A Complete Guide To The Corseque

Key Point: The corseque was a European polearm from the 16th and 17th centuries, that featured a long shaft topped with a blade that has both a spear point and a curving, often axe-like, blade extending from the base. The overall length of a corseque was 180 to 210 centimeters.

Today we are exploring the corseque polearm. What was the corseque, and how was it used? And of course why it eventually disappeared from battlefields across Europe. We will be taking a look at all that right here.

Now, before continuing. Let’s examine in this short article summary below … what was the corseque?

Corseque was a type of polearm used primarily in medieval Europe. It consisted of a long wooden shaft, topped with a spear point, and with an axe blade mounted perpendicularly near the top. The corseque was often used by infantry troops, and it was particularly effective against cavalry charges. It was widely used in the late Middle Ages, and it remained in use until the 17th century.

You will see why it went away in a minute. But first, let’s explore its origins and where this weapon came from.

The Origins Of The Corseque


The origins of the corseque can be traced back to the 14th century. This is when it was first used by French and Swiss soldiers. It is believed that the corseque evolved from earlier weapons such as the voulge and the glaive. Its design was likely influenced by the need for a weapon that could effectively counter cavalry charges, which were a major threat to infantry troops.

So, where did the Medieval armies put the corseque to use? Let’s find out.

Battle Where It Was Used

The Battle of Ravenna in 1512 is an example of a historical battle where the corseque was used to great effect. In this battle, French and Venetian forces faced off against Spanish and Papal troops. They were heavily outnumbered, but they managed to hold their ground thanks in part to the effective use of the corseque.

The long reach of the corseque allowed the infantry to keep the enemy cavalry at bay, while its axe blade was effective against enemy foot soldiers.

Now, let’s take a look at one factor that made the corseque so effective against cavalry charges. its size!

The Dimension Of The Corseque

According to the British Royal Armory, the end-to-end length of the corseque was 8 feet (2,48 meters) while the weight of the weapon was extremely light at just 4 lbs.

The spear point on the top of the shaft took up between 12 and 18 inches, while the axe blade was typically around 10 inches in length

Picture of a corseque polearm

And the materials used to achieve such a lightweight?

Materials Used To Make It

Corseque was primarily made of wood (ash or oak), with the spear point and axe blade made of iron. The shaft was often reinforced with metal bands near the top to prevent the shaft from splitting during use.

Its Use In Battle

According to “Weapons and Fighting Techniques of the Medieval Warrior” by Martin Dougherty, the corseque was primarily used by infantry troops in a defensive role. The long reach of the weapon allowed the infantry to keep the enemy at bay, while the axe blade was used to strike at enemy soldiers who got too close.

You got to remember, the worst fear an infantryman had in the Middle Ages was being attacked by charging cavalry. These guys were the Medieval version of a tank. And polearms such as the corseque offered a way for infantrymen to defend against their biggest threat. Similar to the bardiche polearm, which you can see here.

Now, let’s observe how the corseque faired against some other famous polearms of the era.

Corseque Vs Halberd

The corseque was a versatile weapon that had many similarities to other polearms used during the medieval period. For example, the corseque was similar to the halberd, which also had a spear point and axe blade mounted on a long wooden shaft. But, the corseque had a longer shaft than the halberd, which made it more effective against cavalry.

So, given how effective it was, why did it then disappear from the field of battle?

Why The Corseque Disappeared?

According to sources like “The Renaissance at War” by Thomas F. Arnold, the introduction of effective firearms made it increasingly difficult for infantry troops armed with polearms to engage in close combat. Firearms had longer ranges than polearms, and they could penetrate armor more effectively. This made them a more efficient choice for soldiers on the battlefield.

Hence why corseque vanished from the field of battle. Kind of like what happened to this weapon.

In Conclusion

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope you learned a thing or two.

Take care!


British Royal Armory

“Weapons and Fighting Techniques of the Medieval Warrior” by Martin Dougherty

“The Renaissance at War” by Thomas F. Arnold