Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Late Gothic Crossbows and Accouterments (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=7516)

Marcus den toom 2nd March 2014 07:56 PM

Don't be sad my friend most of us do follow your post with great interest, but lack the knowledge (speaking for myself at least :o) to contribute in a challenging way. Be assured their are more than only Fernando and myself who care about your continous flow of wisdom, AMEN :D

Matchlock 2nd March 2014 10:16 PM

Thank you both Nando and Marcus, ;)

I have been waiting for more than half a year now to receive some signalized reply, though ...
Knowing from my own sad health experience, however, I am aware of the fact that literally everythting is possible at any given time, so I can but wish them welll!

m

Micke D 3rd March 2014 08:27 AM

"since good people like Micke D and A. Senefelder evidently have stopped contributing ..."

Thank you for these nice words Michael! I will try to contribute more, I have been busy with a new house, but I think I can find some stuff to show during spring/early summer.

fernando 3rd March 2014 09:47 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micke D
"since good people like Micke D and A. Senefelder evidently have stopped contributing ..."

Thank you for these nice words Michael! I will try to contribute more, I have been busy with a new house, but I think I can find some stuff to show during spring/early summer.

You see ?
What did i tell you ?

Marcus den toom 3rd March 2014 01:40 PM

These are some crosbow bolt heads i found at a current auction. Pictures with lenght from top to bottom:
-the first is 7cm long
-the second is 7,5 cm long
-the third is 15,5cm long
-the fourth is10cm long
-the fifth are 9 and 12 and are supposedly of saxony orrigin
-the sixed are5,5 to 13 cm long and are of norman origin
-the seventh are 8 to 11 cm long














Matchlock 4th March 2014 03:21 PM

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I do hope that David Jaumann ist still around here as this request is for him:

I remember that when you were last planning on attending the Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nürnberg I asked you to take photos of the gun arrow on display at the Kaiserburg where it is labeled as a 'crossbow bolt for a wall crossbow'.

While I was in hopital for the whole of 2013 I noticed you posting new images of Nuremberg Gothic crossbows, so would you please let me know whether you succeeded in taking some of that item as well?


Thanks in advance,
and best,
Michael

Matchlock 11th March 2014 08:17 PM

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A good Nuremberg cranequin, dated 1556.

m

Matchlock 11th March 2014 10:01 PM

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Another, earlier, ca. 1525, with finely engraved bone handle, the gear box struck with a maker's mark, a Gothic trefoil.
The belt hook missing, the cord for attaching the cranequin to the crossbow tiller damaged.

m

Martin Moser 14th March 2014 08:05 AM

Not really a crossbow, but what I hope is interesting information on the effectiveness of a somewhat similar weapon, the Roman scorpio - a torsion powered "bolt thrower":
http://www.planet-schule.de/sf/php/...hp?sendung=8624 (jump to minute 11:00, in German)
The testing took place at the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics (http://www.en.emi.fraunhofer.de/).
With the weapon in the video above we (legio8augusta.de) managed a maximum of 12 bolts fired in 60 secs with a 3 man crew after some hours of scorpio drill over 2 days and a few adjustments on the weapon.

Best,
Martin

Matchlock 14th March 2014 12:11 PM

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As their principle is basically the same as incendiary arrows, I'd like to introduce two extremely rare 16th-17th c. tar lances (German: Pechlanzen) in the Emden Armory.
The incendiary tar mass was set afire and the lance was hurled by some sort of a catapult onto the shingled roofs of a besieged town where the delicate iron arrowheads got stuck, and the blazing tar would splatter around. Additionally, the short barrels are barbed for better contact with the roof shingles.
The saucer-like wooden plate at the bottom was meant to direct the splashing fire right onto the roof.

The measurements are:
overall length 2.25 m
width of the tar saucer 21 cm
weight 3.2 kg


I took these photos in 1987.


m

David Jaumann 16th March 2014 07:30 PM

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Hi Michael,

I´m very sorry for posting the pictures of the gunarrow so late! The quality of the pictures is not as good as I wished. I actually wanted to take some pictures of the gunarrow again, but I´m afraid to say that the wallarmbrust and the gun arrow were not on exhibit anymore when I was there last time. The museum has been closed for a few months and big parts of the display have changed - mostely but not completely in a good way...
Later I somehow forgot about your request.


