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Re: VMs: crossbow Sagittarius

Hi Rafal,

At 01:53 14/12/2003 +0100, Rafal Prinke wrote:
I have found (finally!) some examples of Sagittarius
as crossbow man. Some of the German calendars reproduced
on the site of Herzog August Bibliothec display such
"icon" when showing the sign in which the Moon would
be on a given date. <...>

Unfortunately, they are admittedly very simplistic
and all are quite late for the estimated VMS date,
but still they point to an iconographic tradition
of such representation - in Germany.

Great, thanks - the only question I have is (as they are so simplistic) whether they stylistically represent a man aiming a bow (which fires arrows?) or a crossbow (which fires bolts?)

However, given that I know nothing about toxophily (beyond its Greek etymology), this may of course be a stupid question. :-)

Looking again at the VMs Sagittarius crossbowman, perhaps we should to try to understand the history of the crossbow. Here are some sites to get started on (though there are plenty to choose from)...

The Internet Archery Society (which seems to be the centre of the modern archery universe), and some of their pages on the crossbow:-

The Journal of the Society of Archer-Antiquaries has some articles online, plus an extensive bibliography (but which seems to have been subsumed by the next website):-

TheBeckoning website has a lot more details on (and references to) crossbows:-
http://www.thebeckoning.com/medieval/crossbow/xbow-def.html http://www.thebeckoning.com/medieval/crossbow/xbow-resources.html

The expert referred to here is Jens Sensfelder ( mailto:Jens.Sensfelder@xxxxxxxxxxx ) - whom I've emailed a picture of the VMs crossbow man... we'll see what he can tell us about it (fingers crossed). :-)

Here's a (very) short list of crossbow-related articles and papers, if you happen to be going past a library and want to read more:-
* Foley, V., Palmer, G., & Soedel, W., 'The Crossbow', Scientific American, cclii, 1985
* Harmuth, E., Die Armbrust [The Crossbow], Graz, Austria, 1975.
* Payne-Gallwey, Sir R., The Crossbow, Medieval and Modern Military and Sporting. Its Construction, History and Management, with a treatise on the Balista and Catapult of the Ancients, London, 1958.
* Alm, Josef, European Crossbows, Royal Armouries, London 1994

Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....

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