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Re: [SCA-Archery] What constitutes a period bow?

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  • john moore
    Nigel, on this I would have to disagree with you on this. In general most European bows were based on a flatbow design. The long bow that we know of is
    Message 1 of 10 , Jan 2, 2002
      Nigel, on this I would have to disagree with you on this. In general most
      European bows were based on a flatbow design. The long bow that we know of
      is pretty much limited to the welsh and english. Most good sources in
      england will even go so far as to say that they are one and the same. The
      thing to remember is that there are only two good sources of yew in Europe,
      England and Spain, the spanish being considered the better. The lack of
      good wood on the European mainland was one of the contributing factors to
      the rise of the crossbows prominence. Ash is a good substitute but one must
      remember that the dearth of material about ELB are from the Mary Rose.
      There is not enough documentation as the bows did not survive the years. So
      one could not say, that a ELB has to be just Yew or Ash. I do agree that no
      matter what you build it should have excellent documentation, but do not
      limit it to only the ELB. Flatbows, Hornbows and Sinew-backed bows were
      common in period.(Check out some of the Scandinavian traditional websites)

      Iaen Mor
      Ansteorra


      >From: "Bruce R. Gordon" <obsidian@...>
      >Reply-To: SCA-Archery@yahoogroups.com
      >To: SCA-Archery@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] What constitutes a period bow?
      >Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2002 16:20:00 -0500
      >
      >Greetings
      > I haven't done detailed research in the area, but I have wandered through
      >some sources. Nothing that I've seen suggests that flatbows were common
      >in Europe within period. I agree that the technology precedes period
      >(vide Holmegaard, etc.), but it seems not to have had much influence
      >overall.
      > I've never heard of a period ELB as a composite, except perhaps in the
      >riser. Composites were known, of course; Huns, Mongols, Turks, they all
      >built composite bows - you find that sort of thing wherever archery is
      >regarded as useful, but ready sources of wood are scarce. And in any
      >event, hickory is a New World wood.
      > All of which tends to beg the question, of course. If you are trying to
      >build a bow for an Arts-and-Sciences competition, you will need to hit
      >the books very thoroughly, and then build a classic yew or ash longbow
      >with a "D" section (if you are doing a Western bow - an Eastern
      >horse-bow can use all sorts of materials, of course). But for use in
      >Period Division shoots, you will be held to a less rigorous standard.
      >
      >Cordially;
      >Forester Nigel FitzMaurice (Mid)
      >
      >jameswolfden wrote:
      >
      > > I was wondering what the different kingdoms consider a period bow. It
      > > seems to me that there is a dearth of period documentation on the
      > > different tiller of self-bows used in England and Europe. I might
      > > speculate that the Welsh elm bow was a flat bow rather than an
      > > english long bow but I can't find much documentation that actually
      > > describes in detail its shape and tiller.
      > >
      > > Would you consider a flat bow period? Would the shape of its handle
      > > make a difference? I tend to associate the narrow handle to be a more
      > > new world influence but bows like the holmegaard and meare heath show
      > > the style existed pre-period.
      > >
      > > Would you consider a hickory-backed ELB with horn nocks period or
      > > would you demand documentation that showed that the english used
      > > composite materials in their bow?
      > >
      > > How period do you have to be to be period?
      > >
      > > James Wolfden
      > > Lions Gate
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > ---8<---------------------------------------------
      > > Brought to you YahooGroups Ad Free in 2001 by Baron Bows
      > > Need a bow? Check http://www.baronbows.com/
      > >
      > > [Email to SCA-Archery-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com to leave this list]
      > >
      > >
      > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
      >http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >
      >
      >--
      >Ex Tenebra, Lux
      >
      >http://web.raex.com/~obsidian/index.html
      >
      >
      >---8<---------------------------------------------
      >Brought to you YahooGroups Ad Free in 2001 by Baron Bows
      >Need a bow? Check http://www.baronbows.com/
      >
      >[Email to SCA-Archery-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com to leave this list]
      >
      >
      >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >
      >




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    • Co and Barbara tenBroek
      Well now I have built now 3 bows, all are wood all are Hickory. 1 is an ELB design I entered in an A&S contest, it has horn nocks, is slightly longer than six
      Message 2 of 10 , Jan 2, 2002
        Well now I have built now 3 bows, all are wood all are Hickory. 1 is an ELB
        design I entered in an A&S contest, it has horn nocks, is slightly longer
        than six feet from tip to tip, and draws about 145LBS @31 inches when braced
        at 6 inches. A friend of mine who saw the bows in the Mary Rose Museum
        could not tell the difference. I have 2 flat bows from hickory, and am
        currently working on an Andaman style bow.

        What makes a bow period? Is it made from natural materials? Is it based on
        a pre 1600 design? If non natural materials are used can an oberserver tell
        the difference? As long as the answers to the first 2 are yes and the
        second is no, I would say you have a period style bow, and depending on how
        accurate you were you should shoot it every chance you get, and maybe enter
        it into an A&S contest.


