Brownbill Bill, Glaive, Voulge, or Gisarme, all names for nearly the same instrument, which, with some slight modification, was the standing weapon of the English infantry at close quarters, from the time of the battle of Hastings till that of Queen Elizabeth. The origi-nal brownbill was a ponderous cutting weapon with two edges, that forward of the shaft having a concave or sickle blade, that to the back a sort of angular cutting face, the upper part projecting before the base, so as to give a drawing blow. This terrible instrument was nearly 3 ft. in length and 10 or 12 lbs. in weight, set erect on a shaft of 3 or 4 ft. It was wielded with both hands, and could sever a horse's head or a man's thigh or shoulder, through the strongest mail or plate armor. The weapon was afterward lengthened and lightened, and provided with a spear head, so that the holder could charge it like a lance, and sometimes with a cutting hook, for severing the bridles of the men-at-arms, or pulling them out of their saddles.

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