An axe (sometimes ax in American English; see spelling differences) is an implement that has been used for millennia to shape, split and cut wood, to harvest timber, as a weapon, and as a ceremonial or heraldic symbol. The axe has many forms and specialised uses but generally consists of an axe head with a handle, or helve.
Before the modern axe, the stone-age hand axe was used from 1.5 million years BP without a handle. It was later fastened to a wooden handle. The earliest examples of handled axes have heads of stone with some form of wooden handle attached (hafted) in a method to suit the available materials and use. Axes made of copper, bronze, iron and steel appeared as these technologies developed. Axes are usually composed of a head and a handle.
The axe is an example of a simple machine, as it is a type of wedge, or dual inclined plane. This reduces the effort needed by the wood chopper. It splits the wood into two parts by the pressure concentration at the blade. The handle of the axe also acts as a lever allowing the user to increase the force at the cutting edge—not using the full length of the handle is known as choking the axe. For fine chopping using a side axe this sometimes is a positive effect, but for felling with a double bitted axe it reduces efficiency.
Generally, cutting axes have a shallow wedge angle, whereas splitting axes have a deeper angle. Most axes are double bevelled, i.e. symmetrical about the axis of the blade, but some specialist broadaxes have a single bevel blade, and usually an offset handle that allows them to be used for finishing work without putting the user's knuckles at risk of injury. Less common today, they were once an integral part of a joiner and carpenter's tool kit, not just a tool for use in forestry. A tool of similar origin is the billhook.
Most modern axes have steel heads and wooden handles, typically hickory in the US and ash in Europe and Asia, although plastic or fibreglass handles are also common. Modern axes are specialised by use, size and form. Hafted axes with short handles designed for use with one hand are often called hand axes but the term hand axe refers to axes without handles as well. Hatchets tend to be small hafted axes often with a hammer on the back side (the poll). As easy-to-make weapons, axes have frequently been used in combat.
Initially axes were tools of stone called hand axes, used without handles (hafts), and had knapped (chipped) cutting edges of flint or other stone. Stone axes made with ground cutting edges were first developed sometime in the late Pleistocene in Australia, where ground-edge axe fragments from sites in Arnhem Land date back at least 44,000 years; ground-edge axes were later invented independently in Japan sometime around 38,000 BP, and are known from several Upper Palaeolithic sites on the islands of Honshu and Kyushu. In Europe, however, the innovation of ground edges occurred much later, in the Neolithic period ending 4,000 to 2,000 BC. The first true hafted axes are known from the Mesolithic period (c. 6000 BC). Few wooden hafts have been found from this period, but it seems that the axe was normally hafted by wedging. Birch-tar and raw-hide lashings were used to fix the blade.
Sometimes a short section of deer antler (an "antler sleeve") was used, which prevented the splitting of the haft and softened the impact on the stone blade itself, helping absorb the impact of each axe blow and lessening the chances of breaking the handle. The antler was hollowed out at one end to create a socket for the axehead. The antler sheath was then either perforated and a handle inserted into it or set in a hole made in the handle instead.
The distribution of stone axes is an important indication of prehistoric trade. Thin sectioning is used to determine the provenance of the stone blades. In Europe, Neolithic "axe factories", where thousands of ground stone axes were roughed out, are known from many places, such as:
From the late Neolithic/Chalcolithic onwards, axes were made of copper or copper mixed with arsenic. These axes were flat and hafted much like their stone predecessors. Axes continued to be made in this manner with the introduction of Bronze metallurgy. Eventually the hafting method changed and the flat axe developed into the "flanged axe", then palstaves, and later winged and socketed axes.
The Proto-Indo-European word for "axe" may have been *pelek'u- (Greek pelekus πέλεκυς, Sanskrit parashu, see also Parashurama), but the word was probably a loan, or a Neolithic wanderwort, ultimately related to Sumerian balag, Akkadian pilaku-.
At least since the late Neolithic, elaborate axes (battle-axes, T-axes, etc.) had a religious significance and probably indicated the exalted status of their owner. Certain types almost never show traces of wear; deposits of unshafted axe blades from the middle Neolithic (such as at the Somerset Levels in Britain) may have been gifts to the deities.
In Minoan Crete, the double axe (labrys) had a special significance, used by priestesses in religious ceremonies. The symbol refers to deification ceremonies; part of the leaping over the bull symbol also found at Crete; whereby aspirant becomes able to speak as a god to create any reality; the symbol being a sky map.