So here are the pictures of the gunarrow. I will also attach some other pictures of other crossbowbolts and some detailed pictures of the prod of the wallarmbrust.

Best wishes and sorry again,
David

David Jaumann 16th March 2014 07:35 PM

The back section of the gunarrow was made completely round - perfect to fit into a gun barrel. There is no doubt, that it has been constructed for a gun.

David Jaumann 16th March 2014 07:45 PM

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Here you can see a picture of the frontside of the wallarmbrust-prod. It is slightely damaged, so you can perfectely see the different horn layers.
On two other pictures you can quite the knot of the string (gotische Sehne).

David Jaumann 16th March 2014 08:17 PM

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Here some pictures of crossbow bolts exposed in the Kaiserburg Museum. It seems like the back sections of the bolts were thicker at first and then cut thinner (by the crossbowmen?) in order to fit into the nuts of the crossbows.

So there is the question I´m wondering about: Is there evidence that there the distances bethween the two "nutfingers" were standardised in one area or at least at one town? Does someone know about the distance bethween the nutfingers of the crossbows in Hermannsstadt?

Thank you in advance!

Best wishes,
David

Matchlock 16th March 2014 08:31 PM

Hi David, ;)


I cannot tell you how glad I was to see these great images of the gun arrow and the other items! :eek:

Thank you so much, and don't worry about the quality of the photos; I am very familiar with the horribly dim light conditions in the Nuremberg museum displays both in the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle) and the GNM, and I think you did a fantastic job!

Thanks also for confirming that it actually was a gun arrow! As I wrote, a friend of mine and me spied this important item in the drawer of the reserve collection at the GNM about 15 years ago at a meeting of the Gesellschaft für Waffen- und Kostümkunde; at that time, the rear end still retained a small portion of a cord binding which is now sadly gone!


I will ask my experienced friend Ralf, who collects Gothic crossbows and accouterments, about your query concerning the 'nutfingers'. Please allow one or two weeks; as a consequence of his profession, he has to travel a lot, and his spare time is precious.

Diy you take photos of the crossbows in the museum of Sibiu/Hermannstadt, Romania? The local female curator did not allow me to do so because she was still working for her dissertation on those cossbows about three years ago.



With all my very best wishes,
Michael

Micke D 17th March 2014 02:25 PM

Quote:
Another, earlier, ca. 1525, with finely engraved bone handle
Hello again Michael!

On what do you date the cranequin in post #248 to around 1525?
To me it looks more be a late 15th century cranequin because I think the string hooks and the small housing are more 15th than 16th century in design.
It's only the nicely ingraved bone/horn handle that I think is 16th c, but that could be a 16th replacement.

I searched their website but could not find any other photos of it, do you know if there are more photos of it? I would need a photo of the bottom of the housing to date it more exactly.

Micke D 17th March 2014 03:38 PM

Quote:
Is there evidence that there the distances bethween the two "nutfingers" were standardised in one area or at least at one town? Does someone know about the distance bethween the nutfingers of the crossbows in Hermannsstadt?
Hi David!

I 'think' at least towns, maybe even regions, must have had some standards for a lot of military stuff including distance between nut fingers.
I think that Josef Alm mentions this in his book, someone in a 15th c German town gets an order to trim crossbow bolts so they fit between nut fingers.

The Hermannstadt crossbows are a very interesting group of crossbows as they are said to all be an old Zeughaus inventory, and if that's correct, they will be military weapons and should probably have the same distance between the nut fingers.

Matchlock 17th March 2014 04:00 PM

Hi Micke D,


You are right, of course,

That cranequin sold at Nagel auctions in Stuttgart might be as early as ca. 1490-1500. I actually based my dating on the bone handle, and my policy has always been to choose a later date rather than one too early. Decades of experience have shown that certain early criteria have often been found on rather late items, so as a principle I have been looking for the latest, the newest criterion on any piece.

Sadly Nagel had only this one image on their site, and the sale is over.


Best,
Michael

Matchlock 17th March 2014 07:57 PM

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Hi David and Micke,


Concerning the Sibiu/Hermannstadt Gothic crossbows in the Brukenthal-Museum:

You guys seem to know a lot on them - may I ask you what source your knowledge came from?
All I have is the attached b/w photograph from 1934!


