Throwing axe

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Traditional form tomahawk Tomahawk in stump.jpg
Traditional form tomahawk

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 (much like throwing a baseball) in a manner that causes the axe to rotate as it travels through the air.

Middle Ages Period of European history from the 5th to the 15th century

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

Baseball Sport

Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher, throws a ball which a player on the batting team tries to hit with a bat. The objectives of the offensive team are to hit the ball into the field of play, and to run the bases—having its runners advance counter-clockwise around four bases to score what are called "runs". The objective of the defensive team is to prevent batters from becoming runners, and to prevent runners' advance around the bases. A run is scored when a runner legally advances around the bases in order and touches home plate. The team that scores the most runs by the end of the game is the winner.


Axe throwing is a sport in which the competitor throws an axe at a target, attempting to hit the bullseye as near as possible like that of the archery. Axe throwing is an event held in most lumberjack competitions. A skilled axe thrower will rotate the throwing axe exactly once throughout the flight so that the sharpened edge of the head will penetrate the target. Throwing axes are becoming popular among outdoor enthusiasts as a throwing tool.

Axe throwing sport of throwing axes

Axe throwing is a sport in which the competitor throws an axe at a target, attempting to hit the bulls eye as near as possible. Axe throwing is an event in most lumberjack competitions. Today there are commercial locations in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom where participants can compete, similar to dart throwing, as well as opportunities at festivals and some theme parks.

Archery art, sport, practice or skill of using a bow to shoot arrows

Archery is the art, sport, practice, or skill of using a bow to shoot arrows. The word comes from the Latin arcus. Historically, archery has been used for hunting and combat. In modern times, it is mainly a competitive sport and recreational activity. A person who participates in archery is typically called an archer or a bowman, and a person who is fond of or an expert at archery is sometimes called a toxophilite.


Different types of the Francisca Franziska.png
Different types of the Francisca

Throwing axes have been used since prehistoric times and were developed into the francisca by the Franks in the 3rd century AD. Although generally associated with the Franks, it was also used by other Germanic peoples of the period including the Anglo-Saxons. 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. Sometimes the head is more up swept, 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. Even this New World weapon experienced some influence by the francisca in the French territories. Tomahawk throwing competitions still take place today.

Francisca Cold weapon

The francisca 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.

Franks people

The Franks were a collection of Germanic peoples, whose name was first mentioned in 3rd century Roman sources, associated with tribes on the Lower and Middle Rhine, on the edge of the Roman Empire. Later the term was associated with later Romanized Germanic dynasties within the collapsing Western Roman Empire, who eventually commanded the whole region between the rivers Loire and Rhine. They then imposed power over many other post-Roman kingdoms and Germanic peoples, and still later they were given recognition by the Catholic Church as successors to the old rulers of the Western Roman Empire.

Anglo-Saxons Germanic tribes who started to inhabit parts of Great Britain from the 5th century onwards

The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited Great Britain from the 5th century. They comprise people from Germanic tribes who migrated to the island from continental Europe, their descendants, and indigenous British groups who adopted many aspects of Anglo-Saxon culture and language; the cultural foundations laid by the Anglo-Saxons are the foundation of the modern English legal system and of many aspects of English society; the modern English language owes over half its words – including the most common words of everyday speech – to the language of the Anglo-Saxons. Historically, the Anglo-Saxon period denotes the period in Britain between about 450 and 1066, after their initial settlement and up until the Norman conquest. The early Anglo-Saxon period includes the creation of an English nation, with many of the aspects that survive today, including regional government of shires and hundreds. During this period, Christianity was established and there was a flowering of literature and language. Charters and law were also established. The term Anglo-Saxon is popularly used for the language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons in England and eastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century. In scholarly use, it is more commonly called Old English.


A hurlbat (or whirlbat, whorlbat) is the term used for a type of weapon with unclear original definition. Older reference works refer to it largely as a type of club, either held in the hand or possibly thrown. Modern usage appears to refer to a type of throwing-axe.

Nzappa zap

Ceremonial axe, Songe people, Honolulu Museum of Art, 3023 Ceremonial axe, Songe people, Honolulu Museum of Art, 3023.JPG
Ceremonial axe, Songe people, Honolulu Museum of Art, 3023

The Nzappa zap is a weapon from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This weapon is certainly one of the more unusual-looking throwing axes. The Nzappa zaps sometimes had an iron head with two or three human faces. The handle had the shape of a club with a round upper part. The head is attached to the club via struts, giving the weapon its unique design. Besides being thrown, these axes were sometimes used to injure the enemy directly by hand. This can be used both for short distances throw and as a melee weapon in hand-to-hand combat.

