Glaive of the Bodyguard of August I, Elector of Saxony

A work made of steel, brass, wood, and silk textie.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of steel, brass, wood, and silk textie.

Date:

1580

Artist:

German

About this artwork

Pole arms (staff weapons) were used not only in warfare and hunting, but also in sporting combat and ceremonies. The term refers to a family of edged weapons attached to wooden staffs. With the exception of the lance, which remained the weapon of the mounted knight, all other staff weapons were wielded by men on foot by 1600. With the development of firearms and their introduction as infantry weapons, pole arms lost their importance on the field, and from the mid-16th century, they were reserved for use in sporting contests and by princely bodyguards for ceremony and parade. The blades lent themselves to embellishment—engraving, etching, or other forms of decoration—and provided a perfect surface for the coats of arms of noble or princely families. The ceremonial use of staff weapons continues to this day with the Swiss Guards at the Vatican and Britain’s Yeomen of the Royal Guard.

On View

Arms, Armor, Medieval, and Renaissance, Gallery 239

Title

Glaive of the Bodyguard of August I, Elector of Saxony

Origin

Saxony

Date

1575–1585

Medium

Steel, brass, wood, and silk textie

Dimensions

L. 224.8 cm (88 1/2 in.) [object needs to be weighed]

Credit Line

George F. Harding Collection

Reference Number

1982.2359

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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