        Best of luck,
        Jean-Michel
      • eulenhorst@juno.com
        I don t have my sources readily to hand but I seem to recall reading that the Vikings used a short, flat bow made of oak to great effect. As their primary
        Message 3 of 10 , Jan 2, 2002
          I don't have my sources readily to hand but I seem to recall reading that
          the Vikings used a short, flat bow made of oak to great effect. As their
          primary period of raiding was roughly 7th to 11th century it would
          certainly be period.

          In service to the dream,
          Carolus von Eulenhorst
          eulenhorst@...

          On Wed, 02 Jan 2002 16:20:00 -0500 "Bruce R. Gordon" <obsidian@...>
          writes:
          > Greetings
          > I haven't done detailed research in the area, but I have
          > wandered through
          > some sources. Nothing that I've seen suggests that flatbows were
          > common
          > in Europe within period. I agree that the technology precedes period
          >
          > (vide Holmegaard, etc.), but it seems not to have had much influence
          >
          > overall.
          > I've never heard of a period ELB as a composite, except
          > perhaps in the
          > riser. Composites were known, of course; Huns, Mongols, Turks, they
          > all
          > built composite bows - you find that sort of thing wherever archery
          > is
          > regarded as useful, but ready sources of wood are scarce. And in any
          >
          > event, hickory is a New World wood.
          > All of which tends to beg the question, of course. If you
          > are trying to
          > build a bow for an Arts-and-Sciences competition, you will need to
          > hit
          > the books very thoroughly, and then build a classic yew or ash
          > longbow
          > with a "D" section (if you are doing a Western bow - an Eastern
          > horse-bow can use all sorts of materials, of course). But for use in
          >
          > Period Division shoots, you will be held to a less rigorous
          > standard.
          >
          > Cordially;
          > Forester Nigel FitzMaurice (Mid)
          >
          > snip <
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        • eulenhorst@juno.com
          My reading indicates that Italian yew was the preferred wood in period because of its consistent fine grained growth. Some of the best documentation is
          Message 4 of 10 , Jan 2, 2002
            My reading indicates that Italian yew was the preferred wood in period
            because of its consistent fine grained growth. Some of the best
            documentation is indirect and can be obtained from the statutes
            regulating bowyers and the customs records for imports. Merchants were
            required to bring with them certain numbers of bow staves of specified
            proportions of woods for the King's armories whenever they docked in an
            English port.

            In service to the dream,
            Carolus von Eulenhorst
            eulenhorst@...

            On Wed, 02 Jan 2002 22:15:33 +0000 "john moore" <iaenmor@...>
            writes:
            > Nigel, on this I would have to disagree with you on this. In general
            > most
            > European bows were based on a flatbow design. The long bow that we
            > know of
            > is pretty much limited to the welsh and english. Most good sources
            > in
            > england will even go so far as to say that they are one and the
            > same. The
            > thing to remember is that there are only two good sources of yew in
            > Europe,
            > England and Spain, the spanish being considered the better. The
            > lack of
            > good wood on the European mainland was one of the contributing
            > factors to
            > the rise of the crossbows prominence. Ash is a good substitute but
            > one must
            > remember that the dearth of material about ELB are from the Mary
            > Rose.
            > There is not enough documentation as the bows did not survive the
            > years. So
            > one could not say, that a ELB has to be just Yew or Ash. I do agree
            > that no
            > matter what you build it should have excellent documentation, but do
            > not
            > limit it to only the ELB. Flatbows, Hornbows and Sinew-backed bows
            > were
            > common in period.(Check out some of the Scandinavian traditional
            > websites)
            >
            > Iaen Mor
            > Ansteorra
            ________________________________________________________________
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          • Evian Blackthorn
            Greetings list, In 1188, a half Welsh - half Norman living in England knew of and wrote about at least four different materials being used for bows. They were:
            Message 5 of 10 , Jan 2, 2002
              Greetings list,

              In 1188, a half Welsh - half Norman living in England
              knew of and wrote about at least four different materials
              being used for bows. They were: horn, ivory, yew, and elm.
              This person was named Giraldus, and wrote about the bows of
              elm used by the 'Venta' of Wales, as opposed to bows of
              horn, ivory or yew. There are no details given in relation
              to the shape of these or other bows. There is no information
              given about whether the materials were used individually, or
              were used as a composite material. But this is only a small
              area of the known world of that time, although Giraldus was
              familiar with sizable areas of England, France and Italy,
              having lived in all three countries, as well as having been
              raised in Wales and having visited Ireland. He gives no
              details about where the other three materials other than the
              elm of the Welsh was used for bows.