Best,
Michael

Micke D 18th March 2014 07:15 AM

The most interesting thing about that photo is, as you know 😉, the rack with crossbows on the right! I guess it is THE rack that they have been hanging on since the 15th or 16th century.

Thank you for the photo Michael, I had not seen it before, only a drawing of the rack with crossbows in Holger Richter's crossbow book.

I will upload what I know about the Hermannstadt crossbows in the evening.

David Jaumann 18th March 2014 05:05 PM

Your´re welcome for the pictures, Michael!

Nice picture!
Like Micke, I did only know the painted version on Holger Richters book.
That´s also where I got the information about the Hermannsstadt crossbows. Unfortunatelly, it´s at my home right now and not here in Innsbruck, where I recently started studying archeology. But I´m also already eager to read Mickes post about the crossbows.


@Micke:
So it really seems that there were some standarts for the distance bethween the nutfingers. I noticed that there are maybe two "types" of bolts.
The first one was probably especially made for one specific crossbow or a special armoury (look at post #25). The rear end is tapered gradually.
The second type could have been a mass product for many armouries, which had to be adjusted in each case. On post #254 you can see that these bolts were probably carved with a knife to adjust them to the nut. That would perfectly match to your answer of my question.
What do you think?

Best wishes,
David

Matchlock 20th March 2014 12:05 AM

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Hi David and Micke,


I asked my friend, who collects 15th-16th century crossbows and all sorts of accouterments concerning a possible standardization of the width of the recess in the center of the nut that we had been discussing.

He told me that his collection comprised 6 (!) crossbows with composite horn bows, 19 cranequins and some 200 quarrels/crossbow bolts from various provenances, including some incredibly rare incendiary arrows.

Please see
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...sbow+collection

His earliest crossbow is the fine and perfectly preserved piece from the Harold L. Peterson colln. (attached here), and it can be dated as early as ca. 1430-40!!!
Interestingly, he thinks that there was no such thing like a standardized space between the nut 'fingers'. He also emphasized that a great number of the bolt shafts in his collection had oval (!) rear ends while the rest was obviously cut to shape to fit that space between the nut 'fingers'. His conclusion is that the quarrel shafts were only cut right before they were about to 'see service'.
And: not all quarrels fit the nuts of any crossbow.


Best,
Michael

Matchlock 20th March 2014 11:35 AM

The Late Gothic Crossbows at the Brukenthal Museum in Sibiu/Hermannstadt, Romania
 
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Hi,


I found this image I posted above in a museum's book on the earliest firearms in the Brukenthal museum, which of course are highly interesting to me. The book is by Elena Roman: Arme de Foc Portative Secolele XV-XVIII, 1981. The photos are of horribly poor quality, and although the one of the weapons room at the back of the book is said to have been taken in 1934, they all look that old.
Some six years ago I made contacts with the museum staff, and getting regular responses was really extremely tough and the uncertainty was almost unbearable although I had made the contact via a high-ranking official in the Romanian Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs. Well, I just hung on and by and by I learned that there was only one way to get what I wanted (good photos). And that way was called money, so I finally tranferred a few hundred euro. After what seemed an eternity, at least half a year or so, I received color (!) photos of their earliest Late Gothic and Early Renaissance firearms.
O.k., so they were in color but that was about all. They were visibly taken with the utmost reluctance, extremely dark and in very low resolution, 270 kB each. The museum staff had agreed to take the images in high resolution before, 5 MB each. In fact, however, I could hardly see anything that was of interest to me. Our agreement was that they would take many detailed close-ups of the lock mechanisms amd the marks on the barrels. Nothing of all that was on what I got. When I reclaimed, the contact broke up immediately and I was told that I would not get photos of the crossbows as a female member of the museum's staff, Anca Nitoi, wanted to do her doctorate on them. So that was it. An average span of time to acquire a Ph.D. is 2-3 years. After six years now I have heard nothing about an academic study on the Sibiu crossbows, and their internet site does not provide any information on museum's publications either.
Believe me, it's experiences like that that just make me comment pejoratively as usual: 'museums :( '

I attached two of those photos of their guns, just for the fun and for you to judge their 'quality'. It is only with a whole lot of imagination that I can tell by these images that the guns are early snap-tinderlocks from the 1520's to 30's.

Also attached find two close-ups of the crossbows, as good as it gets. And, attached at the bottom, in my archives I found a xeroxed copy of a historic photo of the array in the Sibiu weapons hall of ca. 1880, where some Gothic crossbows can be identified.

