60RE: Period vs. modern
- Jul 31, 1999Hi 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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