peoples to hunt and to do battle with other Native American tribes and European colonizers. Native American weaponry can be grouped into five types of weapons: striking weapons, cutting weapons, piercing weapons, defensive weapons, and symbolic weapons.
Many different weapons were created and used in Anglo-Saxon England between the fifth and eleventh centuries. Spears, used for piercing and throwing, were the most common weapon. Other commonplace weapons included the sword, axe, and knife—bows and arrows, as well as slings, were not frequently used by the Anglo-Saxons. For defensive purposes, the shield was the most common item used by warriors, although mail and helmets were sometimes used.
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