Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699

War hammers, maces, and battle axes

Hungarian / Polish war hammer:

Let us view a few weapons like these as they were very popular in Hungary and in Europe. The first is a war hammer from Poland or Hungary, from the 17th century: it is displayed in the Wallace collection in England:

Here is a description of the Wallace Museum:

War Hammer (Czákany), with a square, stepped, hammer-head with a square face and moulded neck, balanced by a long, slightly drooping, fluted beak. Short, socket straps with shaped edges at top and bottom. Octagonal wooden haft covered with leather and studded with groups of brass-headed nails (probably modern). The haft projects beyond the head at the top and is finished at the top and bottom with a steel cap with a small button in the center.

Polish or Hungarian, the first half of the 17th century.

This type of hammer is called Csákányfocos by J. Szendrei (1896, no. 6681).
J. Kalmár describes a similar hammer as Hungarian, using the name Czakany (Regi Magyar fegyverek, 1971, pp. 34-7, fig. 50). On the other hand, M. Pasziewicz describes A977 as Polish (J.A.A.S., VIII, no. 3, 1975, pp. 225-8, pI. LXXXIV B). A comparable hammer is in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (G. M. Wilson in A. MacGregor, 1983, pp. 204-6, no. 92, pI. LXVI). A comparable hammerhead said to have been found locally, is at Dyrham, Gloucestershire. There is a detached head of very similar form in the Henderson Collection, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.”

The dimensions are:

  • War hammer
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Poland or Hungary
Here is another similar Hungarian weapon, used by Hussars

Hungarian mace (buzogány) and a war ax (fokos), about 1550:

These items are in the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer, Austria.

These are described like this:
“The mace shown here comes from the armory of Archduke Ferdinand II of Tyrol. The mace with bullet-shaped or pear-shaped head, which was called in Polish Buzdygan (Busican), was particularly popular in Eastern Europe. It served in addition to its use as a weapon, especially as the dignity of the equestrian officers or senior commanders. Originally from the Orient, this striking weapon was widespread among Polish and Turkish and Hungarian troops.”
My note: the “fokos” and the “csákány” were ancient Hungarian weapons, kind of war hammers, and battle-axes. The head of the “fokos” was easily removable from the shaft and one could carry it in his pocket. It was useful for the peasants in the Ottoman Occupied Lands where wearing arms for the locals was punished by death by the Turks.
A “fokos” and a “csákány”

There are many “fokos” dances that have been preserved in Hungarian folklore, here is one of them – imagine that they are practicing (dancing) with battle axes or swords instead of sticks:


The name “csákány” became a term in East Europe…


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A Hungarian Hussar with a “csákány”


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