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35140Rotella Shoot

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  • John Edgerton
    Dec 5, 2013

    The Rotella Shoot is not a SSAC shoot. 
    However, the SSAC voting will begin soon, so please vote as soon as possible. 

    The Rotella Shoot, is a good example of a period shoot that was scored by one of the more common methods of scoring at the time, closeness to the center of the target. The archer closest to the center was awarded the point or contest. 

    The rules are below, without the drawing of the target face. And are attached and may also be found in the files of the group. 

    Please cross-post this to any other groups that might be interested. 


    The Rotella Shoot
    Sir Jon FitzRauf
    This shoot is based upon an Italian competition dating back to 1443 in Lucca, Italy. It was shot twice a year on May 1 and September 1. Particpation in the shoot was limited to male citizens of Lucca who were part of their town militia and was shot with crossbows. Each archer shot only one bolt and they shot in a predetermined order.  There was a prize of eighteen florins (Approximately $3,600) for the four best crossbowmen of the day. The prize was divided among the four according to their ranking in the contest. Their ranking was determined by the arrows closest to the center of the target.
    The target or Rotella was a round shield about two feet in diameter, in the center of this was a painted circle representing the shield boss. The center or Brocca, was the same as the gold in modern target archery.  The Rotella and Brocca are similar to the roundel style targets used in many other countries during this period.
    This is said to have been placed at one hundred and twenty paces or about ninety-eight yards. However, some historians question this distance because the plaza in which it was reported to have been held, is not ninety meters long. They feel that the paces should be interpreted as of one foot in front of the other or between about thirty-five to forty yards.  Similar competitions now held in Italy are shot at about forty yards. 
    The crossbowmen shot only one bolt each at the target. Just one chance to hit the target, this simulated the conditions of battle. When all had shot, the bolts furthest  from the center of the Brocca were removed until only the four closest to the center of the Brocca remained. Their placement was then carefully measured to determine the four winners. In the case of ties in distance from the center … “Bolts near the upper part of the Brocca were regarded as superior to those in the lower part while those at the sides were inferior to the rest.” When this did not eliminate a tie, then the crossbowman that had made his shot earlier won.
    The Shoot: This version for SCA competition allows points to be scored by other than just the closest archers making it more interesting for those that are not the best archers.
    The competition consists of a single Rotella target which is shot at in two rounds of six ends each and of one arrow or bolt per end. Both handbows and crossbows may participate in the shooting at the same time. However, handbows and crossbows compete in separate divisions.
    Range: The distance is 30 yards. Youth distance is 15 yards. Or you may set it up at whatever distance you prefer.
Target: The Rotella is 24 inches in diameter. The Brocca is centered in the Rotella and is 6 inches in diameter. The Brocca is a contrasting color to the Rotella.  An “X” should be drawn in the center of the Brocca for measuring distance to the arrows/bolts. The face of the Rotella and Brocca must be plain. However, the area around the outside of the Rotella may be decorated.
    Arrows: There are two rounds of six ends with one arrow per end. Each end is shot and scored before the next end is shot. Arrows/bolts that fall or are knocked out of the target receive no score.
    Archers should select two or three of their best arrows or bolts for the competition, but have six arrows available. Their names or other obvious form of identification, must be on their shafts for purposes of identification.
    The archers will shoot one at a time in a predetermined order selected by lot and the order of shooting is to be written down. The order of shooting will be reversed for the second round. This is for the purpose of tie breaking and so that no archer might always shoot first or last. The archer shooting first will not strike a previous arrow/bolt that might deflect theirs. The archer shooting last is more likely to strike a previous arrow or bolt and be deflected.  The archers take their turns standing directly in front of the target, so that their arrows/bolts all strike from the same angle.
    Handbows and crossbows compete in separate divisions. However, they may shoot together in the same ends.
    The marshal in charge will call each archer to the line in the order determined and will also tell the next archer to stand ready.
    In order to same time in the shooting of the competition arrows that miss the target and backstop may only be searched for after each round.
    Scoring: For purposes of scoring for the SSAC:
    ·      Arrows striking within the Rotella or Bocca, except for the four closest, receive one point.
    ·      The arrow closest to the center receives five points.
    ·      The arrow second closest to the center receives four points.
    ·      The arrow third closest to the center receives three  points.
    ·      The arrow fourth closest to the center receives two points.
    The distance is measured from the center (X) of the Brocca to the nearest edge of the arrow/bolt. If an arrow either falls out of the target or is knocked out by another bolt, it counts as zero. If the shaft of an arrow is broken off by another arrow, but the point remains in the target it still counts.
    For ease of scoring arrows/bolts tied with equal distances from the center, the arrow/bolt that was shot first will be considered closer.  Or if you wish, you may use the more period method listed below.
    In period, only the closest to the center would receive a score and that of one point.
    The medieval method of scoring competitions using the roundel often used the following system for judging between arrows equal distant from the center.
    In the case of arrows or bolts equal distant from the center, those in area “1” of the target count higher than any of the other areas. Arrows in area “2” count higher than those in areas “3”. Arrows in the right hand area “3”  (3:00 o’clock) count higher than arrows in the left hand area “3”. In the case of arrows equal distant from the center in the “1” or “2” areas, the arrow closest to the right counts higher. In the case of arrows equal distant from the center in either of the “3” areas, the arrow closest to the top counts higher. 
    Background for this competition was taken from the 2008 issue of the Journal of the Society of Archer-Antiquaries, “Crossbows with horn or wood bow laths; with reference to mediaeval shooting contests” pages 64-71.
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