In 1998 a labrys, complete with an elaborately embellished haft, was found at Cham-Eslen, Canton of Zug, Switzerland. The haft was 120 cm long and wrapped in ornamented birch-bark. The axe blade is 17.4 cm long and made of antigorite, mined in the Gotthard-area. The haft goes through a biconical drilled hole and is fastened by wedges of antler and by birch-tar. It belongs to the early Cortaillod culture.
In folklore, stone axes were sometimes believed to be thunderbolts and were used to guard buildings against lightning, as it was believed (mythically) that lightning never struck the same place twice. This has caused some skewing of axe distributions.
Steel axes were important in superstition as well. A thrown axe could keep off a hailstorm, sometimes an axe was placed in the crops, with the cutting edge to the skies to protect the harvest against bad weather. An upright axe buried under the sill of a house would keep off witches, while an axe under the bed would assure male offspring.
Basques, Australians and New Zealanders have developed variants of rural sports that perpetuate the traditions of log cutting with axe. The Basque variants, splitting horizontally or vertically disposed logs, are generically called aizkolaritza (from aizkora: axe).
In Yorùbá mythology, the oshe (double-headed axe) symbolises Shango, Orisha (god) of thunder and lightning. It is said to represent swift and balanced justice. Shango altars often contain a carved figure of a woman holding a gift to the god with a double-bladed axe sticking up from her head.
The Arkalochori Axe is a bronze, Minoan, axe from the second millennium BC thought to be used for religious purposes. Inscriptions on this axe have been compared with other ancient writing systems.
The axe has two primary components: the axe head, and the haft.
The axe head is typically bounded by the bit (or blade) at one end, and the poll (or butt) at the other, though some designs feature two bits opposite each other. The top corner of the bit where the cutting edge begins is called the toe, and the bottom corner is known as the heel. Either side of the head is called the cheek, which is sometimes supplemented by lugs where the head meets the haft, and the hole where the haft is mounted is called the eye. The part of the bit that descends below the rest of the axe-head is called the beard, and a bearded axe is an antiquated axe head with an exaggerated beard that can sometimes extend the cutting edge twice the height of the rest of the head.
The axe haft is sometimes called the handle. Traditionally, it was made of a resilient hardwood like hickory or ash, but modern axes often have hafts made of durable synthetic materials. Antique axes and their modern reproductions, like the tomahawk, often had a simple, straight haft with a circular cross-section that wedged onto the axe-head without the aid of wedges or pins. Modern hafts are curved for better grip and to aid in the swinging motion, and are mounted securely to the head. The shoulder is where the head mounts onto the haft, and this is either a long oval or rectangular cross-section of the haft that is secured to the axe head with small metal or wooden wedges. The belly of the haft is the longest part, where it bows in gently, and the throat is where it curves sharply down to the short grip, just before the end of the haft, which is known as the knob.
Hammer axes (or axe-hammers) typically feature an extended poll, opposite the blade, shaped and sometimes hardened for use as a hammer. The name axe-hammer is often applied to a characteristic shape of perforated stone axe used in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. Iron axe-hammers are found in Roman military contexts, e.g. Cramond, Edinburgh, and South Shields, Tyne and Wear.
30 St Mary Axe (known previously as the Swiss Re Building), informally known as The Gherkin, is a commercial skyscraper in London's primary financial district, the City of London. It was completed in December 2003 and opened in April 2004. With 41 floors, it is 180 metres (591 ft) tall and stands on the former sites of the Baltic Exchange and Chamber of Shipping, which were extensively damaged in 1992 in the Baltic Exchange bombing by a device placed by the Provisional IRA in St Mary Axe, a narrow street leading north from Leadenhall Street.After plans to build the 92-storey Millennium Tower were dropped, 30 St Mary Axe was designed by Norman Foster and Arup Group. It was erected by Skanska; construction started in 2001.The building has become a recognisable landmark of London, and it is one of the city's most widely recognised examples of contemporary architecture.Axe (brand)
Axe or Lynx is a brand of male grooming products, owned by the British-Dutch company Unilever and marketed towards the young male demographic. It is known as Lynx in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and China. In other countries it is known as Axe.Battle axe
A battle axe (also battle-axe or battle-ax) is an axe specifically designed for combat. Battle axes were specialized versions of utility axes. Many were suitable for use in one hand, while others were larger and were deployed two-handed.
