Ancient battle axes of copper and bronze, types, a brief history of development and improvement.

The discovery of the processes of mining and processing of metals, initially copper, and subsequently bronze and iron, has become an important factor in the development of civilization. It was at this moment that the first states were formed, a military organization was developing, and professional armies appeared. It is difficult to overestimate the appearance of a metal weapon in the armament of an ancient warrior. 

Ancient battle axes of copper and bronze, types, a brief history of development and improvement.

Metal weapons were much more durable, lightweight and effective compared to the wall guns. With the discovery of metals, military weapons are further separated from working tools. Bronze as a material is obtained by mixing copper and tin. Bronze products were much more efficient than copper products..

Iron as a material was discovered by man at about the same time as bronze. But only after mastering the technology of hardening, iron could compete with bronze, and then displace it. This process, as in the case of the replacement of stone tools with bronze, occurs unevenly in different regions of the globe. Subsequently, thanks to the enrichment of iron with carbon, mankind received steel – the most suitable material for the manufacture of weapons and equipment.

Ancient battle axes of copper and bronze, types, a brief history of development and improvement.

The battle ax is a fairly common weapon in antiquity, albeit relatively expensive. The battle ax was widely used in ancient Egypt as a weapon of military leaders, and later as a melee weapon of infantrymen..

Small battle axes were widespread among the nomadic peoples of Eurasia, in particular among the Scythians, as a rider’s weapon. In ancient Greece, a two-sided bronze ax – labris was very popular..

Judging by the drawings on ancient vases, the labris was used as a weapon and as a household tool. Richly decorated samples were used as ceremonial weapons, the labris was considered an attribute of the supreme Greek deity – Zeus.

“Bushy” axes, “Celts” or “thumbtacks”.

A separate mention deserves a group of axes under the general name of “bush” axes, or, as they are also called, “Celts”, or “paws.” The main difference between such tools from the usual eye-type eyebrows is the ax bent at right angles, inserted into the hollow end of the piece of iron – the shock part.

A similar design was often found in Europe, at the end of the Bronze Age. However, even with the development of iron and the appearance of an eyelet, axes of the “sleeve” type continued to exist for a long time.

Based on the book Small Encyclopedia of Cold Steel.
Pavel Yugrinov.

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