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The francisca is a throwing axe used as a weapon during the Early Middle Ages by the Franks, among whom it was a characteristic national weapon at the time of the Merovingians from about 500 to 750 AD and is known to have been used during the reign of Charlemagne (768–814). Although generally associated with the Franks, it was also used by other Germanic peoples of the period including the Anglo-Saxons, and several examples have been found in England.
The francisca is characterized by its distinctly arch-shaped head, widening toward the cutting edge and terminating in a prominent point at both the upper and lower corners. The top of the head is usually either S-shaped or convex with the lower portion curving inward and forming an elbow with the short wooden haft. Sometimes the head is more upswept forming a wider angle with the haft. Most franciscas have a round or teardrop-shaped eye designed to fit the tapered haft, similar to Viking axes. Based on the measurements of modern replicas the francisca had a haft length of around 40-45 cm (16-18 in) and a 10 cm (4 in) cutting edge with an average weight of around 600 g (21 oz, 1.3 lb).
Note that a throwing ax Francisca can cause severe injuries! It does not belong in the hands of children!
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