Axes designed for warfare ranged in weight from just over 0.5 to 3 kg (1 to 7 lb), and in length from just over 30 cm (1 ft) to upwards of 1.5 m (5 ft), as in the case of the Danish axe or the sparth axe. Cleaving weapons longer than 1.5 m would arguably fall into the category of polearms.Billions (TV series)
Billions is an American television drama series created by Brian Koppelman, David Levien, and Andrew Ross Sorkin, starring Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis, that premiered on Showtime on January 17, 2016. The series is loosely based on the activities of Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and his legal battles with hedge fund manager Steve Cohen of S.A.C. Capital Advisors. In Season 2, it also incorporates loosely the cases involving Treasury bond auction market manipulation conduct of Salomon Brothers, including the roles of CEO John Gutfreund and bond trader Paul Mozer, in 1991.
Four seasons of Billions have aired. On May 8, 2019, the series was renewed for a fifth season by Showtime.Careful with That Axe, Eugene
"Careful with That Axe, Eugene" is an instrumental piece by the British rock band Pink Floyd. The studio recording was originally released as the B-side of their single "Point Me at the Sky" which also features on the Relics compilation album; live versions can also be found on various releases (see below). Pink Floyd re-recorded the track for Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni's film Zabriskie Point, retitling it "Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up" on the film's soundtrack album. This song was one of several to be considered for the band's "best of" album, Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd. It was included on the multi-artist Harvest compilation, A Breath of Fresh Air – A Harvest Records Anthology 1969–1974 in 2007.Corded Ware culture
The Corded Ware culture, CWC (German: Schnurkeramik; French: céramique cordée; Dutch: touwbekercultuur) comprises a broad archaeological horizon of Europe between c. 2900 BCE – circa 2350 BCE, thus from the late Neolithic, through the Copper Age, and ending in the early Bronze Age. Corded Ware culture encompassed a vast area, from the Rhine on the west to the Volga in the east, occupying parts of Northern Europe, Central Europe and Eastern Europe.According to Haak et al. (2017), the Corded Ware people were genetically closely related to the people of the Yamna culture (or Yamnaya), "documenting a massive migration into the heartland of Europe from its eastern periphery," the Eurasiatic steppes. The Corded Ware culture may have disseminated the Proto-Germanic and Proto-Balto-Slavic Indo-European languages. The Corded Ware Culture also shows genetic affinity with the later Sintashta culture, where the proto-Indo-Iranian language may have originated.Decapitation
Decapitation is the complete separation of the head from the body. Such an injury is always fatal to humans and animals, since it deprives all other organs of the involuntary functions that are needed for the body to function, while the brain is deprived of oxygenated blood and blood pressure.
The term beheading refers to the act of deliberately decapitating a person, either as a means of murder or execution; it may be accomplished with an axe, sword, knife, or by mechanical means such as a guillotine. An executioner who carries out executions by beheading is called a headsman. Accidental decapitation can be the result of an explosion, car or industrial accident, improperly administered execution by hanging or other violent injury. Suicide by decapitation is rare but not unknown. The national laws of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Qatar permit beheading, but in practice, Saudi Arabia is the only country that continues to behead its offenders regularly as a punishment for crime.Less commonly, decapitation can also refer to the removal of the head from a body that is already dead. This might be done to take the head as a trophy, for public display, to make the deceased more difficult to identify, for cryonics, or for other, more esoteric reasons.Golden Axe
Golden Axe (ゴールデンアックス, Gōruden Akkusu) is a series of side-scrolling, beat 'em up, arcade video games developed by Sega. The series takes place in a medieval-fantasy world where several heroes have the task of recovering the legendary Golden Axe, the mainstay element of the series.Hand axe
A hand axe (or handaxe) is a prehistoric stone tool with two faces that is the longest-used tool in human history. It is usually made from flint or chert. It is characteristic of the lower Acheulean and middle Palaeolithic (Mousterian) periods. Its technical name (biface) comes from the fact that the archetypical model is generally bifacial Lithic flake and almond-shaped (amygdaloidal). Hand axes tend to be symmetrical along their longitudinal axis and formed by pressure or percussion. The most common hand axes have a pointed end and rounded base, which gives them their characteristic shape, and both faces have been knapped to remove the natural cortex, at least partially. Hand axes are a type of the somewhat wider biface group of two-faced tools or weapons.
