Horseback Archery in the Medieval Age

Horseback Archery in the Medieval Age

medievalforest recurvebowsThere had been a surge of interest in outdoor sports as of late. Some take it slow by simply shooting bows and guns in a forest, some even will go to the extent of hunting big game animals, but to some it is an opportunity to compete like doing horseback archery. But what really is horseback archery. What comes with it and what are its roots. Not a lot of people know. What they see is just simply shooting arrows while you are on a horse. But there’s more to it and it is full of history. Don’t get the wrong impression, not because old people shot compound bows long ago, well, you can do to.

Mounted archery first came out back in the Iron Age, prior to that what people had been using were chariots and was immediately replaced. Mounted archers were first depicted in the Neo Assyrian Empire art from the 9th century BC.

Combating this way need a wide are to run, maneuver, and even flee otherwise you can be easily defeated. Also, light horse archers are also vulnerable to some foot archers and especially crossbowmen, who are in turn are smaller targets for mounted archers and can easily outshoot horsemen. Large armies rarely relied on mounted archers but there are a lot of battles have been won where archers played a leading role towards victory. Even the amateur general Crassus have led a huge army, with poor cavalry against Parthian horse archers and cataphracts and ended in a severe defeat at the battle of Carrhae. The Persian king Darius the Great lead a battle against the skilled mounted Scythians, who for some reason, refused to engage in inclined battle; he conquered and occupied the land but ended up retreating because he lost so much troops against the Scythians. But in the end, he still kept the lands he conquered. A lot of other great leaders used mounted horses in their campaigns like Alexander the Great, the Han dynasty against the Xiongnu nomads, Philip of Macedon, Mongols and Romans.

The fall of this warfare started when it became apparent that when armies started amassing foot archery. Foot archers and crossbowmen can obviously outshoot mounted archers and a man standing alone is a smaller target than a man and a horse together. In the crusades, the Crusaders matched the Turkoman horsemen with their own crossbowmen and the Genoese crossbowmen were in favor against both the Mamluk and Mongol armies. Due to their success, the Chinese armies amassed crossbowmen to battle against the invading nomad armies. Any army who wanted to fight with bows will normally dismount and exchange arrows against the enemy. But dismounted Mongol archers exchange arrows while sitting down when they are dismounted from their horses. Finally, when modern firearms were developed it rendered mounted archers completely obsolete. From the 16th century onwards, different armies started developing mounted soldiers with firearms.  However, the usual arquebus and musket were too big and awkward to use on horseback, firearms such as the carbine had to be invented for this kind of warfare.

Recurve bows are now popular among outdoor enthusiasts. It’s becoming a well-loved weapon used for sports or for hobbies. Experience using a recurve bow by finding the right bow for you. If you are a hunter, whether a professional or an occasional hunter,you can also find recurve bows specifically for hunting.

The Medieval Age and the Crossbow

The Medieval Age and the Crossbow

medievalforest bestcrossbowIf you are really interested in a hobby like archery, you would want to know more about it to feel more connected with your favorite activity, know its history and also gain a better understanding of its origins and ultimately have a better appreciation of the sport. In this topic you will understand more about the crossbow and its medieval roots.

The crossbow has been around for a very long time. It was first used in ancient China. Around 600 BC. Also, ancient Romans and Greeks were also known to have used this weapon. The weapon has been reintroduced to England by William the Conqueror in 1066 and in fact, the right word to use for this weapon is Arbalest. It has a range of 350 to 450 yards but the downside, it can only be shot at a rate of 2 to 3 bolts a minute. Good thing is that the weapon is very easy to operate and requires little to no training and required minimal energy to operate. It was said that during medieval times that a Knight was the most effective and most powerful warrior and said to be worth at least 10 regular foot soldiers, who are dubbed with the lowest esteem and even considered expendable. So, when the crossbow was introduced and placed in the hands of even an untrained soldier, it can be used to injure or even kill a knight in plate armor no matter how good he was, there is no way the knight can stop a speeding bolt heading towards his chest released from a crossbow. Therefore, the crossbow itself, was viewed as an inhuman weapon which required no skill nor training so it has no honor. It became so bad that even the pope intervened and banned the weapon.

Again, the crossbow was a very useful weapon and it could be used by the young, old or even the infirm. The crossbow was effectively utilized through the Middle Ages. Even Richard the Lionheart’s army was effectively equipped with both longbows and crossbows. Ironically, King Richard died of gangrene after he took a crossbow bolt hit at Chalus-Charborl in France on March 26, 1199. Then there was the threat of freelance mercenaries flooding into medieval Europe who are all willing to fight for the person that can pay the most money. So this was one of the main reason behind the Magna Carta of 1215 that sought out to banish all foreign crossbowmen to avoid further violence and conflict in Europe.

The medieval crossbow is basically built with a wooden stock normally made from yew, ash, hazel or elm and after sanding, its coated with glue or varnish. The “bow” itself is made of wood, iron or steel. It has a span of two to three feet depending on the builder or user specifications. Meanwhile, the string is made from hemp because it was the strongest and the one that has the least elastic properly of any material during that time, it also dipped in glue for more protection from wear and tear especially moisture that can damage the string and weaken its structure. The string is pulled using a lever or a crank on a ratchet. Using this mechanical way of drawing the string, the archer can add more tension to the string compared to normal drawing or by muscle strength alone. Therefore, it is ideal for young boys to use or even the elderly and even weakened soldiers. The bolt is placed on a groove on the bow on top of the stock and then just simply pull the trigger when ready.

