German State Halberd of the Guard of the Emperor Ferdinand I 

  • Dated: 1563
  • Measurements: head length 52.9 cm. Overall length 223.2 cm

The head features a broad central spike formed with a medial ridge, rear fluke cut with wavy edges about the base, while the axe-blade comes with cusped back edges. There is an open socket extending to form a pair of long straps and they feature a pair of subsidiary straps fitted at the left- and right-hand sides.

Each face of the head is decorated with etched panels of foliage, involving the date “1563” on the fluke, while the axe-blade is bearing the arms of The Holy Roman Empire quartered with those of Austria and Burgundy and encircled by the collar of The Order of The Golden Fleece.

The Imperial crown sits above, flanked by the cipher “KF” for Kaiser Ferdinand. Thee date, the collar and the crown all comes with traces of original gilding and they are all on a contrasting etched stippled and blackened ground.

Source: Copyright © 2014 Hermann Historica


European Halberd

  • Dated: early 17th century
  • Culture: German
  • Measurements: height 242 cm

The halberd has a cusp of square section, hollow axe slightly counter-curved at the upper part that is decorated with open-works. The weapon also features long humps at the back, and a straight beak thickened at the tip with ring-nut, straps and counter-straps and an octagonal, wooden haft.

Source: Copyright © 2014 Czerny’s International Auction House S.R.L.


Parade Halberd

  • Carried by the bodyguard of Ludwig Rudolf, Duke of Brunswick - Wolfenbüttel (1671-1735)
  • Dated: 18th century
  • Culture: German
  • Medium: blued, etched and gilded steel, wooden haft with orginal steel base spike, silk tassel with alternating blue and gold bands
  • Measurements: oerall - l:276.86 cm (l:109 inches); weight 1.60 kg
  • Inscription: ‘LR’ [Ludwig Rudolf]; 1717

Source: Copyright © 2014 Clevealand Museum of Art


Parade Halberd

  • Dated: 1717
  • Culture: German
  • Medium & Techniques: blued, etched and gilded steel, wooden haft with orginal steel base spike, silk tassel with alternating blue and gold bands
  • Measurements: overall length: 276.86 cm (109 inches); weight: 3.60 kg

Belonged to the bodyguard of Ludwig Rudolf, Duke of Brunswick- Wolfenbüttel.


  1. Louis Rudolph, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (German: Ludwig Rudolf) (22 July 1671 – 1 March 1735) ruled over the Wolfenbüttel subdivision of the duchy from 1731 until his death.
  2. Louis Rudolph was the youngest son of Anthony Ulrich, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg.
  3. He became a major general in the service of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor in 1690 and was promptly captured in battle by France.
  4. After being released the same year, his father gave him the County of Blankenburg as a present, thus violating primogeniture.
  5. In 1707, Blankenburg was raised to a principality of the Holy Roman Empire; in this way, Louis Rudolph became a ruling prince before his elder brother, Augustus William.
  6. On the death of Augustus William in 1731, Louis Rudolph also inherited Wolfenbüttel. After Augustus William had almost ruined the state, Louis Rudolph managed to restore the finances.
  7. Louis Rudolph died without male issue in 1735. He was succeeded by his first cousin, Ferdinand Albert II, who had married Louis Rudolph’s youngest daughter, Antoinette Amalie.

Source: Copyright © 2014 Cleveland Museum of Art

The Halberd

A halberd (also called halbard, halbert or Swiss voulge) is a two-handed pole weapon that came to prominent use during the 14th and 15th centuries. Possibly the word halberd comes from the German words “halm” (staff), and “barte” (axe) - in modern-day German, the weapon is called “Hellebarde”.

The halberd consists of an axe blade topped with a spike mounted on a long shaft. It always has a hook or thorn on the back side of the axe blade for grappling mounted combatants. It is very similar to certain forms of the voulge in design and usage. The halberd was 1.5 to 1.8 metres (5 to 6 feet) long.

The halberd was cheap to produce and very versatile in battle. As the halberd was eventually refined, its point was more fully developed to allow it to better deal with spears and pikes (also able to push back approaching horsemen), as was the hook opposite the axe head, which could be used to pull horsemen to the ground.

Additionally, halberds were reinforced with metal rims over the shaft, thus making effective weapons for blocking other weapons like swords. This capability increased its effectiveness in battle, and expert halberdiers were as deadly as any other weapon masters. A halberd in the hands of a Swiss peasant was the weapon which killed the Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold, decisively ending the Burgundian Wars, literally in a single stroke.

The halberd was the primary weapon of the early Swiss armies in the 14th and early 15th centuries. Later on, the Swiss added the pike to better repel knightly attacks and roll over enemy infantry formations, with the halberd, hand-and-a-half sword, or the dagger known as the Schweizerdolch being used for closer combat.

The German Landsknechte, who imitated Swiss warfare methods, also used the pike, supplemented by the halberd, but their side arm of choice was the short sword known as the Katzbalger. The halberd has been used as a court bodyguard weapon for centuries, and is still the ceremonial weapon of the Swiss Guard in the Vatican.

Source: Wikipedia

Photo source: Higgins Armory Museum via We Love DC 


Netherlandish Parade Halberd

  • Dated: circa 1590-1600

With central spike, transverse lug, the neck enclosed at both ends with a pair of openwork collars each formed as a series of raised bands chiselled with human masks in low relief. With tubular socket extending to form iron straps.

Large slender crescent shaped blade pierced and chiselled with scrolling marine monsters, the rear fluke pierced and chiselled en-suite and drawn out to a reinforced point on octagonal wood haft.

Source & Copyright: Peter Finer