If there was ever a weapon that defined the era of close quarter combat, then surely it is the Axe. Vikings for example, were known to use a variety of different weapons including axes and are often portrayed in film and books using them. The Viking Axe discussed here is perhaps different from those often shown in a fantasy setting.
2000AD’s Slaine fought with a massive double headed axe affectionally known as Brainbiter and Conan the Barbarian was often drawn with a huge double headed Battleaxe being held, standing upon a pile of corpses. With imagery such as this, it is no wonder that the Battleaxe was often associated with the more savage and “Barbarian” style in fantasy settings.
In it simplest form an axe is something that is used to chop wood. A metal head which is tapered down to a sharp edge then mounted on a small shaft. Like the spear, the axe was a weapon that could literally be picked up and swung by anyone. Axes that were used in combat were much more specialised and used widely. This article discusses the use of axes in warfare throughout the ages.
Poleaxe’s were a variation of axes. Normally they were metal axeheads of various designs, mounted on, wait for it…a long wooden pole. Much more specialised than your average axe, they were deadly weapons used in the hands of a skilled user.
Not only could they be used to fight in close quarters, but also there were some that were balanced and light enough to be thrown. One of my favourite PC games called Battlebrothers, allows you to use throwing axes which can be deadly to an opponent. Axes are a versatile weapon and ideal for many different situations. After a good day of swinging and chopping your axe, if its still sharp enough then it can also be used to chop wood. Tales round the campfire afterwards. Awesome!