Democratic Republic of the Congo Country in Central Africa

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, also known as DR Congo, the DRC, DROC, Congo-Kinshasa, East Congo, or simply the Congo, is a country located in Central Africa. It is sometimes anachronistically referred to by its former name of Zaire, which was its official name between 1971 and 1997. It is, by area, the largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa, the second largest in all of Africa, and the 11th-largest in the world. With a population of over 78 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populous officially Francophone country, the fourth-most-populous country in Africa, and the 16th-most-populous country in the world. Eastern DR Congo has been the scene of ongoing military conflict in Kivu, since 2015.

A melee weapon, or close combat weapon, is any weapon used in direct hand-to-hand combat; by contrast with ranged weapons which act at a distance. The term melee originates in the 1640s from the French word mêlée, which refers to hand-to-hand combat, a close quarters battle, a brawl, a confused fight, etc.

Hand-to-hand combat is a physical confrontation between two or more persons at very short range that does not involve the use of ranged weapons. While the phrase "hand-to-hand" appears to refer to unarmed combat, the term is generic and may include use of melee weapons such as knives, sticks, batons, spears, or improvised weapons such as entrenching tools. While the term hand-to-hand combat originally referred principally to engagements by combatants on the battlefield, it can also refer to any personal physical engagement by two or more people, including law enforcement officers, civilians, and criminals.

See also

Related Research Articles

Pole weapon elongated arms that have a metal tip

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 farm implements or other tools, and contain relatively little metal, they were cheap to make and readily available. This made them 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.

Tomahawk Axe from North America

A tomahawk is a type of single-handed axe from North America, traditionally resembling a hatchet with a straight shaft. The name came into the English language in the 17th century as an adaptation of the Powhatan word.

Hatchet single-handed striking tool with a sharp blade on one side used to cut and split wood, and a hammer head on the other side

A hatchet is a single-handed striking tool with a sharp blade on one side used to cut and split wood, and a hammer head on the other side. Hatchets may also be used for hewing when making flattened surfaces on logs; when the hatchet head is optimized for this purpose it is called a broadaxe.

Knife throwing

Knife throwing is an art, sport, combat skill, or variously an entertainment technique, involving an artist skilled in the art of throwing knives, the weapons thrown, and a target. In some stage performances, the knife thrower ties an assistant to the target, and throws to miss them.

Dane axe Viking axe

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.

Battle axe axe specifically designed for combat

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.

Ranged weapon weapon that can harm targets at distances greater than hand-to-hand distance

A ranged weapon is any weapon that can engage targets beyond hand-to-hand distance, i.e. at distances greater than the physical reach of the weapon itself. It is sometimes also called projectile weapon or missile weapon because it typically works by launching projectiles, though technically a directed-energy weapon is also a ranged weapon. In contrast, a weapon intended to be used in hand-to-hand combat is called a melee weapon.


A froe, shake axe or paling knife is a tool for cleaving wood by splitting it along the grain. It is an L-shaped tool, used by hammering one edge of its blade into the end of a piece of wood in the direction of the grain, then twisting the blade in the wood by rotating the haft (handle).

Knife juggling

Knife juggling is a variant of toss juggling using blunt knives as props which are thrown and caught. Although knives are sometimes juggled recreationally, it is generally a performance art. Knife juggling is typically seen performed by street entertainers as part of a routine, or at art or historical festivals.

Nzappa zap

The Nzappa zap is a traditional weapon from the Congo similar to an axe or hatchet. It has an ornate wrought-iron blade connected to a club-like wooden handle, often clad in copper, bronze or brass.


A mambele is a form of hybrid knife/axe in mid- to southern Africa, but was originally a curved throwing dagger used by the Mangbetu. It consists of an iron blade with a curved back section and rearward spike. It can be used in close combat as a hatchet or dagger, or more typically, thrown. This weapon usually consists of 4 blades, 3 on top, and one on the side. The curved hook was used to keep the weapon in the victim, and if pulled out, caused further damage. It would have been about 22 inches in length. These African iron weapons are thrown with a rotatory motion, and inflict deep wounds with their projecting blades.

The epsilon axe is a type of battle axe named for its similarity to the Greek letter epsilon (ϵ). The epsilon axe was widely used throughout the Middle East, its usage spread from there and grew in popularity to be used in eastern Europe and Russia as well as the Nordic countries. The axe is also depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphics with the warrior carrying both the epsilon axe and a shield thus leaving some to believe that this weapon was used also as a one handed weapon. Bronze examples of the Assyrian design are kept in the British Museum. Some historians have called the epsilon axe the "poor man's" kopesh, it is possible that the epsilon axe would be assigned to less valuable or "irregular" infantry while main forces would be equipped with the kopesh.

Native American weaponry Used by Native Americans to hunt and to do battle with other Native American tribes

Native American weaponry was used by Native Americans to hunt and to do battle with other Native American tribes. Native American weaponry can be grouped into five types of weapons: striking weapons, cutting weapons, piercing weapons, defensive weapons, and symbolic weapons.

Weaponry in Anglo-Saxon England Types and usage of weaponry in Anglo-Saxon England

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.