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The Crossbow   >  Chapter 11   >  13th and 14th Century Crossbow with Composite Bow   > p.62

Table of Contents List of Illustrations Index Appendix

The Crossbow

Chapter XI

The Thirteenth and Fourteenth Century Crossbow, with a Composite Bow (of Yew, Horn and Tendon) which was Bent by Hand, or by a Thong and Pulley. or by a Metal Claw Attached to the Crossbowman's Belt

ARBALESTE DE COR ET D'lF

When the bow of a crossbow was shaped out of a single piece of wood, as in the earliest weapons of the kind (figs. 24, 25), it must always have been liable to break or warp, or take a 'set,' after being for some time in use. For this reason, the crossbow with a beautifully constructed composite bow, composed of horn or whalebone, yew and tendon, superseded the weapon with a solid wooden bow.

The crossbow with a composite bow is said to have been brought to Europe from the East by the Saracens, during the Crusades of the twelfth century, and through them popularised on the Continent. At the time of the Crusades, and for many years after, the Saracens were famed for their construction of crossbows. In a list of crossbow makers compiled by Baron de Cosson, the name of ' Peter the Saracen' is the earliest he can find mentioned, this man being maker of crossbows to King John of England in 12051

It is likely that the weapon used by the Normans in the conquest of England, had a stout bow of solid wood. In the time of Richard I., however, 1189-1199, this king probably hired crossbowmen with composite bows formed of horn, wood and tendon ; crossbows with steel bows being of later date.

In support of the latter contention, I may quote Justiniani,2 who writes that in 1246 (or 47 years later than Richard I.) ' 500 Genoese crossbowmen whose crossbows had bows of horn,3 were sent against the Milanese, and that

1 Close Rolls of King John. Bentley. ' Excerpta Historica 395.'

2 Bernardo Justiniani - Italian historian, born 1408, died 1489.

3 Composite ones of horn, wood and tendon.


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The trebuchet kit includes fully precut and drilled frame parts, pins and axles, sling cord and sewn pouch, projectiles and fully illustrated assembly and firing instructions. 

Unlike the flimsy, snap together plywood trebuchet kits, our all hardwood trebuchet kit does not require additional cutting, trimming or shaping.

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Inspired by the great war machines and siege catapults of Leonardo da Vinci , this all Red Oak hardwood trebuchet features an open counterweight cabinet for range and trajectory adjustment. 

Fire with an empty counterweight for indoor use, or add weight (nuts, bolts, scrap lead, iron or steel, sand, or small rocks not included) for increased range.

Individually crafted from cabinet-grade red oak, the da Vinci Trebuchet stands 14 inches tall in the cocked position, 24 inches tall in the fired position and will hurl a projectile up to 60 feet. Includes six projectiles and fully illustrated instructions.

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