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Re: Sagittarius and crossbow

    > [Rafal:] Searching the list archives I have only found
    > one message by Jorge Stolfi in which he pointed out the
    > crossbow is European and medieval (rather than Greek).

That's my belief, but watch out --- I may be mistaken.

I do recall reading, however, that the crossbow was forbidden
by the Church in medieval times, soon after it was invented (or
introduced to Europe) --- since its darts could easily pierce
the contemporary knight's armor, which had evolved to protect
against the arrows of common bows only.

(Needless to say, the Church's prohibition only prevented its
use by God-fearing generals who sincerely believed in giving
their enemies a fair chance. Please don't ask me to name any. 8-)

    > It may, however, be important to find (if possible)
    > another example of Sagittarius with a crossbow. I have
    > seen several instances of Sagittarius represented by a
    > human archer - in medieval and renaissance German images
    > - but still holding a bow, never a crossbow.
It seems that Sagittarius's name in medieval
Turkish (and/or in Arabic) was literally "the bow".

So, here is a possible explanation for the Sagittarius
picture. Suppose the Zodiac diagrams were drawn by a
Turkish/Arabic scholar who was trying to produce an
European-looking manuscript (e.g. for an European patron or
colleague). His name for that sign being "The Bow", he
implicitly assumes that the bow, not the centaur, is the
important element of the European symbol. So he carfully
draws a crossbow --- "the characteristic European bow" ---
and then "pads" the icon with a soldier in European dress.

All the best,