Hand axes were the first prehistoric tools to be recognized as such: the first published representation of a hand axe was drawn by John Frere and appeared in a British publication in 1800. Until that time, their origins were thought to be natural or supernatural. They were called thunderstones, because popular tradition held that they had fallen from the sky during storms or were formed inside the earth by a lightning strike and then appeared at the surface. They are used in some rural areas as an amulet to protect against storms.
Hand axe tools were possibly used to butcher animals; to dig for tubers, animals and water; to chop wood and remove tree bark; to throw at prey; and as a source for flake tools.Hatchet
A hatchet (from the Old French hachete, a diminutive form of hache, 'axe' of Germanic origin) is a single-handed striking tool with a sharp blade on one side used to cut and split wood, and a hammer head on the other side. Hatchets may also be used for hewing when making flattened surfaces on logs; when the hatchet head is optimized for this purpose it is called a broadaxe.A hatchet is a type of hand axe; a small axe meant to be used with one hand.Hatchets have a variety of uses, such as tasks normally done by a pocket knife when one is not present. The hatchet can also be used to create a fire through sparks and friction. Hatchet throwing is increasing in popularity.Burying the hatchet has become a phrase meaning to make peace, due to the Native American tradition of hiding or putting away a tomahawk when a peace agreement was made.
Hachet was used to describe a battle-axe in Middle English.Ice axe
An ice axe is a multi-purpose hiking and climbing tool used by mountaineers both in the ascent and descent of routes that involve frozen conditions with snow and/or ice. An ice axe can be held and employed in a number of different ways, depending on the terrain encountered. In its simplest role, the ice axe is used like a walking stick in the uphill hand, the mountaineer holding the head in the center. It can also be buried pick down, the rope tied around the shaft to form a secure anchor on which to bring up a second climber, or buried vertically to form a stomp belay. The adze is used to cut footsteps (sometimes known as pigeon holes if used straight on), as well as scoop/bucket seats in the hillside and trenches to bury an ice axe belay. The long-handled alpenstock was a predecessor to the modern ice axe.
An ice axe is not only used as an aid to climbing, but also as a means of self-arrest in the event of a downhill slip.
Most ice axes meet design and manufacturing standards of organizations such as the Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme (UIAA) or European Committee for Standardization. There are two classifications of ice axe, Basic (B/Type 1) and Technical (T/Type 2). Basic ice axes are designed for use in snow conditions for general mountaineering, and are adequate for basic support and self-arrest. Technical ice axes, which may have curved shafts, are strong enough to be used for steep or vertical ice climbing and belaying on such ground.
Specialized ice axes used for vertical ice climbing are known as ice tools. Ice tools have shorter and more curved shafts; stronger, sharper, and more curved picks which can usually be replaced, and often ergonomic grips and finger rests. Used in a pair one is usually equipped with an adze whilst the other has a hammer to aid gear placement.
For ski mountaineering and racing, where weight is of paramount concern, manufacturers have produced short (~45 cm [18 in]) and light (200–300 g [7–11 oz]) ice axes. Some of these have aluminum alloy heads/picks which are unlikely to be as effective or robust as steel heads/picks.Kick
A kick is a physical strike using the leg, in unison usually with an area of the knee or lower using the foot, heel, tibia, ball of the foot, blade of the foot, toes or knee (the latter is also known as a knee strike). This type of attack is used frequently by hooved animals as well as humans in the context of stand-up fighting. Kicks play a significant role in many forms of martial arts, such as savate, taekwondo, MMA, sikaran, karate, Pankration, Kung Fu, Vovinam, kickboxing, Muay Thai, Yaw-Yan, capoeira, silat, and kalaripayattu. If the kick is to a target, it is a form of compliance
Kicking is also prominent from its use in many sports, especially those called football. The best known of these sports is association football, also known as soccer.Labrys
Labrys (Greek: λάβρυς, lábrus) is, according to Plutarch (Quaestiones Graecae 2.302a), the Lydian word for the double-bitted axe called in Greek a πέλεκυς (pélekus). The relation with the labyrinth is uncertain.Pickaxe
A pickaxe, pick-axe, or pick is a generally T-shaped hand tool used for prying. Its head is typically metal, attached perpendicularly to a longer handle, traditionally made of wood, occasionally metal, and increasingly fiberglass.
A standard pickaxe, similar to a "pick mattock", has a pointed end on one side of its head and a broad flat "axe" blade opposite. A gradual curve characteristically spans the length of the head. The next most common configuration features two spikes, one slightly longer than the other.
