In confirmation of this, it is worth notice that the modern popinjay
of Belgium is usually painted green, and archery records show that it has
nearly always been coloured in this way.
Shooting with a crossbow at the popinjay is, perhaps, one of the oldest
sports in existence in which the bow is concerned.
Fig. 163. - Shooting at the Popinjay.
We even read of shooting at the popinjay in the thirteenth century,
and from that time to the present day it has been a common amusement in
parts of the Continent.
In Virgil's fifth book of the AEneid we find a description of shooting
at a popinjay- in this case a live bird.1 Virgil tells us that
AEneas, when voyaging to Italy, was forced by a tempest to anchor at Drepanum,
a harbour on the shores of Sicily. Here he celebrated the anniversary of
the death of his father Anchises, and arranged upon the occasion, as was
usual, funeral games in honour of his memory.
The games consisted of competitions in foot-racing, boat-racing, boxing
and archery. In the archery contest, the final one of the celebration,
the competitors discharged their arrows at a bird fastened to the top of
|'This done, Aeneas orders for the close
The strife of Archers with contending bows.
The mast, Sergestus' shattered galley bore,
With his own hands he raises on the shore.
A fluttering dove upon the top they tie,
The living mark at which their arrows fly. - Dryden
1 VirgilóRoman poet, born B.C. 70, died B.C.