Finally, Sibiu seems to have split up the display of the crossbows; here is an impression of the Altemberger Haus, which belongs to the Hermannstadt/Brukenthal administration.


Best,
Michael

Matchlock 20th March 2014 11:37 AM

No post

Micke D 21st March 2014 04:20 PM

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Hello Michael!

First you got my hope up for visiting this collection someday :) , but now my hope is almost gone again :( .

It's so sad with that kind of trouble to get some simple photos taken, and that you had to pay for them, and in bad quality at that. But that seems to be the way of many museums around the world; the objects are theirs and theirs alone. So studying the crossbows seems to be hard to arrange.

I found out about these crossbows in Egon Harmuths book , ‘Die Armbrust. He writes somewhere in the book,( I can’t find the page right now), about 24 war crossbows kept at the same place since medieval times. That started my interest and my want to see them some day.

Later I found out that Holger Richter has a chapter about these crossbows, 25 he says, in his book, ‘Die Hornbogenarmbrust’. Many of the bows covered with hunting designs and the coat of arms of Matthias Corvinus, the king of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia, who died in Vienna in 1490.

I have also found an article by Dr Julius Bielz from 1934, but sadly the copy is more or less as bad as your photo.

Micke D 21st March 2014 04:37 PM

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These two photos are of the crossbows on display at the Brukenthal Museum. They were taken by a Romanian guy who is into 15th c re-enactment and was shown at The Armour Archive a few years ago.

Matchlock 21st March 2014 05:24 PM

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Micke D
These two photos are of the crossbows on display at the Brukenthal Museum. They were taken by a Romanian guy who is into 15th c re-enactment and was shown at The Armour Archive a few years ago.




Hi Micke,


Thank you so much indeed for these documents!

I photoshoped the photos a bit, et voilà, one can at least see some details. The main problem seems to be that they were taken in low resolution.

I'm trying to talk my friend who is totally into Gothic crossbows into flying to Sibiu and taking pictures himself. Sadly, my bad health does not allow me to accompany him and do my own research on their earliest arquebuses. I will try and renew our old contact and see what actually is possible. After all, Romania is in the EU now and gets a whole lot of money from Germany. They will not want to hear of that but I'm going to tell them the facts anyway. I remember paying 400 euro (about 500 USD) six years ago, and you have seen what 'quality' the stuff was I got. That was not the kind of jokes that make me laugh.

Just a few words on Holger Richter. He is by no means the crossbow enthusiast that Harmuth was indeed. And he did not see the Sibiu crosbows.


With my very best wishes,
Michael

Matchlock 21st March 2014 06:03 PM

Having just read the 1934 essay by Julius Bielz on the Hermannstadt crossbows, I would like to know whether there is someone interested in a translation. Although this would be some amount of work I would do it as there are a number of invaluable quotations from historic sources, including workshops etc., plus information on where and when these crossbows were made. He also gives a very detailed description and measurements of the best preserved sample.

I have also been informed that a large number of those originally 25 crossbows that Bielz mentions are no longer in Sibiu but have been in the National Museum Budapest, Hungary, for at least 20 years when they were sent there for a special historic exhibition. Why they were not returned I do not know. In his essay, Bielz mentions the fact that 8 Gothic crossbows from Hermannstadt were already in the Budapest museum by 1934.


m

Micke D 21st March 2014 07:37 PM

If you have the time and eye for it, please do it!!! :D

Micke D 22nd March 2014 12:06 PM

Quote:
I have also been informed that a large number of those originally 25 crossbows that Bielz mentions are no longer in Sibiu but have been in the National Museum Budapest, Hungary, for at least 20 years when they were sent there for a special historic exhibition. Why they were not returned I do not know. In his essay, Bielz mentions the fact that 8 Gothic crossbows from Hermannstadt were already in the Budapest museum by 1934.
Very interesting information Michael!

Richter mentions that, “Acht gleichartige Waffen besitzt das Ungarische Nationalmuseum in Budapest”, but I thought that that was eight DIFFERENT weapons. That’s how it goes when you can’t read the Bielz text correctly.

Hungary is maybe a bit easier to visit, I know a guy that know a guy that’s supposed to work at either the Military Museum or National Museum.


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