Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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bvieira 23rd October 2018 10:35 AM

Bardiche Axe
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I have one interesting axe in my collection, i bought it some years ago together with some other edged arms from a very important family in Portugal, their house had 400 years of history....

It's interesting because the axe is a bardiche, this kind of axe was used by the turkish in the otoman empire, it's interesting how this arm ended up in Portugal, i suspect it maybe brought has a war trophy.

Now i share the axe with you all with the hope to know more about it, the questions i have made do myself are:

1) How old is it ?
2) Why the material (iron) has that colour ?

Thank You,



Battara 8th November 2018 10:37 PM

Perhaps this needs to go to the Ethno section for more answers.

fernando 9th November 2018 01:04 PM

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Bruno, i see that you still struggle with your pictures exercises ;) ; it would be excellent to see that nice example of yours in a complete pose.
Perhaps attributing this weapon an Ottoman provenance is something to consider about. Although these were used in Turkey and in West Europe, they were (more ?) abundant further East, like in Russia, from where actually their name (Berdiche) comes from.


fernando 9th November 2018 01:19 PM

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More ...


bvieira 12th November 2018 12:40 PM

Originally Posted by fernando
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Hello Fernando,

Thanks for the information, it may be Russian yes mine is very similar with the one on the photo, but i have seen the same model on turkish otoman paitings, how old do you think it is ?



fernando 12th November 2018 02:58 PM

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Well Bruno, what i meant to say is that the Bardiche, a term from the Russian бердыш (Berdyš), regardless of having also been used by Turks, is not an Ottoman 'native' weapon.
If on one hand is easy (for us all) to trace its historic 'career', on the other it is not so easy (for me) to date your specific example, specially because i don't have such knowledge and also because, not holding it in hands and only judging by photos, it is either possible that it might be an early item or having just been made the other day ... specially with nowadays existing ageing processes out there.
A curious note is the various purposes these weapons served, since execution axes to 'utilitarian' devices for resting the muskets when shooting.


ariel 12th November 2018 03:22 PM

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Berdyshes have a " cherry on top": they could be used as an axe or glaive, but in close quarters the weapon could be gripped within the space bordered by the concave rear end of the blade and the handle, and the fighter could use the blade as a stabbing weapon. Also, they served as supports for the harquebuses.
They are known in Egypt an Turkey since 15-16 centuries, but in Russia they became known only at the end of 17 century ( Yu. Kukin's review of them). Per him, they were adopted by the Russian " streltsy" ( "shooters") from Polish-Hungarian Infantry. Thus, likely, they originally started in the Ottoman Empire.

The holes at the back of the blade are not specific for the Russian troops: in fact, Kukin notices briefly that their presence was just occasional.
The attached pics are from a book by A.B. Viscovatov on Russian military weapons, published in 1848 and from Suzdal Museum.

fernando 12th November 2018 04:21 PM

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Ariel, i gather that we have had a cross post issue.The Streltsy and the musket rest purpose were illutrated and mentioned in my previous post. On the other hand, i wouldn't know of A.B. Viscovatov's work (no surprise, i am no great reader) but, according to Bashford Dean's "Notes on Arms and Armor", this type of weapon was around all Europe before the 1400's.
... And apparently the Swis made good use of it at Montgarte (1315) and Sempach (1386).
... Further back, in Psalter Hours of Guiluys by Boisleux (1246-1250), this type (type) of weapon is illustrated.
All in all, i find it hard to digest that the Bardiche is an Ottoman weapon.
But then ... what do i know ? :o


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