Crossbows in this period

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AElfstan Egbertsson
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Crossbows in this period

Postby AElfstan Egbertsson » Wed Oct 26, 2005 4:45 pm

Hi all,
I was wondering what you all think about crossbows in this period. I know that in my re-enactment group the general consensus is that they weren't around at least in England, but I was reading Viking Weapons and Warfare by Kim Siddorn, and it presented a lot of evidence for them being around.

What do you all think?


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WorkMonkey
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Postby WorkMonkey » Wed Oct 26, 2005 5:26 pm

Erm, I'm only aware of a couple of rather ambiguous depictions of what might be a cross bow, and one find of what could be part of one, I'd imagine they'd only be simple wooden peg types and not very effective. The technology's there to do it, it wouldn't be very difficult for someone who can make a bow, but the question is whether you'd want a smaller, less powerful version. And whether its use would be practical for warfare, possibly for hunting as its smaller and easier for aiming.


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Sigurd
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Postby Sigurd » Thu Oct 27, 2005 9:53 am

AFAIK evidence for crossbows - 1 nut in Scotland, possibly from a crossbow, dating contentious possibly 7th/8th century and one Pictish carving.

What does the book say?



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Postby AElfstan Egbertsson » Fri Oct 28, 2005 8:15 am

The book lists a lot of evidence such as things found in context etc. It's a long time since I've read the book, so my memory of it is a little patchy.

Anyone that has the book care to comment?


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Postby PaulMurphy » Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:21 am

I own a copy of the book, so I tried to look up the reference, with no success. It may indeed be in the book, but given that the index has no entry for "crossbow", and the entry for "bow" takes me to three references to archery equipment and one to the pointy bit on a ship, the index can hardly be considered useful.

Kim's book also lacks any footnotes, endnotes, or references, and although he tries to differentiate his personal opinion, pet theories and re-enactment experiences from hard archaelogical evidence, ultimately he fails due to the lack of these references, as there is no way to flag which is which.

Compare it to Underwood's "Anglo-Saxon Weapons and Warfare" from the same publisher. Also by a re-enactor, with a similar lack of notes, but a much better structure and layout, and significantly better illustrations make Underwood's book more useful.

Paul.


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Crossbows in this period

Postby Lorraine at Lanista » Fri Oct 28, 2005 10:04 pm

I've been through Kim's book many a time and I do not recall there being any mention of the use of crossbows. I could be wrong. However, as Sigurd said above, pictish pictorial evidence suggests that in the 7th century a rudimentary form of crossbow was in use in Scotland. Although the evidence really only pertains to a possible crossbow nut found in a crannog together with two heavy iron quarrels. The English sources are pretty much silent on the use of the crossbow, which was thought at the time to have been introduced by the Normans.

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Postby John Waller » Sat Oct 29, 2005 4:55 pm

There is a very useful article 'The crossbow in Britain' by Arthur G Creadland in the 2001 Royal Armouries Yearbook. He lists the 9th century pictish stone carvings that may show crossbows and the possible bone nut from Buiston Crannog as the earliest evidence. There is then an apparent 600-year gap until a crossbow is shown being used by a galloping(!) knight on a tile from Chertsey Abbey c1270.


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Postby Uncle Bulgaria » Mon Oct 31, 2005 11:16 am

May be worth you having a chat with Robin Knight of Period Crossbows at Robin@period-crossbows.demon.co.uk.

Robin is great and should be able to give you all the info you need.

Hope this helped.



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Postby medievalisboring » Sun Nov 06, 2005 8:55 pm

Have a look in 'Barbarian Warriors', D and S shadrake, Brassey's military uniforms series. There's a few references to crossbows in Roman, Pictish and Norman eras. Chances are the pictish one was a 'pegbow' which is much simpler in design, but not as powerful.


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Thorlak
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Postby Thorlak » Fri Dec 23, 2005 7:44 pm

I am fairly sure I have read accounts of The Romans Using Crossbows
Or at the very least hiring Crossbowmen And they would certainly have had the technology and the motive to do it

I think there are some letters surviving Written To the Emperor Late 4th and early 5th century that describe A unit of what sound like Crossbowmen carrying "Hand Ballistae" that served in Britain

But this may have been a recomendation rather than what actualy was



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Postby Steven » Fri Dec 23, 2005 8:08 pm

Thorlak wrote:I am fairly sure I have read accounts of The Romans Using Crossbows
Or at the very least hiring Crossbowmen And they would certainly have had the technology and the motive to do it

I think there are some letters surviving Written To the Emperor Late 4th and early 5th century that describe A unit of what sound like Crossbowmen carrying "Hand Ballistae" that served in Britain

But this may have been a recomendation rather than what actualy was


Gastraphetes they were called.

