Naval battle, 13th century


From “Ships and Shipping in medieval manuscripts”

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Tensioning benches (from Liebel)

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Italian crossbow, second half of 15 century

Same principle as on earlier crossbows. The biggest differences are the ridge on the stock and longer top plate. Close inspection reveals inlays on the tiller and hinge securing the prod. No hooks or rods for advanced tensioning systems are visible, therefore simple hook and belt arrangement was used (or haussepied?) Found here

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Assault on Piombino and Italian crossbows

Two panels with “Assault on Piombino”, oil on panel, mid-15 century. Very nice crossbowmen and crossbow details – tillers looks very “industrial”, style than later will reach its apogee in Spanish crossbow. This fragment is of special interst: it depicts crossbows carelessly thrown on the ground, while shooters engage castle’s defendants with bows. The person in the center seem to be in process of discarding the tiller in favour of the bow. Definetly episode has some meaning and should be investigated further.
Also the lack of the binding is noteworthy. Maybe the prod was fixed in place by iron latch, construction similar to Glasgow crossbow. In that case looks like Glasgow example can be firmly dated 15 century, Italian, with prod replaced probably in 19 century. By the way, prod may be older than tiller.


Both pannels and crossbowmen details

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New crossbows and new prod

Model of crossbow from Wallace Collection (aka Colonna crosbow) with plastic inlays and reliefs (in progress), budget version of 14th century crossbow with inlays imitated by plastic and epoxy, 14th century crossbow with horn and bone inlays and new bow.

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st. Nicolas church, Hagenau in the Elsass (1360)

From David Nicolle bookFrom Paul Martin bookPhoto by Andreas Petijean (Arms and Armour forum)

Sleeping crossbowman

Thanks to David Nicolle this image became almost iconic. Indeed it provides wealth of details: for example, buckle on the belt is visible, hook type is evident and its dimensions could be easily calculated. Crossbow is of classic “old” European style, with composite prod and distinct “ears”, which will became almost obsolete in 15th century on the field crossbows but will survive on rampart machines and greater crossbows until 16th century.
Total relaxation of the sleeping soldiers is highlighted by several telltale details: his sword is unbuckled and spanning hook untied from the belt. Even if he wakes up, shooting will be impossible for several minutes.
First photo fro David Nicolle book, seconf from book by Paul Martin, third – be Andreas Petikean from Arms and Armour forum. Dicussion thread (in russian) id here: http://www.tforum.info/forum/index.php?showtopic=25062

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Crossbow maker from “Panoplia Omnivm Illiberalivm Mechanicarvm Avt Sedentariarum artium genera continens”

Famous woodcut from late 16 century in high resolution. All tools are nicely detailed and recognizable. Full scanned book is available here

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Breaking the bow

Broke my prod yesterday. Nothing spectacular, just major crack. New prod is already in progress. On the bright side nobody was hurt and as consolation I got reference to Theuerdank engraving with composite prod exploding after string snapped (please click to see original discussion on VikingSword).

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Terracotta army crossbowman

This terracotta warrior is captured in process of arming the crossbow. Since a real weapon (not preserved) was used originally, he is depicted in the beginning of spanning cycle. Note hands position and compare with St.Cernin demon

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Siege of the Jealousy castle

Siege of the Jealousy castle

Siege of the Jealousy castle

Flemish tapestry, early 16th century (Hermitage, St.Petersburg). Note how crossbow… er…woman is using her thumb to hold the bolt in place.

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