              I don't know if Carolus is right about Italian yew being
              the prefered yew in period England, but I do know that there
              were extensive yew growths around the shores of Lake Geneva,
              in what is now the Haut-Savoie departement of France,
              formerly part of the Duchy of Savoy, so at least yew grew in
              Italy in period, as well as Spain and England. I sure won't
              argue about it with him, as he is normally right in his
              statements and can back them up with documentation. However,
              Carolus failed to make the distinctintion I did about period
              ENGLAND, though he does refer us indirectly to English
              records and statutes. Or at least I assume he was referring
              to English records, as he directly referred to English
              ports. Other areas of Europe used other woods, and had bows
              other than the 'classic' English long bow in 'period'. Plus,
              several areas of South, Central and Southern North America
              were known and extensively explored before 1600 by the
              Spanish. So even some 'native' american bows can be
              'period'. Most asiatic bows in use before 1600 can also be
              included as 'period' in the SCA.

              I have no information on hickory being used for bows
              before 1600, but hickory is not just a native American wood.
              It is also native to Eastern Asia, and fossil remains have
              been found in Greenland, Iceland and even in Europe. But
              basically, what Baron Ben said is correct.
              >if you show up on the range with a bow without center
              >cut arrow shelf and with proper arrows, you may shoot
              >in the period division in the outlands (or most any other
              >Kingdom). If you enter a bow in an A&S competition,
              >be well prepared for many challenges on minutiae.
              The only things I might want to add is that the bow should
              be mostly wood, and you might run into a few people who
              think that the ONLY truely 'period' bow is an ELB. They are
              wrong, so don't let them buffalo you.

              YIS
              Evian Blackthorn of THE WEB
              http://www.spider-strands.com
              Editor, Bodkin and Bolt Magazine
              http://www.dskonline.net/bodkin
            • eulenhorst@juno.com
              Thank you, Evian. Yes, I was referring to English references of the period. In service to the dream, Carolus von Eulenhorst eulenhorst@juno.com On Wed, 2 Jan
              Message 6 of 10 , Jan 2, 2002
                Thank you, Evian. Yes, I was referring to English references of the
                period.

                In service to the dream,
                Carolus von Eulenhorst
                eulenhorst@...

                On Wed, 2 Jan 2002 19:17:10 -0600 "Evian Blackthorn" <theweb@...>
                writes:
                > Greetings list,
                >
                > In 1188, a half Welsh - half Norman living in England
                > knew of and wrote about at least four different materials
                > being used for bows. They were: horn, ivory, yew, and elm.
                > This person was named Giraldus, and wrote about the bows of
                > elm used by the 'Venta' of Wales, as opposed to bows of
                > horn, ivory or yew. There are no details given in relation
                > to the shape of these or other bows. There is no information
                > given about whether the materials were used individually, or
                > were used as a composite material. But this is only a small
                > area of the known world of that time, although Giraldus was
                > familiar with sizable areas of England, France and Italy,
                > having lived in all three countries, as well as having been
                > raised in Wales and having visited Ireland. He gives no
                > details about where the other three materials other than the
                > elm of the Welsh was used for bows.
                >
                > I don't know if Carolus is right about Italian yew being
                > the preferred yew in period England, but I do know that there
                > were extensive yew growths around the shores of Lake Geneva,
                > in what is now the Haut-Savoie departement of France,
                > formerly part of the Duchy of Savoy, so at least yew grew in
                > Italy in period, as well as Spain and England. I sure won't
                > argue about it with him, as he is normally right in his
                > statements and can back them up with documentation. However,
                > Carolus failed to make the distinctintion I did about period
                > ENGLAND, though he does refer us indirectly to English
                > records and statutes. Or at least I assume he was referring
                > to English records, as he directly referred to English
                > ports. Other areas of Europe used other woods, and had bows
                > other than the 'classic' English long bow in 'period'. Plus,
                > several areas of South, Central and Southern North America
                > were known and extensively explored before 1600 by the
                > Spanish. So even some 'native' american bows can be
                > 'period'. Most asiatic bows in use before 1600 can also be
                > included as 'period' in the SCA.
                >
                > I have no information on hickory being used for bows
                > before 1600, but hickory is not just a native American wood.
                > It is also native to Eastern Asia, and fossil remains have
                > been found in Greenland, Iceland and even in Europe. But
                > basically, what Baron Ben said is correct.
                > >if you show up on the range with a bow without center
                > >cut arrow shelf and with proper arrows, you may shoot
                > >in the period division in the outlands (or most any other
                > >Kingdom). If you enter a bow in an A&S competition,
                > >be well prepared for many challenges on minutiae.
                > The only things I might want to add is that the bow should
                > be mostly wood, and you might run into a few people who
                > think that the ONLY truly 'period' bow is an ELB. They are
                > wrong, so don't let them buffalo you.
                >
                > YIS
                > Evian Blackthorn of THE WEB
                ________________________________________________________________
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