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David Hohl




Location: Oregon
Joined: 07 Feb 2011

Posts: 57

PostPosted: Thu 27 Jun, 2013 6:06 am    Post subject: European bow construction         Reply with quote

I'm looking for resources about bows and archery in Medieval Europe, EXCLUDING the rightfully famous English long bow. Were there any particular differences in design or construction between the english war bow and those from, say, Germany and France? I am also interested in hunting bows, not just military ones. I know that the crossbow was very popular, but I don't believe it completely supplanted the regular bow. Are there any artifacts from, say 1300 onwards? Does anyone know if they were generally made with yew, in a round cross-section, or were there other styles?
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Lafayette C Curtis




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

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Thu 04 Jul, 2013 6:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Swiss illustrations of Burgundian troops show recurved tips and set-back grips on many of the Burgundian bows, so it''s quite likely that not all medieval European bows had the English longbow's simple compass shape. I don't know yet about whether these recurved longbows had simple, laminated, or composite construction, although at the moment I'm wagering on either simple (steamed and clamped into shape) or two-wood laminates.
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David Hohl




Location: Oregon
Joined: 07 Feb 2011

Posts: 57

PostPosted: Thu 04 Jul, 2013 8:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, since I posted the above I've found some miniatures that do seem to show quite a few recurves in use, both with and without the set-back handle. Some of the Italian art shows distinct "scroll-ends", i.e. curled into a knob at each nock, though i wouldn't be surprised if that was artistic exaggeration. The art I've seen seems to suggest a round cross-section, but since they're usually painted in miniature, that might be necessary just to make the bow visible. It would be great if there were an artifact or something surviving, but given how much trouble we have finding even the numerous and famous english longbows, that's probably too much to hope.
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