The war scythe has been described as a "peasant's weapon" and as with the morning star, suffered from the myth that they were farm tools pressed into service. In fact, German and Swiss arsenals included stocks of both. Notably, the town arsenal (zeughause) in Lucerne maintained a stock of war scythes. This example, formerly in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and illustrated in the benchmark work on the subject, Stone's Glossary (figure 700, #3) disproves the myth, as it has an integral back hook for unhorsing an attacker, a feature which would have been an impediment and unnecessary expense for a farm tool. The base of the blade is struck with a large maker's mark, partially obscured from and uneven strike.
Length: 83 1/2" Provenance: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Literature: Illustrated, A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and use of Arms and Armor, George Cameron Stone, 1934, page 545, figure 700, #3.