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Matchlock 20th June 2012 11:23 AM

Unusual Small Crossbow
12 Attachment(s)
I found this older French site

The crossbow seems to be quite small and possibly belonged to a well-known group of 16th c., mostly North Italian, crossbows which characteristically have steel tillers and were presumably used by assassinators, carried hidden beneath a cloak.
Of course it could also be a trap crossbow installed in the open.

They threw steel bolts and, like our sample in discussion, were equiped with a bow-'string' consisting of three steel links.

The tiller of this crossbow however seems to be of wood, with lateral iron reinforcements; the rear end terminates in a scroll pointing downward, which is also often the cas with the said Italian crossbows.
It is accompanied by a goat's foot sapnner.

Any inputs?

So-called 'assassin's' crossbows in the Musée de l'Armée Paris and the Doges' Palace Venice attached lelow, one of them signed in full by the maker and dated 1562.


Atlantia 20th June 2012 11:44 AM

Hi Michael,

Do you remember Eric's:

Matchlock 20th June 2012 11:50 AM

Originally Posted by Atlantia
Hi Michael,

Do you remember Eric's:

Brilliant, Gene,

Thanks a lot!

I rembered posting in it and was searching for that but did not succeed! ;)


Atlantia 20th June 2012 12:24 PM

You're welcome Michael.

All the best

Matchlock 20th June 2012 12:40 PM

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Like the guy who originally posted this I am wondering about the use of the blunderbuss-like mouthed opening of the bolt housing, which also seems to have been equiped with a sort of bead foresight ?!

Any thoughts?

fernando 20th June 2012 02:53 PM

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Resembling a cable thrower device ?


Matchlock 20th June 2012 03:15 PM

Good idea, 'Nando,

I too gathered something like that with my rusted French; it does not seem to make much sense to me though - aiming for throwing a cable from such a short 'barrel'? Wouldn't it unfurl anyway in the air?!


fernando 20th June 2012 04:10 PM

If my humble french doesn't betray me
2 Attachment(s)
The 'barrel' would be the 'deposit/drum' for the rope hank; the orifice to tie the end of the rope.
Such was the suggestion given by the original person; that this could be a fishing crossbow. The interpreation of the member quoted in the (here) posted images is a bit 'distorted'.
I have lurked into this forum; several members giving wings to their imagination, like suggesting an incendiary crossbow, boar hunting crossbow and so on. One of them even made a draft on how it should have worked. The idea of a fishing crossbow with a rope (string) seems to be the more consensual (to them).


Matchlock 20th June 2012 05:55 PM

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Wow, 'Nando,

What a fascinating interpretation!

Thank you so much for enlightening my dense mind! ;)
I am not ashamed to admit that I did not include that option.

On the other hand, I know nothing on fishing.

I remember seeing records on the employment of incendiary arrows with matchlock muskets as late as the second half of the 16th c. though, the illustration of ca. 1570-80 probably of Spanish origin (attached) - a combination of devices which classic weaponry tends to confine to the earliest days of European firearms.

Well, you left me baffled if not flabbergasted. :eek:


fernando 20th June 2012 06:10 PM

Originally Posted by Matchlock
... What a fascinating interpretation! ... Well, you left me baffled if not flabbergasted. :eek:

Oh, i feel compensated just by learning the flabbergast term ... something i would never realize it existed :eek: .

katana 20th June 2012 09:33 PM

Is it just me, but......those hexagonal bolt heads look extremely out of place ....

Kind Regards David

Matchlock 21st June 2012 01:11 PM

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Hi David,

They seems strange indeed and troubled me too at first; somehow 'out of period' (or rather of what we expect to be 'period').

On the other hand, quadratic bolt heads were in use since at least the 15th c. as a small Gothic alcove gun, preserved in virtually 'untouched condition' in my collection, shows.

Similar devices are depicted in Philip Mönch's Kriegsbuch (Book of War Techniqes), 1496, fol. 32r.


fernando 21st June 2012 01:51 PM

Originally Posted by katana
Is it just me, but......those hexagonal bolt heads look extremely out of place ....

Kind Regards David

Touché, David ;) .
This model might well be an early one, but those bolts denounce a reproduction never earlier than mid XIX century ... right ? :o

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