Recently, I came across different medias depicting the same weapon: what looks like a lance blade with a staff of an approximately equivalent length. The most known example would be the spear of Leonidas in Assassin's Creed:


Ancient weapon categorization is a complex topic, especially when you don't even know the name of what you're trying to describe. I don't even know under which category it would fall: neither a dagger, nor a spear or a sword.

I looked around but found no decisive answer: I'm trying to know if this type of weapons existed (and its name if so) or if it's just a pop-culture creation that "looks cool".

Cookie point if you can explain to me what would be its usage (if it existed) as it looks (from a neophyte point of view) rather impractical compared to other, more classic types of weapons.

  • How would we prove a negative? That it's not an easily located historical item speaks for itself. I vote to close as Opinion-Based. Sep 19, 2020 at 4:42
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    There might be someone in the crowd who can provide direct evidence or at least an explanation how such a weapon came to be imagined.
    – Boaz
    Sep 19, 2020 at 6:32
  • Wiki indicates that broad headed short spears existed, some used cut instead of thrust Sep 19, 2020 at 8:06
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    I'm skeptical - the hilt of the image is asymmetrical, while the blade is symmetrical. The hilt is derived from a hacking or cutting weapon, while the blade is designed for thrusting or possibly for cutting. I'm not trained in spear, but the flanges also look....unwieldy. Unless someone comes up with evidence, I'm inclined to believe that this is (poor) artistic license.
    – MCW
    Sep 19, 2020 at 14:24
  • What is the scale/length - I'm confused by the wrapping on the hilt. The first bit of the grip is smooth, suggesting a 1H weapon - in which case the blade would need to be made of unobtainium. The next bit of the hilt is wrapped loosely, which looks to be a nightmare to wield, unless it were a throwing string of some kind. Was this intended for hunting or warfare?
    – MCW
    Sep 19, 2020 at 15:20

1 Answer 1


The idea of a short spear, with a relatively long blade in comparison to the shaft, appears elsewhere in history. The specific design differs, to understand the possible usage look at the iklwa (Zulu stabbing spear) or possibly a short naginata (Japanese).

The iklwa has a leaf-shaped blade and a straight shaft. It does have a kind-of-knob or protrusion at the end like the picture you have shown, but not angled.

The naginata is often longer and it has a curved blade, but some have a shaft only as long as the blade.

These weapons were not mainly thrown, they were used to stab or cut.

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    It is certainly not an iklwa. The shape of the blade is completely different. Sep 19, 2020 at 9:19
  • @sempaiscuba, I wrote "comparable" and not "is." I'll clarify that since it wasn't clear enough.
    – o.m.
    Sep 19, 2020 at 14:45
  • Could you summarize the difference from an Iklwa? Neither image I have is clear. And a naginata is, I believe, much longer than this appears to be.
    – MCW
    Sep 19, 2020 at 15:23
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    After doing a lot of image searching online, the OP pic actually does look to me rather like someone started with an iklwa, and then tried to fancy it up a lot. The authentic ones were generally mass-produced for the zulu army, and didn't bother with fancy hafts or head carvings and flourishes (presumably because dude had to finish up and start making the next one). But the head-to-shaft proportions are about the same.
    – T.E.D.
    Sep 19, 2020 at 15:41
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    @MarkC.Wallace The iklwa has a simple leaf-shaped blade with a straight tang. The blades were typically forged with a medial ridge and were similar in shape and section to blades on European iron-age socketed spears, but with a straight tang, rather than a socket (the iklwas that I have seen were slightly larger and wider than Iron Age spearheads, with a blade about 12" or so in length). It was a stabbing spear - intended to go in and out of the target while minimising the risk of the head becoming detached from the shaft (and so plugging the wound). Sep 19, 2020 at 16:31

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