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Lonkhodrepanon

Lonkhodrepanon

Byzantine billhook

Lonkhodrepana (λογχοδρέπανα) are listed amongst the armament to be supplied to warships sent to recover Crete from the muslims in 938. Lonkhos is a Classical Greek for a spear. Drepanon could mean a scythe or sickle for reaping grain, but could equally indicate the hooked tool that had then been used in viniculture for well over a millennium. Merge them and this is what results. Its usefulness in close naval warfare is clear - as a spear for engaging boarders, of course, but with the curved edge for hooking and cutting rigging, while the narrow back blade for more focussed cutting of lines and so on, and for uses similar to a boathook.