Parade Spear

Parade Spear

c. 1570-1600

Steel, etched; brass lugs; hexagonal wood haft with leather straps; woolen tassel

Overall: 208.2 cm (81 15/16 in.); Blade: 29.5 cm (11 5/8 in.)

Weight: 1.4 kg (3.09 lbs.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Severance 1916.1789

Did you know?

The Hapsburg coat of arms, seen here, features a double-headed eagle.


This weapon is etched with the imperial Hapsburg arms on one face and the Burgundian stave cross of St. Andrew on the other. In the 1500s, parade spears of this type became part of the insignia of infantry and light cavalry officers in the imperial army. In 1548 Titian painted an equestrian portrait of Emperor Charles V holding such a spear. At his abdication in 1556, Charles split the Hapsburg inheritance between his son, Philip II of Spain, to whom was awarded control of Burgundy, and his brother, Frederick, to whom went the imperial title and the family's central European lands. This spear probably belongs to this later period and its purpose was likely ceremonial.

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