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Danny Grigg





Joined: 17 Sep 2004

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PostPosted: Fri 21 May, 2010 9:38 pm    Post subject: Islamic Crossbows         Reply with quote

Are there any good books / sources that deal with non-European (Islamic / Arabic / Saracen) crossbows?

There are several good books on European crossbows, however I haven't come across anything that deals with Islamic / Eastern crossbows.

I recently borrowed a book from my local library called "Al-Andalus The Art of Islamic Spain" published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The book contains a photographic plate with information of one Islamic crossbow which I scanned yesterday (see attached).

Does anyone know the draw weight or have further information about this crossbow? Would this bow be purely draw by hand, I can't see any evidence of it needing a spanning device?

The attached information plate mentions:

1. Ibn Hudhayl 1977, p. 201
2. Bernis 1982, fig. 1
3. Codice Rico, ms, T.I.1, fol. 76r. (documented in the Cantigas de Santa Maria)

Does anyone have these books or access to the manuscript above. If so can you post pics of the relevant pages?


Are there any other surviving islamic - arabic crossbows in museums? If so please post pics / information.

Has anyone replicated an islamic composite crossbow?

Thanks

Danny



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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Sun 23 May, 2010 8:28 am    Post subject: Re: Islamic Crossbows         Reply with quote

Danny Grigg wrote:
There are several good books on European crossbows, however I haven't come across anything that deals with Islamic / Eastern crossbows.


Because they're not that different from European crossbows to begin with?


Quote:
Does anyone know the draw weight or have further information about this crossbow? Would this bow be purely draw by hand, I can't see any evidence of it needing a spanning device?


One of the surviving medieval archery manuals (I don't remember exactly whether it was Taybugha or the anonymous Arab Archery mentions a method of spanning a crossbow on horseback with hooks attached to a strap that went over the shoulders and neck. Belt-hooks were probably known as well.
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Iagoba Ferreira





Joined: 15 Sep 2008

Posts: 177

PostPosted: Mon 24 May, 2010 10:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think that there are some surviving pieces from the late XVth century in Spain...I'll check them. Wink
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Danny Grigg





Joined: 17 Sep 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 337

PostPosted: Wed 26 May, 2010 8:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Islamic Crossbows         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Danny Grigg wrote:
There are several good books on European crossbows, however I haven't come across anything that deals with Islamic / Eastern crossbows.


Because they're not that different from European crossbows to begin with?


Quote:
Does anyone know the draw weight or have further information about this crossbow? Would this bow be purely draw by hand, I can't see any evidence of it needing a spanning device?


One of the surviving medieval archery manuals (I don't remember exactly whether it was Taybugha or the anonymous Arab Archery mentions a method of spanning a crossbow on horseback with hooks attached to a strap that went over the shoulders and neck. Belt-hooks were probably known as well.


Lafayette

Thanks for the information. Do you recall if these Arabic Archery manuals cover the crossbow in detail?


Few more pics of the crossbow here and attached:

http://oronoz.com/paginas/leefoto.php?referen...io=anonimo
http://oronoz.com/paginas/leefoto.php?referen...io=anonimo

Danny



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Nasrid crossbow a.jpg


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Nasrid crossbow b.jpg

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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Sun 30 May, 2010 3:16 am    Post subject: Re: Islamic Crossbows         Reply with quote

Danny Grigg wrote:
Thanks for the information. Do you recall if these Arabic Archery manuals cover the crossbow in detail?


Arab Archery--or at least the mss. used for the Faris & Elmer translation--only mentions the crossbow being used by the Persians and Turks and derides it for its clumsiness and unreliability, as well as theorizing on its origins as a further development of the majra (arrow guide).

The Latham & Paterson translation of Taybugha has an entire chapter (Chapter 16) devoted to the use of the crossbow on horseback (mostly about the safest way to load them without dismounting). The chapter is short, however, and quite problematic even though the technique described within is quite sensible; both its language and its subject matter seem somewhat out of place in a text that makes no mention of crossbows anywhere else. The translators even propose that it might be a later addition to the text. I'm inclined to agree with them in this regard, but on the other hand the technique in the chapter works (well, at least on a stationary horse) so I'm often tempted to speculate that it's actually a good description of the method used by the European mounted crossbowmen on the other side of the conflict (i.e. the Crusades).

Faris & Elmer's Arab Archery is available as a reprint from Kessler Publishing, while Latham & Paterson's 1970 translation of Taybugha (titled Saracen Archery) is unfortunately out of print. You could either try your luck with used-book dealers for that one or wait for news on the ATARN folks' efforts to republish that one in either paperback or ebook form.
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