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Axe Throwing

 One of the many unique activities that SÆXIA brings to the world of Early Medieval Reenactment, and to our visiting public at our open events, is the discipline of genuine combat axe throwing as evidence in some of the late Roman reports of encounters with the early Saxon tribes in warfare. 

(Above: the "Aldefeld" Francisca on display in the Frome Museum, Somerset)


"And they are accustomed always to throw these axes at one signal in the first charge and thus shatter the shields of the enemy and kill the men"

 The above quote refers to the Franks, a Germanic tribe very closely connected with the Saxons, and who used the same kinds of weaponry in the early Migration Period. In Britain the Frankish style throwing axe, or "Francisca" seems to have been used in the early centuries of Saxon expansion and colonisation, before evidence dries up for its use around the 7th century. This might simply have been due to the changes in burial practises as the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms became christianised and folks stopped burying their dead with grave goods. During the advent of the "Viking Age" in the 8th & 9th centries the throwing axe was again utilised by the Scandinavian raiders and it seems likely both sides would have still been using similar weaponry during battles, as the later adoption of the "Dane-Axe" into the by the Ænglisc/English Huscarls at Hastings shows. 

(Above: a selection of  axes used by SÆXIA at our training sessions and public events, along with the target post / "mark" in the background)

 One area in which SÆXIA combat axe throwing differs from sport axe throwing is in the design of the target. Traditionally for much of martial training history, the target for projectiles training of many types has been a simple stake or post set into the ground, called the "mark". From this comes many phrases still used today to describe folks achieving or missing personal goals: "I missed the mark on that one," and other similar phrases all expressing falling short, or wide of, a planned objective. 

(Above: a reproduction of a Francisca throwing axe )

 At SÆXIA we use reproductions of authentic axes to both the early Migration Period and the later Viking Age in our combat axe throwing demonstrations and have-a-go sessions for the public.

We are experienced and insured axe throwing instructors and often offer axe-throwing as a standalone activity for other events like community fayres, stag-do's and multi-period historical events.

(Above: beginner Axe-Throwing instruction)

(Above: Have-a-go Axe Throwing stand at the Ancient Oak Medieval Fayre, Cambs 2023)

We also are unique from other reenactment combat groups in our regular displays of axe throwing and other projectiles incorporated into our combat demonstrations. 

 Pictured above is a fairly typical target for one of our public "have-a-go" events. Here you can see the target area is more like a wider board shape, in order to be a little more forgiving for first timers developing their aim. The central timber is still the target area, with the yellowed planks either side being a "miss" once a person is genuinely starting to refine their aim and try to hit the central "mark".

 SÆXIA demonstrates and instructs in both single handed and two-handed axe throwing techniques. 

 (Above: educating soldiers from the Gurkha Regt on the history of English Axe Throwing at Chalke Valley History Festival 2023)



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