06
Oct
07

A Longitudinally Challenged Tribal Spear…

Considering the wide variations of spears I have covered in the past I thought it an unexpected coincidink that I should run into this interesting piece:

Tribal Warrior Spear

Tribal Warrior Spear
[view full size]

This, as you can see from the picture, is a short spear. A very short spear. But notwithstanding it being length challenged, it still bears all the menace of it’s larger kin, and then some. Actually short spears have a very distinguished history. Most notably in the hands of Shaka and his Zulu warriors. Shaka was a Zulu Chieftain, considered by many to be a military genius. He made radical changes to the way the Zulu nation conducted war. Some of the more well known changes he implemented was in their battle tactics and, more importantly (for our purposes anyway), their weapons.

Traditional Zulu wars consisted of stand-off wars, with two armies facing off against each other at a distance, and sending volleys of long spears (called Assegai) towards the opposing army. While this was effective for stand off combat, the length of the spears made them unwieldy in close in combat. Shaka decided to take advantage of this weakness by making his armies faster and more mobile, and also be equipping his men with two different kinds of spears. The Standard assegai for stand off battle, and a significantly shortened spear called the Iklwa.

After the assegai had been thrown, from a distance, Shakas armies would quickly move in and engage the enemy in close quarters combat. Then, given extensive training in high speed maneuvers, and shorter spears, they had more speed, and better control of their weapons at hand to hand range, and this gave them a decided advantage on the battlefield when they closed in on forces using the traditional long and unwieldy assegai. Genius I tell you. Genius. But, as is my way, I digress.

I bring all of this up because this spear looks like something Shaka would have come up with. Like for assassinations or something. The Iklwa had a longer, broader head than a traditional spear, making it more akin to a short sword on a stick, than a spear. But though this is much shorter, and has more of a traditional spear head, it does have points on both ends, as well as a spur on the spear head, which could be used as a guard or even to hook an opponents shield/weapon. All very evil looking.

And the handle is adorned with tufts of fur around the spear head and very pointy pommel. Traditionally, this would have served to prevent blood from running down the spear handle and making it slippery. But it just looks cool here. Personally, I consider this a weapon that pays contemporary homage to one of the great historical Zulu tribal weapons of South Africa. The Zulu Ikwla. Even if it’s blade is a little on the small side. And it’s short. Just don’t be too quick to dismiss it because of it’s size. Size is not as important as how you use it… Or so I am told… 🙂

Tribal Warrior Spear – [True Swords]

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2 Responses to “A Longitudinally Challenged Tribal Spear…”


  1. 1 Niccolo
    April 26, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Too true. And considering Zulu warriors tended to run around wearing non-existent armour, massive piercing ability was not needed.
    In fact, the way Shaka’s warriors fought actually suits this weapon perfectly. Get really close, block their sight with your shield, then introduce stabbing trauma to their soft and squishy (although probably well-muscled) stomachs. So something this short would be perfect.

  2. May 18, 2013 at 6:32 am

    Gday. I was thinking of adding a link back
    to your blog since both of our sites are based around the same subject.
    Would you prefer I link to you using your site address: http://thedarkblade.
    wordpress.com/2007/10/06/a-longitudinally-challenged-tribal-spear/ or blog title: A Longitudinally Challenged Tribal Spear | The
    Realm Of The Dark Blade. Be sure to let me know at your earliest
    convenience. Many thanks


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