Crossbows in this period

Moderator: Moderators

AElfstan Egbertsson
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 4:35 pm
Contact:

Crossbows in this period

Post by AElfstan Egbertsson »

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?
75.
Cattle die and kinsmen die,
thyself too soon must die,
but one thing never, I ween, will die, --
fair fame of one who has earned.

User avatar
WorkMonkey
Posts: 396
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 1:00 pm
Location: Buuuuurmingum

Post by WorkMonkey »

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.
WORKMONKEY: The Wilderness Years.
Image
Look at the monkey, funny monkey
Little red monkey, acting so fidgety

Sigurd
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2005 8:17 am

Post by Sigurd »

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?

AElfstan Egbertsson
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 4:35 pm
Contact:

Post by AElfstan Egbertsson »

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?
75.
Cattle die and kinsmen die,
thyself too soon must die,
but one thing never, I ween, will die, --
fair fame of one who has earned.

User avatar
PaulMurphy
Posts: 207
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 8:40 am
Location: Cambridgeshire
Contact:

Post by PaulMurphy »

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.
Paul Murphy
Tournée & The Vikings
______________________________________

Lorraine at Lanista

Crossbows in this period

Post by Lorraine at Lanista »

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.

Lorraine
Lanista Ancient Warfare Academy

User avatar
John Waller
Post Knight
Posts: 1551
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2005 1:36 pm
Location: Surrey

Post by John Waller »

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.
Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.

User avatar
Uncle Bulgaria
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2005 11:39 am
Location: Lincolnshire (Yellow Belly and proud of it!!)

Post by Uncle Bulgaria »

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.

medievalisboring
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2005 1:36 am

Post by medievalisboring »

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.
'spell FORENSICS'
'why the hell should I? S-U-C-K-M-Y-A-S-S. forensics'

User avatar
Thorlak
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 5:13 pm
Location: Mercia

Post by Thorlak »

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

User avatar
Steven
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 10:18 pm
Location: Bedford
Contact:

Post by Steven »

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.

Image

Interesting link here - http://www.barca.fsnet.co.uk/catapult-arrows.htm
The SK made me do it!

User avatar
Thorlak
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 5:13 pm
Location: Mercia

Post by Thorlak »

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

User avatar
purple peril
Posts: 193
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2005 3:00 pm
Location: Around...

Post by purple peril »

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 :)

User avatar
Thorlak
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 5:13 pm
Location: Mercia

Post by Thorlak »

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

User avatar
WorkMonkey
Posts: 396
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 1:00 pm
Location: Buuuuurmingum

Post by WorkMonkey »

Regia says there were crossbows SO IT MUST BE TRUE!

Not that i'm bitter or anything. 8)
WORKMONKEY: The Wilderness Years.
Image
Look at the monkey, funny monkey
Little red monkey, acting so fidgety

User avatar
Thorlak
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 5:13 pm
Location: Mercia

Post by Thorlak »

:D

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

User avatar
Steven
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 10:18 pm
Location: Bedford
Contact:

Post by Steven »

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:
The SK made me do it!

User avatar
WorkMonkey
Posts: 396
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 1:00 pm
Location: Buuuuurmingum

Post by WorkMonkey »

I hope they spoke to their union rep.
WORKMONKEY: The Wilderness Years.
Image
Look at the monkey, funny monkey
Little red monkey, acting so fidgety

User avatar
Thorlak
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 5:13 pm
Location: Mercia

Post by Thorlak »

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

User avatar
WorkMonkey
Posts: 396
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 1:00 pm
Location: Buuuuurmingum

Post by WorkMonkey »

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?
WORKMONKEY: The Wilderness Years.
Image
Look at the monkey, funny monkey
Little red monkey, acting so fidgety

User avatar
Thorlak
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 5:13 pm
Location: Mercia

Post by Thorlak »

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

Aelfric
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2005 9:32 am
Location: Cheshire
Contact:

Post by Aelfric »

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


Where does anyone say that?

User avatar
Thorlak
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 5:13 pm
Location: Mercia

Post by Thorlak »

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

User avatar
WorkMonkey
Posts: 396
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 1:00 pm
Location: Buuuuurmingum

Post by WorkMonkey »

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)
WORKMONKEY: The Wilderness Years.
Image
Look at the monkey, funny monkey
Little red monkey, acting so fidgety

Aelfric
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2005 9:32 am
Location: Cheshire
Contact:

Post by Aelfric »

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 :?

User avatar
WorkMonkey
Posts: 396
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 1:00 pm
Location: Buuuuurmingum

Post by WorkMonkey »

heh. 8) Well I guess it doesn't matter then.
WORKMONKEY: The Wilderness Years.
Image
Look at the monkey, funny monkey
Little red monkey, acting so fidgety

User avatar
WorkMonkey
Posts: 396
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 1:00 pm
Location: Buuuuurmingum

Post by WorkMonkey »

IN JOKE, only people in MY clique are allowed to know.
WORKMONKEY: The Wilderness Years.
Image
Look at the monkey, funny monkey
Little red monkey, acting so fidgety

User avatar
Thorlak
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 5:13 pm
Location: Mercia

Post by Thorlak »

Not that you're bitter or anything :roll:

User avatar
WorkMonkey
Posts: 396
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 1:00 pm
Location: Buuuuurmingum

Post by WorkMonkey »

yeah of course, not that I'm bitter.
WORKMONKEY: The Wilderness Years.
Image
Look at the monkey, funny monkey
Little red monkey, acting so fidgety

User avatar
Medicus Matt
Post Knight
Posts: 1470
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 1:16 pm
Location: Zummerzet
Contact:

Post by Medicus Matt »

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:

Merry Christmas boys and girls.
"I never said that I was here to help."

Post Reply