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Lafayette C Curtis




PostPosted: Wed 07 Jan, 2009 7:59 am    Post subject: Suitable crossbow for 15th-century mounted crossbowman         Reply with quote

What kind of crossbow would be most appropriate for a mid- to late-15th century crossbowman--say, from the 1440s to the 1490s? I'd be especially grateful if anybody can post pictures to the specific crossbow(s) in question. Even slightly out-of-period iconography (late 14th, early 15th, or early 16th-century?) might be useful with the help of a little extrapolation.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 07 Jan, 2009 8:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Crossbows are all over artwork of the period. Try searching for paintings of St. Sebastian (Hl. Sebastian). I don't know how many bows I've seen here:

http://www.imareal.oeaw.ac.at/realonline/

It takes a little effort to search this vast database, but it's incredibly rewarding. I've seen lots of bows here in depictions of the guards at the resurrection of Jesus.

There's a very nice series of images of a reconstructed bow and man-at-arms in the gallery at http://www.olofsgillet.org/

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 07 Jan, 2009 10:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is one of the best views I've run across at the site mentioned above:

The first date of provenance for this painting is 1495



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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Leo Todeschini




PostPosted: Wed 07 Jan, 2009 11:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you mean mounted in that they loaded and shot from horseback, then the only option would be cranequin and a bow pretty much shown as above, except with a steel bow.

If they get to battle dismount and then deploy then windlass would be the way to go as it acheived pretty much what a cranequin did, but much cheaper so more suited to a man at arms.

Tod

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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Wed 07 Jan, 2009 11:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

By the 15th you see composite crossbows used with Goats foot levers from horseback. I am trying to think of a durer picture with it but cannot remember its proper name.

RPM
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 07 Jan, 2009 1:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You should get this book if you don't already have it.

http://www.myArmoury.com/books/item.php?ASIN=3791319914

It shows at least two mounted crossbowmen.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 07 Jan, 2009 1:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's some candy for you, some mounted, some dismounted, all 1440-1500.


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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 07 Jan, 2009 1:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

More. Write your own captions for the last image :lol


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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Jean-Carle Hudon




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PostPosted: Wed 07 Jan, 2009 2:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Write your own captions:
''When you're finished with it, can I have my bolt back?''

Bon coeur et bon bras
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Richard Hare




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jan, 2009 7:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Caption;


..."Just look at your new armour!......I Told you to be careful playing with those things!"

Or;

"I guess it shoots low, ...I was aiming at the apple...."

Very good pics, Sean.

I'd really like to make a crossbow of this type, but proably a steel prod would make things easier.

Richard.
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Lafayette C Curtis




PostPosted: Sun 11 Jan, 2009 1:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's a lot of eye candy indeed. I'm actually tempted to re-title this thread "Crossbow pr0n"....
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James R.Fox




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PostPosted: Sun 11 Jan, 2009 11:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sirs-I have heard of light crossbows with the goatsfoot lever attached to the tiller of the bow. That's all I can think of, I've never seen one illustrated. That sounds practical for a horseman, and most of your illustrations would be French,as the English didnt use crossbows much. They used mounted longbowmen who got down to fight. The French were equally attached to the crossbow ,most ly mercenaries hired from Genoa, particularly the Grimaldis of Monaco, which was then part of Genoa(They also hired out war galleys, which were not terribly effctive in the Atlantic,except as coast guards.)
Ja68ms
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Sun 11 Jan, 2009 12:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James,

On the contrary the French employed well more of their own home grown french crossbowmen than genoese. Typically Genoese were hired for a specific purpose and time frame while you could get French crossbowmen anywhere and raise them for the army at will. Gascons also were well known as soldiers and crossbowmen in specific and much of gascony was French so this provided a useful recruitment ground as well. The reason people think the genoese were the French crossbow arm is just good PR

RPM
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Lafayette C Curtis




PostPosted: Sun 18 Jan, 2009 7:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And the Gascons were in English employ for quite a long while during the Hundred Years' War....

Anyway, returning to the topic, my cursory browsing through the database (and some other image galleries) seems to show that crossbows were more common among mounted men-at-arms than I had originally expected. All right, I was already thinking that the crossbow was more common than is usually thought, but I hadn't expected it to be that common. This thing raised two more questions in my head:

1. Does anybody have any ideas about whether that "more common" thing is real or just a statistical artifact of my search?

