Swordstaff

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A Swordstaff (Svärdstav) is a Scandinavian polearm, used in the medieval ages. It is made by placing a blade at the end of a staff.

Evidence of the weapon in use at the Battle of Elfsborg (Alvesborg) 1502 is provided by Paul Dolstein, a landsknecht mercenary who fought in the battle, who refers to the Swedes carrying "good pikes made from swords". He also provides sketches of the weapon.[1]

Paul Dolstein's sketch of a Swedish militiaman with swordstaff in combat with a landsknecht

Although Dolstein believed the weapon was made from swords, there is no independent confirmation of this.

Origins[edit]

The weapon has visual similarities to the partisan and Langue de boeuf and may share common origins. However, Scandinavian Sagas make references to a number of pole weapons, usually translated as halberd or bill.[2] These weapons are used to cut and to stab but their names suggest they were derived from the spear rather than a cutting weapon e.g. the Hewing Spear (höggspjót) and the atgeir[1]. While clearly identifiable artistic or archaeological evidence of the form of these weapons is lacking, it is possible that the swordstaff may be a late derivative of this family of weapons.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ John Richards : Landsknecht Soldier 1486-1560, Osprey Warrior 49, 2002 pp51-52. media:dolstein 2.gif
  2. ^ For list of saga references to these weapons, see

External links[edit]

For discussion, contemporary illustrations and reconstruction see [2]