Partisan (weapon)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Yeomen of the Guard with partisans
An officer's partisan from 1655

A partisan (also partizan) is a type of polearm that was used in Europe in the Middle Ages.[1][2][3] It consisted of a spearhead mounted on a long shaft, usually wooden, with protrusions on the sides which aided in parrying sword thrusts. Like the halberd, it quickly became obsolete with the arrival of practical firearms, although it stayed in use for many years as a ceremonial weapon. In profile, the head of a partisan may look similar to that of a ranseur, spontoon, ox tongue, or spetum; however, unlike a ranseur, the lower parts of the head have a sharpened edge.

Use, in plays[edit]

By the character Marcellus , in William Shakespeare's play Hamlet the partisan gets brief mention in Act I, Scene 1,[4]

Marcellus: Shall I strike at it with my partisan?


  1. ^ "Melee weapons: Partisan". All Things Medieval. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Medieval polearms". Weapons Universe. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  3. ^ "Definition of partisan (weapon)". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  4. ^ "The Tragedy of Hamlet". The Tragedy of Hamlet. Retrieved 8 January 2019.