2. Some of those pictures leave me wondering about how the crossbow is attached (if at all) to the saddle or to the horseman. Any recommendations about where I should look for more information about these attachment methods?
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Lafayette C Curtis




PostPosted: Fri 13 Nov, 2009 7:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've still had no luck with looking for the attachment method that a mounted crossbowman would have used to secure his crossbow when it's not held in his hands. It seems like such a method would have been necessary since at least some troops of mounted crossbowmen were supposed to engage in hand-to-hand combat (see Seldeneck) and I doubt that they were instructed to club their enemies with their crossbow tillers. But even greatly zoomed-in views of the medieval images I've found (both through this thread and elsewhere) isn't really producing any leads yet.

I hope it's not one of those things that medieval artists considered too obvious to be worth the bother of representing them....
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Nathan Quarantillo




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Nov, 2009 5:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

did they unstring medieval crossbows? if they did, then how? also, what are some good reproducions out there? anyone got any experience w/ hollow earth crossbows? and, is 3/4 plate good for a crossbowman (man-at-arms)? what helms did they use (late 15th cent early 16th cent.) and lastly, did the mounted crossbowman have a form or paviase or other shield w/ him?
"Id rather be historically accurate than politically correct"
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Jason Daub




PostPosted: Sat 14 Nov, 2009 9:40 pm    Post subject: Crossbow case         Reply with quote

Lafayette,
Sean linked to the book "Venus and Mars-The World of the Medieval Housebook" earlier, mentioning two mounted crossbowmen. If you look at 21v22r, one of the bows is shown in a case at the saddlebow, the actual attachment to the saddle is not shown but it appears as if it may be strapped on. It isn't much to go on, and I don't recall any other images of mounted crossbowmen who were not holding the weapon.

'I saw young Harry, -with his bevor on,
His cuisses on his thighs, gallantly arm'd,-
Rise from the ground like feather'd Mercury,
And vaulted with such ease into his seat,
As if an angel dropp'd down from the clouds,
To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus,
And witch the world with noble horsemanship.'
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Lafayette C Curtis




PostPosted: Wed 25 Nov, 2009 3:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah. I haven't bought that book yet, hence my cluelessness. Since you pointed to a specific illustration that may give me a bit more clue than I already have, though, it has moved up several places on my to-buy list.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Jan, 2014 8:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When Sir John Smythe promoted mounted crossbowers at the end of the sixteenth century, he wanted them equipped gaffles or goat's-foot levers. He noted how mounted crossbowers had seen considerable service in earlier European warfare. I don't know of any evidence that much/anything came of Smythe's attempts to revive the mounted crossbower, though.
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Mark T




PostPosted: Mon 21 Jul, 2014 8:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
I've still had no luck with looking for the attachment method that a mounted crossbowman would have used to secure his crossbow when it's not held in his hands. It seems like such a method would have been necessary since at least some troops of mounted crossbowmen were supposed to engage in hand-to-hand combat (see Seldeneck) and I doubt that they were instructed to club their enemies with their crossbow tillers. But even greatly zoomed-in views of the medieval images I've found (both through this thread and elsewhere) isn't really producing any leads yet.

I hope it's not one of those things that medieval artists considered too obvious to be worth the bother of representing them....


I'm still slowly working up to commissioning a bow from Tod, and am interested in this question also.

The only lead I've found so far is this from David Watson of New World Arbalest, posting as 'Geezer' on The Arbalist Guild:

Quote:
If you use a cranequin, the top of the stock will be upper most, but you may have either the butt or the fore-end (usually there's a little hanging-ring rather than a stirrup at the front) against your leg or belly, depending on the type of cranequin you're using. I have seen some illus of Spanish cranequins being spanned with butt against the body and the bow pointing out ahead of the shooter, more or less level. [emphasis added]


[Source: http://thearbalistguild.forumotion.com/t154-spanning-a-crossbow]

I noticed that Tod has a small ring, rather than foot stirrup, for many of his bows posted on myA ... I wonder if Tod or David have any other leads, then, about exactly how these rings were used ... would they have been hung from the saddle? Out of the saddle, would they have ever been hung from the belt, or only ever carried? In either case, what would the attachment mechanism have been - tied on with thonging? Some kind of quick-release buckle arrangement? Or hung off some kind of hook?

I'll ask Tod about it directly also, but to save me bothering him with too many questions, I thought I'd ask here first! Big Grin

One thing I really like about these hanging-rings - apart from their historical accuracy in and of itself - is that it would clearly show that the bow needs a cranequin (or other device) to span, would be wholly appropriate for a mounted crossbowman, and would stand out from the stirrup-mounted low-poundage bows seen at living history events.












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