Rare Russian Poleaxe Bardiche ... Massive!
A most unusual and rare weapon from Russia, known as a Bardiche or a long form of Poleaxe. Polearms of this and other types were most generally used by the Streltsy in Russia, a military unit mainly of gunners and artillery introduced during the reign of Ivan the Terrible in the 16th Century. There was large variation in form and size, this example perhaps being one of the most extreme examples in that regard. Overall length 100 inches/254 cms, the blade measuring 40 inches in itself/ 102 cms. The crescentic cutting blade is thickened at the top as a stout spike, the blade is 'chisel' edged ie, one side of the blade is flat, the other is chamfered off to make a sharp edge, The haft of chamfered section, tapering down towards the end, upper regions reinforced with long twisted iron straps inserted into the shaft at back and front, where the blade is also attached for extra strength and rigidity. The shaft has two deep armoury markings one at the top, one midway. Axe blades of this type and size are found in Russia from the 12th Century onwards, this example likely dates from the 17th Century. Attched are similar blades found in National Museums including the Royal Arsenal Museums of Denmark, and Sweden, Smolensk, Vitebsk, Askeri Muse in Istanbul.