In our modern days, crossbow shooting is a popular hobby and sport. There are well-known brands when it comes to crossbows, like the Barnett. However, if you want to know other brands, you can read on crossbow reviews.

Shoot a Compound Bow Like a Medieval Warrior

Shoot a Compound Bow Like a Medieval Warrior

medievalforest compoundbowsOne of the most common types of bows in the Far East during the Middle Ages was the compound bow. Although it was considered smaller and shorter than its counterpart, the longbow, it is better and mainly used on horseback as a horseman’s trusted weapon when the Mongols and other nomadic raiders were at war. It works under the concept of that both ends of the bow are bent forward thus forcing the rider / archer to use a much more significant amount of energy and force to pull the string back to its essential point. This bow is also sometimes called a recurve bow since its shape clearly shows that it really curves back to itself and its this design that gave the weapon is incredible stopping power in comparison to other bow’s sizes. Though its range is not as long as the longbow. This trusty bow was used throughout the medieval times by different armies like the Mongol, Tartar and the Turkish light infantry troops. This was also used in Hungary, Russia and Poland. Surprisingly it was still being used by some Cossack troops in the 17th century and some Russian auxiliary cavalry even carried them during the Napoleonic wars. So how to do you shoot this trusty weapon properly. Here is how;

Start shooting in a tree-like stance. Have your feet and shoulder evenly apart. Make sure you are standing facing your side and make sure the shooting line is between your legs.

Now hold your bow on a right angle facing the target. Bring your bow up and make sure your grip on it is not too tight and not too loose either, this will minimize the possibility of injury. Bend your elbow slightly because this will make it a little bit more comfortable and avoid the string to twang on your arm, that will be a bit painful and can even break skin.

You can now draw your bow back. Face towards your target to see what you are doing. This can be difficult at first but do not lose hope, it will become much easier as you progress.

When you have drawn the string completely, find a spot where you can anchor or rest your hand. It does not matter if you are using a release or not, you must find a spot where you can rest your hand when you pull your string back. You always need to remember where this spot is, this will serve as your anchor. Like mentioned, it can be anywhere you are comfortable with, like putting your thumb on your ear or your knuckles resting on your cheek. Again, wherever it feels right and comfortable.

Try to put your nose against the string because this will serve a secondary anchor and will improve your accuracy, it is not fully required but it can help. Do not bend your neck, this will impact your shot and can be uncomfortable. Look down your sight, if you have a peep sight, make use of that.

When you are ready, take a deep breath as you release the arrow or by pulling the trigger and follow through with that motion by moving your hand back if you have a release. Or just let the string slip through your fingers if you don’t have a release.

Compound bows are very popular in the market today. Archery is a popular sport and hobby so, if you’re looking to getting into this sport, there are certain trusted brands you should visit when it comes to compound bows..

Food Intake in the Middle Ages was like the GM Diet

Food Intake in the Middle Ages was like the GM Diet

medievalforest gmdietWhen it comes to dieting using the GM Diet, especially for beginners, it will give you the feeling like you are eating primitive foods. It is like you are back to the medieval times where food is as basic as it gets. Little to no cooked foods, lots of veggies and no meat. You heard that right, no meat and here below is what is on the menu along with how you tackle the diet.

Day one, is also known as adjustment day. Immediately, you need to learn that you will only have the basics and on this day, you can only eat fruits. Any fruit except bananas and just water. No juices. Have apples and a couple of glasses of water as breakfast then move on to other fruits like watermelons at lunch and then more of these during dinner time.

On the second day you can have fresh veggies and greens. You can have them cooked or uncooked, it is fine. You can have all of the veggies and greens you want as well. Make sure you drink lots of water in between meals and during meals. Additionally you can eat baked potatoes, it will be difficult during these times and you will need all help you can get.

Day three is where you try to mix things up and do a little adjustments here and there for your new diet. On the first couple of days you were restricted with either fruits or vegetables, but today you can have both. Eat any kind of fruits you want except bananas and have any kind of vegetables you want except potatoes. Have as much as your heart’s desire but do not forget to drink water. Starting off fruits in the morning and end it with veggies at night is the best way to go.

Fourth day, today you can have your bananas and as a treat, have some milk as well. You can also have some GM soup, but if it is not available then you can have vegetable soup. Water is also important. Again, all fruit in the morning and the soup in the evening. Bananas and milk if you feel like having a treat.

On the fifth day you are free to have as much tomatoes and water. You can also have a cup of steamed rice and cooked veggies along with it. this is a little bit similar to day four but no milk. Maintain your water intake and you can begin eating small amounts of fish. Have it during lunch or dinner.

On your sixth day, have some of that soup again, as much vegetables as you want either cooked or uncooked and some fish and lots of water. This day is going to bring more and more veggies, because you would want to get rid of those glucose you built up with all the fruits you have been having and again, have some vegetable soup.

The grand finale is some brown rice, again some vegetables and fruit juice. This is where you eat some rice with a combo of fruit, veggies and if you want to reward yourself, have some little bit of meat. This is really going to push the extra unneeded fats from your body. There is also an Indian version of the GM Diet.