A voulge (occasionally called a pole cleaver; also spelled vouge[1]) is a type of polearm that existed alongside the similar glaive in medieval Europe.[2][3] Superficially, a voulge might strongly resemble a glaive, but there are some notable differences in construction.[4] First, the attachment of the voulge blade to the shaft was usually done by binding the lower two thirds of the blade to the side of the pole; the glaive would often have a socket built into the blade itself and was mounted on top of the pole. In addition, while both had curved blades, that of the voulge was broad and meant for hacking, while that of the glaive was narrow and meant more for cutting. A voulge thus looks something like a squashed bardiche, or just a meat cleaver attached to a long pole. Troops that used the weapon are called voulgiers.[5]

There is a big discrepancy regarding the modern and historical uses of the word voulge. The weapon commonly associated in modern day with the word voulge is actually a halberd style, common in Germany and the surrounding areas both in period illustrations and extant finds. Depictions of the weapon is very rare in France itself, where the word originates.

It is theorized that when the halberd above was introduced to France from Switzerland and Germany, it was also given the name "volgue" besides the already-existing voulges as the word by that point in time had become an unspecific term for all polearms.


  1. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vouge
  2. "Medieval polearm weapons - Voulge". Arthur's Armoury.
  3. Demmin, Auguste Edward (1870). Weapons of War: Being a History of Arms and Armour from the Earliest Period to the Present Time, Part 1. London: Bell & Daldy. p. 433-434.
  4. "Voulge - Polearm". Military Factory. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  5. Sargeaunt, Bertram Edward (1908). Weapons: A Brief Discourse on Hand-weapons Other Than Fire-arms. London: Hugh Rees, Ltd. p. 23-24.
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