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Interesting link here - http://www.barca.fsnet.co.uk/catapult-arrows.htm


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Thorlak
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Postby Thorlak » Fri Dec 23, 2005 8:35 pm

Thanks For that I knew I was not imagining it :D



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purple peril
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Postby purple peril » Sat Dec 24, 2005 12:13 am

Which particular period, specifically, are you asking about?
Although I am neither an archaeologist nor a weapons expert, even if Romans did have a sort of crossbow, surely that doesn't mean it survived into later periods when they all buggered off. Just a thought :)



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Postby Thorlak » Sat Dec 24, 2005 12:44 am

I think some of the armouries would still have contained crossbows
And afterall n ot all of the troops left.

The finds seem to indicate that there were Some of The Federati In Britain well after the 450s.
After the pay stopped arrivving they probably took their own land and helped the locls defend it



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Postby WorkMonkey » Sat Dec 24, 2005 12:46 am

Regia says there were crossbows SO IT MUST BE TRUE!

Not that i'm bitter or anything. 8)


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Thorlak
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Postby Thorlak » Sat Dec 24, 2005 2:44 am

:D

No I also totaly agree just because Regia say so it has to be errrr... true :roll:



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Postby Steven » Sat Dec 24, 2005 10:20 am

purple peril wrote:surely that doesn't mean it survived into later periods when they all buggered off. Just a thought :)


They didn't b**ger off, man. They just stopped getting paid. :wink:


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Postby WorkMonkey » Sat Dec 24, 2005 12:50 pm

I hope they spoke to their union rep.


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Postby Thorlak » Sat Dec 24, 2005 2:19 pm

Their Union rep probably wasen't gettting paid either :D

Yes many of the Roman soldiers did indeed conitinue to serve the local population it is just that they were not any longer being 'officialy' paid by the Empire



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Postby WorkMonkey » Sat Dec 24, 2005 2:25 pm

I doubt they served the local populace as a free police force, they would have been swallowed up by the emerging petty warlords in the power vacumn surely?


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Thorlak
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Postby Thorlak » Sat Dec 24, 2005 2:49 pm

Not necesarily as a free police force but there are finds that indicate they continued to serve

And as many of them would have their own local land and family
It is likely they would have comtinued to serve and help defend the local community

They may have been under the command of one of the local warlords



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Aelfric
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Postby Aelfric » Sat Dec 24, 2005 6:00 pm

WorkMonkey wrote:Regia says there were crossbows SO IT MUST BE TRUE!


Where does anyone say that?



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Thorlak
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Postby Thorlak » Sat Dec 24, 2005 6:31 pm

There was a find of some crossbow fragments withion a late Roman grave found somewhere in the 19 century

Iwill have to dig through my books and see if I can find the refrences

And the Eastern Empire Certainly Continued to use crossbows right through the period



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WorkMonkey
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Postby WorkMonkey » Sat Dec 24, 2005 6:44 pm

Aelfric wrote:
WorkMonkey wrote:Regia says there were crossbows SO IT MUST BE TRUE!


Where does anyone say that?


I'm sorry! Don't ban me off here as well!

I'll be good(ish)! 8)


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Aelfric
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Postby Aelfric » Sat Dec 24, 2005 6:46 pm

WorkMonkey wrote:
Aelfric wrote:
WorkMonkey wrote:Regia says there were crossbows SO IT MUST BE TRUE!


Where does anyone say that?


I'm sorry! Don't ban me off here as well!

I'll be good(ish)! 8)


You've lost me :?



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WorkMonkey
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Postby WorkMonkey » Sat Dec 24, 2005 7:29 pm

heh. 8) Well I guess it doesn't matter then.


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Postby WorkMonkey » Sat Dec 24, 2005 7:29 pm

IN JOKE, only people in MY clique are allowed to know.


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Thorlak
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Postby Thorlak » Sat Dec 24, 2005 8:47 pm

Not that you're bitter or anything :roll:



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WorkMonkey
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Postby WorkMonkey » Sat Dec 24, 2005 9:01 pm

yeah of course, not that I'm bitter.


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Postby Medicus Matt » Sun Dec 25, 2005 1:22 am

WorkMonkey wrote:IN JOKE, only people in MY clique are allowed to know.


MonkeyBoy, you don't have a clique! You are, at best, a hanger on so don't be getting' ideas above your station. :wink:

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