Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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Matchlock 19th June 2012 01:37 PM

Sorry this was your last chance.

Once again your choice of words has gotten uunecessarily aggressive and it is obviously my person which you have chosen as a target, instead of the topic.

You are always getting very personal, which means insulting. As you have been told here by others before you are unable to differentiate between discussion and personal aggression. This ability though is the main prerequisite for anybody trying to convey special knowledge in a field where the easy-to-grasp black and white instances are rare but where delicate shadings in between are manifold.

I do not believe in absolute expertise; what I believe in is studying together by sharing and discoursing on a commonly accepted friendly level. I have always seen our forum as an equitable community rather than a stage for individual grandstanding.
Go on believing you are the best.

From now on I will completely ignore your posts.

fernando 19th June 2012 05:34 PM

Accusations are taking over peaceful perspectives.
Thread now locked, at least temporarily.

Andrew 19th June 2012 06:30 PM

Originally Posted by Matchlock
From now on I will completely ignore your posts.

This is a good idea. Explore the "ignore" function, please. Both of you. Today.

fernando 20th June 2012 04:50 PM

After having proceeded with some backstage adjustments connected with inconvenient participation, it was decided to reopen this thread ... essentially due to its added value.
Thank you.

Matchlock 28th June 2012 07:53 PM

An Unusually Fine Late Gothic Crossbow Windlass, ca. 1500-20
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The German term is Seilwinde.

Of wrought iron, inlaid with two engraved copper-alloy panels depicting St. George Slaying the Dagon and St. Genevičve of Brabant respectively;
the wooden crank handles missing.


- Christie's, April 17, 1988 (top attachment)
- Czerny's, October 17, 2008.


David Jaumann 29th June 2012 09:12 AM

Thatīs a very interesting windlass, Matchlock!
According to my knowledge, windlasses were often used in England (an other name for it is "englische Winde"), in the Flanders, and also in Italy. I have seen several of them in the dogeīs palace in Venice. I suppose that all crossbows spanned with windlasses had rectangular stocks.
In the Kaiserburg of Nuremberg, there is a big "Wallarmbrust" of the 14th century, which also has a windlass on the stock.

There is a second crossbow from the late 15th century exposed in Nuremberg, which has a windlass on its stock. But I do think that this crossbow doesnīt match together with a windlass because it has a round stock and also a "Windknebel". It means, that it probably was spanned with a cranequin.
Besides that, this mentioned crossbow is a very unusual one! Its stock is, like already said, typical for the late 15th century. But the trigger has a ball on the back end and the prod is also very unusual for the late 15th century. It is a typical 14th or early 15th century flat prod with a strong reflex and the ends are bent foreward.
Next week, I will be in Nuremberg. I can take some photos of this crossbow if you want!

Do you think that there were german crossbows at all (apart from a "Wallarmbrust"), which had rectangular stocks and which were spanned with windlasses?

best wishes,


Matchlock 29th June 2012 11:29 AM

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Hi David,

I know of only one wall crossow in the Nuremberg Imperial Castle exhibited together with a windlass and I posted it in post # 3 in this thread (and repeated down here).
I'd like to add that the rear end of its tiller is now incomplete and was originally longer.

I would be very grateful though if you could take good and detailed images of the 14th c. gun arrow, with iron fletchings (!), displayed inaptly to the left side of the wall crosswbow, asserting it belonged to it - which of course is rubbish!
When looking closely at the rear end of the arrow you will see that it clearly tapers; this is exactly the place where formerly a cord binding was attached, for tight contact with the gun's muzzle!
I remember spotting that very same gun arrow when it was still in a drawer in the reserve collection of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, some 25 years ago; I pointed out that it actually was a gun arrow, and that its rear end still retained a small remainder of cord attached! The guy in charge rejected my theory, and when I next saw that arrow the cord was gone! ...

This sensational gun arrow has not been brought to anybody's attention so far although it is in much better condition than the famous ones in Burg Eltz!

It can be seen in the photos in post # 3 and attached below!

I would also be glad to see the second Nuremberg crossbow you mentioned, the tiller fitted with lugs for a cranequin, and now shown together with a windlass; please take some photos!

And yes, I too am convinced that windlasses were used in combination with crossbows with rectangular tillers. I cannot remember noticing it ...

Btw, I found out that I actually presented this fine windlass in post no. # 2; the images are better this time though.

Best wishes in return,

Matchlock 29th June 2012 07:47 PM

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A depiction of a Late Gothic crossbow with composite horn bow painted with a lozenge pattern; from an altar piece by Hans Pleydenwurff, 1468-75, now preserved in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nuremberg.

Close-up photos by the author.


David Jaumann 30th June 2012 08:41 PM

Hi Michael!

I know at least a part of the picture you postet! The guard with the crossbow is shown in the book "Die Hornbogenarmbrust". I will have a look at it next week :)

Itīs really aweful, that this guy from the museum removed the cord from the gun arrow! It sounds to me, as if he knew that your theory is right. Probably, he was to proud to admit it! I personally donīt know very much about early guns yet, but your view sounds very likely to me! The cord prevents the pressure from the explosion from escaping. Furthermore, the back end of this gun arrow is round, which is not the right shape for fitting into a crossbow nut.

I will definately take some pictures of the gun arrow and the crossbow I mentioned ! But I canīt promise that they will be really sharp, becaue my camera sometimes has problems in darker rooms.



David Jaumann 1st July 2012 08:08 AM

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I have found a view good pictures of crossbow from Ulrich V.
It is a really unique crossbow, because it is much more decorated than the usual ones of the 15th century. Iīm also very much astonished that there are cristian and jewish doxologies on it . What meaning could it have?

