About Medieval bows
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Bow is the most ancient type of weapon, which was used from time beyond record. There are many evidences from archaeological excavations around the world. Therefore, it is not possible to define, what nation on what continent has started to use it on the hunting and battle fields first.
This light weapon combines lightness and effectiveness. Ease of creating made a bow affordable for all social classes. Until the XVII century, bow was playing an important role almost in all armies of the world due to its usability, firing speed and range. Even in the XX century, hunters could not get along without it neither in savanna, not in Siberian taiga.
The most known English longbows gained popularity thanks to Robin the Hood and his fellows, who were fighting with heavily armed knights. Length of longbow varied from 170 cm to 220 cm. Firing range was about 120 meters. Experienced shooter could fire up to 20 arrows per minute.
Complex curved bows were in use in Europe mostly. Regular troops of hired mounted archers had appeared in France, Italy and Germany from the XIII century. Their light weapons had curves near of handle and recurved shoulders. Straight bows were big-sized, but recurved bows had larger length of bowstring tension – there was the main difference between these models. Recurve bows allowed fast and point shooting at full tilt.
Bows can be divided on the simple, multilayered and composite models by its construction.
Simple bows are made of one type of material – usually, of wood. Thus, English longbows were being manufactured mainly of Spanish or Italian yew-tree. This type of wood has features of multicomponent structure: firm central part and elastic sap. Due to these features, light weapons had good firing capability. Besides of yew-tree, crafters were making simple bows of ash-tree, elm tree or maple.
Multilayered bows are characterized by improved specifications. It was common to harden shoulders of bow with bone or horn pieces on the medieval East. European or Scandinavian bows were reinforced by gluing of different wood layers. That weapon was more durable and could stand the larger tension of bowstring.
Composite bows were being made of wooden base with venal laps, or with bone pieces. Preferably, nizam used such weapon. At the present days, crafters use carbon fiber composite or glass fiber for bows’ manufacture.