Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Tennessee, USA
Identify this polearm? With inscription!
I acquired this some years ago from Fagan Arms, so, needless to say, I overpaid.
Here is the original description from them:
ďRARE ANTIQUE ITALIAN VOLGUE C.1550-1600
Known in Italian as a falcione. The iron axe blade with a Gothic alphabet stamped inscription along the back edge. The heavy forged iron top spike for attacking armor with connecting bar to the blade shows wrought iron lamination and traces of an inscription. The volgue originated in Switzerland and evolved into the halberd as well as evolving in its original form through the 18th century. Town arsenals were stocked with volgues along with other weapons and armor. They armed the populous in the event of attack. This example may be dated to the period of full plate armor by its combination of heavy back spike and sword like cutting blade. Length: 63 1/2".Ē
I donít dispute that it is properly a voulge, as opposed to a bardiche. I think the heavy backspike does imply plate armor days, so Iím thinking pre-1650. The angles of the spike are no good for hooking, it isnít sufficient as a counterweight, and it would be a waste of iron if it wasnít included for the purposes of being used as a spike. It appears to be a purposeful inclusion/design.
Fagan Arms does not supply prior paperwork or details, but I think itís a safe assumption they acquired it with some sort of knowledge it was Italian, whether by the prior owner or if they got it from Italy directly.
Construction-wise, I see no other extant examples that combine these features. Obviously in the world of polearms, we see a lot of variations and hybrids, so sometimes we just have to be satisfied with a mystery.
However, the inscription on it could have some clues. Iím unable to identify the characters, but was wondering if anyone here had some insight.