Re: [SCA-Archery] Villard de Honnecourt's crossbow
Ok, so I went and looked.
The curve in the string is 'close enough to straight' for me.
Especially given the artist was probably freehanding the lines.
So that's not much of an issue. From an artist's viewpoint, I suspect
he moved the bolt half way down the rails to make the little string
attached to the bolt obvious. What *that* is doing, I have no clue.
Given that everything else on the page seems to be related to building
machines, such as several things that look like rock drills and plank
saws, I suspect your initial guess is correct: It's a crossbow used
for chucking fairleads over/up to places otherwise hard to reach. I
have absolutely no idea what the little cup thing the nose of the
crossbow's resting in may be. I can't see that it relates obviously to
anything else though.
On Monday, May 5, 2003, at 12:48 AM, Carolus Eulenhorst wrote:
> I have a couple of problems with this illustration. First is the curve
> in the string. In a cocked crossbow the string is taut and forms a
> angle at the nut or release mechanism. This has more the appearance
> of a
> compound spring being stretched. The second is the position of the
> It is neither in the loaded position nore is it being fired as the
> string is still in the cocked position. Third, (ok, more than a
> the string and stick seem to be connected to the bolt and seem to be
> lying at rest. Is it possible the illustrator wasn't really familiar
> with crossbows but was working from a description? As this is an
> architect's sketchbook, I wonder if this isn't supposed to represent a
> crossbow used to fire a leading line to be used for carrying a heavier
> hauling or supporting cable over a span. Do you have any idea what the
> text on the page says?
> In service to the dream
> Carolus von Eulenhorst
> On Sun, 04 May 2003 23:06:36 -0400 "L.J. Sparvero" <lyev@...>
>> Hi all,
>> While doing research on a project unrelated to period
>> archery (Gothic
>> cathedrals!) I came across a drawing of a crossbow that's puzzled
>> me. The
>> artist is Villard de Honnecourt, who made an architect's sketchbook
>> in the
>> early 13th century. There's a jpg of it (folio 22 verso) at:
>> Go to the "search by page" link and click on 22v.
>> The crossbow is in the upper right corner. I'm drawing a blank as to
>> purpose of the plumb-bob thing in front of the bolt, or the small
>> block on
>> a string that seems to be recoiling from the bow. I can guess that
>> small block could be a type of safety for a rolling nut (see Alm's
>> but I'm not sure that this was a Gothic invention, as opposed to
>> centuries later. The plump-bob I have no idea either (unless it was
>> overlapping the crossbow drawing, and unrelated in concept to it).
>> One book
>> mentions this drawing and calls it a "sighting device" (with no
>> explanation). I can't figure out how this could be a sighting device
>> all, at least in our use of the word. Being able to judge distances
>> space accurately and sighting straight lines would no doubt have
>> important to him.
>> If anyone can shed some light on this, I'd appreciate it. Thanks in
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- --- In SCA-Archery@yahoogroups.com, John edgerton <sirjon1@p...>
> The comment about being in constant motion, like giant birds.Makes me
> think the cloak was attached to both wrists. That would give abird or
> bat wing appearance and would also provide protection from bothsides.
Perhaps, but a regular style half-circle doesn't work. I have been
playing with some other styles (you probably guessed that)and have a
prototype that seems to work - even found some material that sorta
looks like feathers. I'll keep you posted off-line, or here if
anyone else in interested. Actually it will be cool and servicable
even if you are not an archer. And it will be semi-perod, being a
modified Gallic Coat.