Jul 12, 2013

Weapons & Warriors: The Corseque of the Europeans

Art by TL Jeffcoat
At first glance, some would think the Corseque was an over-sized fancy spear. It is actually a member of the polearm family. It was very popular in Europe during the 1500’s and 1600’s. There were many kinds of polearms, especially in Europe. Some had small axe blades or spikes, some were topped with a single spear head, and some were shorter and had multiple blades and spikes. The Corseque was around 4.5 to 7.5 feet (or 1.5 to 2.5 meters) and topped with three blades at the tip, but not like a trident. The center blade was long and flat with two slightly thicker but shorter blades flanking either side. All three blades were made as one complete steel piece with a hollow interior at the base so that a long wooden shaft could be wedged in.

Polearms were most often used by infantry to keep warriors on horseback away from them in battle. The reach of most polearms was enough to strike down a horse or the rider before they could get in reach with hoof or sword. The Corseque had two different styles of blades. The center blade had the typical purpose, to puncture anything that charges the warrior holding it. The blade was long enough to completely penetrate the human body or the neck of a horse and strong enough to puncture a breastplate with enough momentum. 

Charging cavalry at a row of Corseque would result in a lot of dead cavalry. This was one of the uses for polearms. Pikes were the most common used for this purpose in Europe, but they were unwieldy and difficult to turn with when in a group. It took a moment to shift to set the butt in the ground to brace it so the blade can punch a hole in anything charging. The corseque could be used in this manner, but it was more than a pole. The Corseque could use the side blades to do additional damage, or hook the horseman and drag him down. Thrusting the tip could also keep riders and wary horses at a distance.

There are two different designs for the blade of the Corseque. One set had the two small blades pointed at an angle along with the main blade to create a triple tipped threat that could pierce and push a horseman or his horse. The other design had smaller blades that hooked back towards the shaft. They would primarily be used to grab the horseman and pull him down from his mount if the warrior failed to puncture him after thrusting.

The Corseque resembles the ancient Spetum because of its three blades. The extra blades gave both of these weapons a serious advantage over spears because less precision is required to hit a vital organ or neck.

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Weapons and Warriors, click here to view the entire catalog of weapons and cultures. Thank you, see you next week.

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