The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of February 29, 2024



c. 1500–25

Did You Know?

Halberds could vary in length but most are around 6.5 feet.


The halberd was a staff weapon favored by European infantries (foot soldiers) of the 1400s and 1500s for its versatility and deadly effect. The word halberd comes from the German words Halm (staff) and Barte (axe). The halberd is, in fact, an axe that served multiple functions: the axe blade was used for hacking, the spike for thrusting, and the beak for piercing plate armor or for pulling a knight from his saddle. The halberd was used by shock troops (those who lead an attack) and by Swiss and German mercenaries. After about 1550, the halberd gradually became less functional. Its large blade provided space for coats of arms and insignia. By the late 1500s, the parade halberd had become a ceremonial weapon for palace guards.
  • Frank Gair Macomber; Boston; cat. #64.
  • Catalogue of Arms and Armour. Vol. 2, 16th century. [Boston, Massachusetts]: [Frank Gair Macomber], [1900-1915]. Mentioned and Reproduced: No. (64) 69
    Gilchrist, Helen Ives. A Catalogue of the Collection of Arms & Armor Presented to the Cleveland Museum of Art by Mr. and Mrs. John Long Severance; 1916-1923. Cleveland: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1924. Mentioned: p. 192, H37
  • European Arms and Armor from the Cleveland Museum of Art (Long-term Loan). Birmingham Museum of Art (organizer) (July 1, 1993-July 1, 1995).
    Armor Court Reinstallation. The Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer).
  • {{cite web|title=Halberd|url=false|author=|year=c. 1500–25|access-date=29 February 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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