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The francisca (or francesca) axe was chiefly used during the Early Middle Ages by the Franks, among whom it was a characteristic national weapon at the time of the Merovingians from about 500 to 750 and is known to have been used by the troops of Charlemagne (768–814). Although generally associated with the Franks, it was also used by other Germanic peoples of the period including the Anglo-Saxons, and several examples have been found in England. Very similar axe heads have also been excavated in Russia. This axe is often erroneously associated with the Vikings, but no example of this type of axe has ever been unearthed in Scandinavia, so it’s doubtful that the average Viking would have been familiar with these axes – indeed, it is more likely to have been wielded by their enemies! The term francisca first appeared in the book Ethymologiarum sive originum, libri XVIII by Isidore of Seville (c. 560–636) as a name used in Hispania to refer to these weapons "because of their use by the Franks". The strange curvature of the head helps with the aerodynamics of the axe once thrown, giving the axe a slightly lower centre of gravity. Upon impact the blade packs a more powerful punch on a smaller area than a regular axe blade, making it more likely to penetrate chain mail. The design however makes this axe an inefficient wood chopper, so suffice to say it wasn't a peasant's weapon, but was manufactured for the warrior class.
Weight: 0.811 kg. - Overall Length: 51 cm - Head: 21 cm wide.
Have been looking for a francisca for a while to round out my Migration Era outfit. Turned up before I expected. Good hardwood handle and sharpening was a breeze - thanks Medieval Shoppe! Cameron Slatyer on 14th Feb 2021
Great design on this one. The head has a great shape and the handle is weildy too. Would be a great camp axe, given the hammer on the back and the weight behind it. With some mod's it would also be a competent thrower too. Unknown on 5th Apr 2018
I got this axe in the mail earlier this morning and I must say, she's a beauty of a weapon. The quality's great, she's just the right weight and length, and the haft feels perfect in my hand. I also love how she feels on the swing and she can cut furiously, as well. Great work on this one! David Baluyot on 28th Mar 2018
practical in it's simplicity....good in the hand and versatile with scope for personal customising David Pearson on 4th Apr 2015
It is a wonderful little beauty of a francisca. The head looks nasty and the timber work is beautiful with a soft, easy to hold finish. Unknown on 6th Mar 2015