The History of the Crossbow

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The History of the Crossbow The crossbow is a weapon of antiquity. There is plausible evidence that the Chinese developed the weapon as early as 1500 BC Surviving examples exist in China from as far back as the third century BC These Han dynasty relics display a great deal of sophistication. The lock (chi) is comprised of a cast bronze box which holds a rotating nut and a two-lever seer and trigger that locks the release in a set position. Roman soldiers captured and ransomed in Sogdiana in central Asia in the first decades of modern reckoning are credited with bringing the technology of the crossbow to the West. Though little remains of the tillers or prods of these early Roman crossbows, at least one nut has been found intact. This nut is cylindrical, with fingers cut into the top to hold a string, and a seer notch cut into the underside. It is center-bored for an axle. The cuts are more severe than on later examples, thus making the nut flatter than those found on more modern pieces. This artifact, with its easily recognizable geometry, proves the technical similarities between these and much later crossbows. One other artifact is a turned knob that is thought to be the handle end of the tiller. Depictions in column carvings and stone reliefs at Solignac France help confirm this speculation. These images show short, carbine-type tillers with lathe turned handles fitted with massive prods, often stylized in keeping with artistic representation of the period. These prods were not likely to be the severe recurves shown in these depictions. They were more probably simple wooden straight bows. It is likely that at least some of these were of simple composite construction, as the horn or horn and wood composite technology was kn... ... middle of paper ... ...d Lodge of Brussles and how the Archduchess Isabella became 'Queen of the Crossbowmen' by her own skill. The Archduchess was invited to the competition of the lodge in 1615, and as was her penchant, she sought entrance into this recreation. After taking aim for a short time, she let fly a bolt at the leather popinjay and pierced it, though it was set as high as a steeple. Amidst the applause she accepted the Kingship of the Confraternity, and was decorated with the honor on the altar of the Sablon Church. She then presented, in token of her kinship to her newfound company, a silk robe heavily embroidered with gold to each member of the company. She also had a lodgehouse built for the company near her palace, in order that she might more actively participate in their meetings, feasts, and competitions. In her honor, a medallion was minted to celebrate the occasion.

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