According to historians, combat forks were one of the most ancient types of traditional weapons of the East, which were invented almost in the third millennium BC. Their homeland is called Mesopotamia, from where weapons later spread to Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, Iran and the Caucasus, where they became very popular.
At the same time, the Austrian armographer Vendalen Beheim noted in his writings that in Europe this weapon first appeared only in the XIV century (in German, Kriegsgabel - literally “Forks of War”). According to his description, the tip of the weapon (about 50–60 cm) consisted of two, less often three, teeth on a thin sleeve, which was mounted on a long shaft (about 2 m in length). According to the historian, the combat pitchfork was considered a rather weak weapon. At the same time, he emphasizes that it existed in the arsenal of European warriors until the XV century.
Their purpose was basically to knock the enemy off the horse, pierce him, disarm him. In addition, the combat forks were used to capture the enemy in captivity: the teeth were believed to be attached to the enemy’s neck and thus controlled him during the escort. For the prisoners could demand a ransom. However, the weapon was used as a household tool. They say, including using it during the siege, they installed siege stairs or passed supplies to the defenders of the fortresses. True, Behheim argues that in the 15th century in Europe, the insolvent population used to pitchfork themselves, who themselves had to provide themselves with weapons. And in the XVI century, and they could still be found "only in Italy."
Indeed, with the spread of firearms, the pitchfork lost its combat function. However, they continued to be used in the XIX century (as follows from the finds presented in various museums of Russia and the world), but already for the most part for ceremonial purposes. For example, the palace guards, armed with them, accompanied the high-ranking officials. In addition, they were symbolically used during court hunting.
Ceremonial weapons were accordingly decorated in a more elegant and rich way. The forks could be straight or wriggled like flames while the sleeve itself was smooth, conical in shape. The main types of decor Oriental pitchfork, for example, Iranian, were notching and gold guidance, carving and engraving in the form of floral ornament, as well as traditional Koran inscriptions, poems and various wishes for Eastern weapons.