36. WAR SCYTHE, 17th -18THC., EUROPE

Origin: Europe.
Dimensions: total length – 56,5 cm, blade – 41,7 cm.
Steel slightly curved single edged war scythe, with wide blade near the tang, slightly narrowing towards the tip. Narrow tang for the shaft.
War scythes were a popular weapon of choice and opportunity of many peasant uprisings throughout history. The ancient Greek historian Xenophon describes in his work (Anabasis) the chariots of Artaxerxes II, which had projecting scythes fitted. Later, Jan Žižka's Hussite warriors, recruited mostly from peasantry, used modified scythes. Called originally 'kůsa -scythe' and later “sudlice,” it doubled as both a stabbing and cutting weapon, developing later into the “ušatásudlice”—Bohemian earspoon, more suitable for combat—thanks to side spikes (ears), acting as end stops, it did not penetrate too deep, and so was easier to draw from fallen foes.
War scythes were widely used by Polish and Lithuanian peasants during revolts in the 18th and 19th centuries. Polish peasants used war scythes during the 17th-century Swedish invasion (The Deluge). In the 1685 battle of Sedgemoor, James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, fielded a 5000 strong peasant unit armed with war scythes. They were used in the 1784 Transylvanian peasants' Revolt of Horea, Cloşca and Crişan, in the war in the Vendée by royalist peasant troops, in the 1st War of Schleswig in 1848 in Denmark, and again in various Polish uprisings: the Kościuszko Uprising in 1794 and the battle of Racławice, in which scythe wielders successfully charged and captured Russian artillery. In that year Chrystian Piotr Aigner published a field manual, Short Treatise on Pikes and Scythes, detailing the training and operation of scythe-equipped forces, the first and probably only such book in the history of warfare. War scythes were later used in the November Uprising in 1831, January Uprising in 1863, and Silesian Uprising in 1921. The description of a fighting unit as “scythemen” was used in Poland as late as 1939; however, the Gdynia "kosynierzy" were armed with hunting guns rather than scythes.
Condition report: good condition with amount of wear according to the age. Some pitting from corrosion.

Sale No 10180

Auction closed!
28 March 2017 20:00


Estimate 100-200 EUR




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