There are even more peculiarities!
I have never seen a crossbow with such a short bow compared to the draw length. And I donīt know any other crossbow with a composite prod, which has a reinforced nut! Having examined the pictures, Iīm almost certain that the stock was made of yew wood!

David Jaumann 1st July 2012 08:11 AM

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some more pictures.

Matchlock 1st July 2012 09:57 AM

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Hi David,

Thanks for the additional images of the crossbow of Duke Ulrich of Württemberg dated 1460, which I introduced in post # 20.
It is preserved in the Met and is very unusual indeed in various respects.

The Met's description states that the bow does not belong originally, accounting for its small width, as well as the nut; it also gives some clues regarding the interpretation of the Hebrew inscription.

Yew wood was employed for making longbows for arrows, so your identification of the tiller being of yew wood is remarkable.


Matchlock 1st July 2012 07:22 PM

For a comprehensive treatise on gun arrows 1330-1570, see


fernando 16th September 2012 11:32 AM

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A (Portuguese soldier) figure with a crossbow, Benin Kingdom, mid XVI-XVII century (British Museum).
These bronze plates depicting Portuguese figures appeared after the exploring of the Kingdom in the end XV century. Benin was already established as a center for the casting of artworks in brass.
During this period, the figures of Portuguese soldiers and traders - recognizable for their long hair, aquiline noses and European dress - begin to appear in a variety of royal works, including plaques that decorated the pillars of Oba's (King's) palace.


Matchlock 16th September 2012 02:00 PM

Thank you, 'Nando,

For adding these facts hitherto unknown to me!


Matchlock 26th September 2012 04:08 PM

1483: Gothic Bows Throwing Incendiary Arrows Against Hackbuts!
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At least we may assume these are incendiary arrows. I realize they rather look as if a sheet of paper with the the notice 'Surrender!' is wrapped around the tips - but how much sense does that make?! :shrug:

From Diebold Schilling: Berne Chronicle, Switzerland, 1483; Siege of a town.

By the early 16th c., firearms had completely taken over in wafare.


Glaive203 1st December 2012 09:06 PM

Originally Posted by Matchlock
Preserved at the City museum of Cologne, Germany.

In the first picture, the bow is of course inversed; this had been corrected by the time the second picture was taken.

The open curve of the composite bow is due to not having had a string attached for hundreds of years.

The detached bow of a huge wall crossbow also at the Cologne museum.


This is a false statement. Any horn bow or horn lath pulls forward like that when unstrung, even completely new ones.

fernando 2nd December 2012 09:02 PM

Originally Posted by Glaive203
... This is a false statement...

What a vivid way to make your point, Glaive203. Remarkably over an observation posted four years ago.

David Jaumann 18th January 2013 01:16 PM

Hello together!

It has been a while since I posted the last time!
I have been to Nuremberg and I took the promised pictures of the crossbows exposed in the "Germanisches Nationalmuseum".

The first crossbow was made in about 1475. The bow seems to be strong (500kg of drawweight is possible). Therefore I was quite astonished that the trigger is so short, even though the lock is a one-axle lock mechanism. How is it possible to pull the trigger without much effort? It must be much easyer to pull the long trigger of a 14th or early 15th century crossbow with a weaker prod, so were the crossbowmakers during the late 15th century able to construct more efficient one axle-lock mechanisms than before?

The second late 15th century crossbow is the one with the obsolete stong reflex horn and sinew prod and the weird trigger. I have had an exact look at it and it seems to me that the bow and the trigger were not originaly attached to the stock. The prod seems to be to broad for the stock and the belly is too round to fit exactelly. A bow with theses dimensions must have a draw weight of much more than 500kgs, but the stock seems to be very thin and fragile (much thinner than the stock of the first crossbow). The stock has several quite dark horn inlays that look simular to the inlays shown in "Die Hornbogenarmbrust" (Abb. 91). The only inlay with a different colour is on the lower side where the unusual trigger is located. I have the impression that the original horn inlay was removed in order to fit in the seccond trigger. What do you think?

Best wishes,

David Jaumann 18th January 2013 01:44 PM

Iīm sorry... something with reducing the sice of the pictures didnīt work! I will post the pictures as soon as I have a soluion!

fernando 18th January 2013 04:39 PM

Originally Posted by David Jaumann
Iīm sorry... something with reducing the sice of the pictures didnīt work! I will post the pictures as soon as I have a soluion!

If you wish, you may send them to me for resizing and posting, David :)

David Jaumann 20th January 2013 10:34 AM

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David Jaumann 20th January 2013 10:36 AM

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more pictures...

David Jaumann 20th January 2013 10:41 AM

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more pictures...

David Jaumann 20th January 2013 10:46 AM

Thanks for your offer Fernando!
I have installed a suitable program, so I was able to reduce the sice of the pictures by myself! But I can send you some of the unreduced pictures if you want! The problem is that I can only send five pictures with one email!

best wishes,

fernando 20th January 2013 12:07 PM

Great pictures, David.
No need to email them to me.
Appreciating these ones is quite satisfactory :cool:

David Jaumann 20th January 2013 05:25 PM

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Thank you!

I forgot some pictures! Here you can see that the prod actually doesnīt fit to the stock. What do you think about the trigger?

fernando 21st January 2013 03:28 PM

I wish i knew enough to comment on that, David :o .
The more frequent house expert (Matchlock) will be absent for a while; no doubt when he comes back he will have a lot to post in order to update all his thread issues.
However we have more members who are also comfortably within this area; let's hope they chime in with their comments.


Micke D 23rd January 2013 07:18 AM

I will try to write something about these crossbows, before the weekend when I have some time over.

fernando 23rd January 2013 08:21 AM

Originally Posted by Micke D
I will try to write something about these crossbows, before the weekend when I have some time over.


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