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60RE: Period vs. modern

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  • Ken Cooke
    Jul 31, 1999
      Hi everyone,

      I am one of those that lurks, most of the time. I have been watching
      several interesting threads go by and I thought that I would make some

      I am new to the SCA and have only been on the list for a short time. I am
      sorry to see tempers flare so much and I hope it all settles down for the

      First I would like to comment on documentation. Archery was not only a
      sport of interest, it was mandated by law, for several hundred years.
      Every man over age 12 was to own a bow and at least two arrows and they
      were to shoot on every holy day. This was everyday life. Over the all
      these years, I can imagine that arrows were kept and carried by just about
      any practical method that we can think of. Would this be documented?
      Probably not any more than how to cut and store firewood, although, I
      would like to see as much documentation as can be found. The only things
      that would be documented would be the important things, like battles,
      showing the Kings archers (the paid guys), not the militia gathered on the
      way to war, they were just peasants after all. They would not have worn
      uniforms and would have used their everyday tackle.

      Someone asked about documentation on cresting. Again, this would have been
      common practice and no-one would pay much attention to documenting it. Did
      they crest their arrows? Lets think, one, maybe two fletchers in a town,
      all their work looking similar. Then give those to 15-20 guys and let them
      shoot them at the butts. Now for a little human nature "that's mine!!"
      and we have arrows that are marked in some way. Competitive guys, "mine
      are better than yours" and we have rather fancy cresting. I personally
      can not believe that they did not crest arrows. Besides, everything that I
      have read about competitions etc., there was never any question as to arrow

      After about three hundred years of this kind of activity, I would think
      that none of us are coming up with anything new, documented or not.

      I am new to the game, but I am not new to archery. I come from a long line
      of archers and I am fairly proficient at the craft. I like the idea of
      encouraging period or as near period as possible equipment. I do feel,
      however, that the society is lacking in that little extra effort to
      encourage it. In fact, I think that the way things are now, they are
      discouraging it. I was recently at an event and listened to several
      archers discussing the fact that they were not giving up their recurves as
      long as there was no advantage in the competition. In other words, as long
      as it is allowed, they are going to use it because it is easier to shoot
      and therefore easier to win. They are not stretching for the next level
      because there is no incentive offered to do so. I shoot a long bow, well,
      a modern wood and glass flat bow that is real close to a long bow (I am
      still learning the art of bow making and can not afford to buy one already
      made). I am looking for that next level, then I see some of the prizes
      that can be won and I wonder if I should use one of my recurves in the
      competition. I am at a disadvantage shooting against those easier to shoot
      bows, and they are easier to shoot. I would like to see more people
      shooting more period equipment.

      I also feel that this can be taken too far. Self nocked arrows are not as
      safe as glue on nocks and much more costly to replace when you hit them. I
      once saw pictures of horn nocks that looked a lot like some of the plastic
      ones you can buy today. I think they were Mongolian. Arrows were all made
      about a cloth yard long, not custom fit to the individual. I am not making
      strings out of linen, hemp or silk. The modern materials are much better
      and I don't want to lose my bow to a broken string. So, how realistic do we

      I would enjoy comments on this. E-mail me privately if you like, I always
      enjoy talking archery. Thank you for letting me ramble on. I apologize
      for any inaccuracies, as I am not a scholar, just a hobbyist.

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