The pointed end is used both for breaking and prying, the axe for hoeing, skimming, and chopping through roots.
Developed as agricultural tools in prehistoric times, picks have evolved into other tools such as the plough and the mattock. They also have been used general construction and mining, and adapted to warfare.River Axe (Lyme Bay)
The River Axe is a river in Dorset, Somerset and Devon, in the south-west of England.
It rises near Beaminster in Dorset, flows west then south by Axminster and joins the English Channel at Axmouth near Seaton in Lyme Bay. During its 22-mile (35 km) course it is fed by various streams and by the tributary rivers Yarty and Coly.
It is a shallow, non-navigable river, although its mouth at Axmouth has some boating activity.The name derives from a Common Brittonic word meaning "abounding in fish", which is also the root for the River Axe in the Bristol Channel as well as the Exe, Esk, Usk and other variants. The name is cognate with pysg (plural of pysgod), the Welsh word for fish.In 1999, a section of the river extending for 13 kilometres (8.1 mi)—from the confluence with the Blackwater River (ST325023) to Colyford Bridge (SY259927)—was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It was described as supporting "an exceptionally diverse aquatic and marginal flora". The river's diversity comes from its active geomorphology, which has created a number of natural features that support niche ecologies; it also comes from there being a limited number of trees on the river bank, allowing in light; and also the riverbed stability in the lower reaches of the river. A majority of the SSSI runs through Devon; only 150 metres runs through Dorset. The underlying geology of the riverbed is alluvium with areas of valley gravel, clay, shale and marl. The fish life in the river is considered of European interest; aquatic life more generally includes salmon, bullheads, otters, medicinal leeches and kingfishers; all are of particular value, as is the diverse aquatic and marginal plant life. The geomorphology of the meanders south of Axminster are the particular geological interest.Ship of Theseus
In the metaphysics of identity, the ship of Theseus is a thought experiment that raises the question of whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object. The concept is one of the oldest in Western philosophy, having been discussed by the likes of Heraclitus and Plato by ca. 500-400 BCE.Stanford Axe
The Stanford Axe is a trophy awarded to the winner of the annual Big Game, a college football match-up between the University of California Golden Bears and the Stanford University Cardinal. The trophy consists of an axe-head mounted on a large wooden plaque, along with the scores of past Big Games. Stanford has held the Axe since 2010, most recently retaining it after defeating Cal 23-13 in 2018.Stone tool
A stone tool is, in the most general sense, any tool made either partially or entirely out of stone. Although stone tool-dependent societies and cultures still exist today, most stone tools are associated with prehistoric (particularly Stone Age) cultures that have become extinct. Archaeologists often study such prehistoric societies, and refer to the study of stone tools as lithic analysis. Ethnoarchaeology has been a valuable research field in order to further the understanding and cultural implications of stone tool use and manufacture.Stone has been used to make a wide variety of different tools throughout history, including arrow heads, spearpoints and querns. Stone tools may be made of either ground stone or chipped stone, and a person who creates tools out of the latter is known as a flintknapper.
Chipped stone tools are made from cryptocrystalline materials such as chert or flint, radiolarite, chalcedony, obsidian, basalt, and quartzite via a process known as lithic reduction. One simple form of reduction is to strike stone flakes from a nucleus (core) of material using a hammerstone or similar hard hammer fabricator. If the goal of the reduction strategy is to produce flakes, the remnant lithic core may be discarded once it has become too small to use. In some strategies, however, a flintknapper reduces the core to a rough unifacial or bifacial preform, which is further reduced using soft hammer flaking techniques or by pressure flaking the edges.
More complex forms of reduction include the production of highly standardized blades, which can then be fashioned into a variety of tools such as scrapers, knives, sickles and microliths. In general terms, chipped stone tools are nearly ubiquitous in all pre-metal-using societies because they are easily manufactured, the tool stone is usually plentiful, and they are easy to transport and sharpen.Tomahawk
A tomahawk is a type of single-handed axe from North America, traditionally resembling a hatchet with a straight shaft. The name came into the English language in the 17th century as an adaptation of the Powhatan (Virginian Algonquian) word.
Tomahawks were general-purpose tools used by Native Americans and later the European colonials with whom they traded, and often employed as a hand-to-hand or a thrown weapon. The metal tomahawk heads were originally based on a Royal Navy boarding axe and used as a trade-item with Native Americans for food and other provisions.