76. Of the PartisanΒΆ

Coming therefore to the Partisan, as unto the plainest, as unto that, whereupon all the rest depend, omitting to show who was the inventor thereof, as being to small purpose: I say, that it was found out to no other end, then for that the foot men in the wars, might be able with them to hurt those horsemen (whom they might not reach with their swords) aswell with their point as with their edge. Further, weapons which are to be cast, or sprung forth at the length of the arm, are for the most part deceitful, by means whereof, they might hurt aswell the Archers on horseback, as other horsemen.

Therefore, these Partisans were made big and of great paize, and of perfect good steel, to the end they might break the mail and divide the Iron.

And that this is true, it is to be seen in the ancient weapons of this sort, which are great and so well tempered, that they are of force to cut any other Iron. Afterwards, as men had considered, that as this weapon was only to strike, it might in some part thereof, have aswell something to ward withal, whereby it might be said to be a perfect weapon, they devised to add unto it two crooks or forks, by the which, that blow might be warded, which parting from the point and continuing down the staff, should come to hurt the person. And these forks, or (I may say) these defenses were by some men placed on that part of the Iron, which next adjoins to the staff, making them crooked and sharp, and handful long, and for the most part, with the points toward the enemy, to the end they might serve not only to defend, but also to strike. And to the end, the bigness and weight of the Partisan, (which ought to be apt and commodious to be handled) might not be increased, they diminished part of the Iron thereof, and gave the same to the forks or defenses: And by that means they framed another weapon called the javelin which (because the broadness, and happily the weight and place thereof is diminished) is not very forcible to strike with the edge, but all his power consists in three thrusts. others afterwards would not that these defenses should be placed at the lowermost part of the Iron, but in the middle thereof. And these men bearing great respect to the blows of the edge, left the Iron which should serve for the defense behind, in his breadth and weight, adjoining thereunto in the opposite part of the right edge, a most sharp point of Iron, to the end, that what way soever it were moved, it might strike and hurt. But if any man object and say: if the said point of Iron were put there in respect of striking, they might also as well have left there an edge, which being longer would strike more easily. I answer, that the blows of the false (that is to say, the hinder or back edge of the weapon) are very weak, and the point does strike and hurt more easily then the edge. And therefore it was requisite that there be facility where there was weakness. These men by these means framed the ancient weapon called the Halberd, out of the which, men of our age have derived and made another kind of Halberd and Bill. And these bearing also respect to some one profitable thing or other, did maintain the defense, and increase the hurting or offense.  The respect was, that as they discoursed and pondered with themselves, at length they very warily perceived that a man with his weapon in his hand, might make size motions, that is to say, one towards the head, one towards the feet, one towards the right side, one towards the left, one forwards and towards the enemy, the other backward and toward himself. of all the which, five of them might very well strike, and the last might neither strike nor defend. Therefore, providing that this last motion also should not be idle and unprofitable, they added a hook with the point turned towards the handle, with the which one might very easily tear armor, and draw perforce men from their horses. Those who framed the middle or mean Halberd, would that the same hook should be placed in the safe or back edge. And those that devised the Bill, would have it on the right edge, leaving the edge so long that the hook might not altogether hinder the low of the edge, but rather (to the end the edge might make the greater effect) they would that the hook should bear and edge and be cutting in every part thereof. Where I gather, that the Bill is the most perfect weapon of all others, because it strikes and hurts in every of these six motions, and his defenses both cut and prick: which the new kind of Halberd does not perform, because framed after the said fashion, and rather for lightness aptness and bravery, then for that it carries any great profit with it: for the edge is not so apt to strike, and the point thereof is so weak, that hitting any hard thing, either it bows or breaks: neither is it much regarded in the wars, the Harquebus and the Pike being now adays the strength of all armies.

guard with halberd

Hereby it may be gathered, that with the Partisan: a man may strike with the point and edge in five motions: with the Javelin, with the point only and in such motions as it may: with the Halberd and Bill, both with the point and edge, in six motions. But because these weapons for the most part are exercised and used to enter through diverse Pikes and other weapons, and to break and disorder the battle array, to which end, and purpose, if it be used, then that manner of managing and handling is very convenient which is much practiced now adays, and thus it is. The Partisan, Halberd, and Bill (but not the Javelin, being in this case nothing effectual because it has small force in the edge) must be born in the middle of the staff, with the heel thereof before, and very low, and the point near a mans head. And with the said heel, or half staff underneath, from the hand downwards, he must ward and beat off the points and thrusts of the Pikes and other weapons, and having made way, must enter with the increase of a pace of the hindfoot, and in the same instant, let fall his weapon as forcibly as he may, and strike with the edge athwart the Pikes. This kind of blow is so strong (being delivered as it ought, considering it comes from above downwards, and the weapon of itself is very heavy) that it will cut asunder not only Pikes, but also any other forcible impediment. In these affairs the Javelin is not used, because it works no such effect. But when one is constrained to use it, he ought neither to beat off, neither to ward with the staff, but altogether with the Iron and his defenses, remembering, as soon as he has beaten off and made way of entrance, to thrust only: for to handle it in delivering of edgeblows prevails not, considering the small force it carries in that manner of striking. And as among all the foresaid iiii. weapons, the Javelin in this kind of skirmish, is least profitable, so the Partisan is most excellent and commodious, for having no other defense, it is provided in the staff, and is most forcible, to cut the Pikes by means of his heaviness and weight, and the rather, because it is unfurnished and void of other things, which in this case might let and hinder the edge blow. Therefore the Partisan shalbe used (as in his own proper quality) to enter among the Pikes, and cut them a sunder, and other weapons also partly for that cause, and partly to skirmish single, one to one. Which although it be not ordinarily accustomed, yet nevertheless, because both this, and the rest of the weapons, may be handled in single combat, and do contain in them, aswell offense, as defense, Farther, to the end, the wise and discrete (happening to be in such affairs) may be skillful to determine with themselves, what they may and ought to do: I will show my opinion what may be done with these weapons in single combat, reasoning jointly of the Javelin, Bill, and Halberd, because there is but a small difference in the Javelin, And the Bill, and the Halberd, are in a manner all one, and the very self same.

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