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Old 29th September 2017, 09:20 AM   #1
Johan van Zyl
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Default Roman arrowheads or not

Dear forum friends, I got this brass/copper object from an antique dealer friend, who suggested it to be a Roman arrow head. I do not know how trustworthy this suggestion is. Please see the pics, with a ballpoint pen for scale.

I gently probed the crud from the hole, and the third pic shows the hole more clearly. If this is a Roman arrow head, I fail to see how it could have been firmly affixed to the shaft...?

Please let me know what you think.

Johan
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Old 29th September 2017, 12:05 PM   #2
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Johan,

yes your arrow-head looks like of greek or roman origin.

Here are some examples of authentic greek-roman arrow-heads.


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Old 30th September 2017, 09:56 AM   #3
Johan van Zyl
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Thank you, Roland. I am relieved.

Looking at your picture, I get the feeling that these arrowheads would have remained in the enemy's body after the arrow had struck, and that "medical assistance" afterwards would have included digging the arrowhead out.

With the attachment of the shaft to the arrowhead as flimsy as it looks, if the arrow is extracted, the head would stay behind, I think.

I suppose some collector or student of ancient history would have reconstructed such a Greek-Roman arrow by now, to show the complete item? The shaft would have to be sharpened for insertion into the little hole in the arrowhead. Maybe they used some natural glue or resin.

Just wondering...
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Old 30th September 2017, 10:04 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johan van Zyl
Thank you, Roland. I am relieved.

Looking at your picture, I get the feeling that these arrowheads would have remained in the enemy's body after the arrow had struck, and that "medical assistance" afterwards would have included digging the arrowhead out.

With the attachment of the shaft to the arrowhead as flimsy as it looks, if the arrow is extracted, the head would stay behind, I think.

I suppose some collector or student of ancient history would have reconstructed such a Greek-Roman arrow by now, to show the complete item? The shaft would have to be sharpened for insertion into the little hole in the arrowhead. Maybe they used some natural glue or resin.

Just wondering...


I had exactly the same thoughts. Also, I wonder if the ridges on the arrow head are meant to act like "fins" to help stabilize the arrow during its flight, or perhaps enhance its armour piercing properties?
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Old 30th September 2017, 02:46 PM   #5
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Victrix, I think the ridges are there not to cut the flesh, like in modern arrowheads, because they seem to have been made dull, even when new. I think they are there to increase the diameter of the head to maximize wound entry size, at the same time to increase the weight of the head marginally so that the arrow has mass and can travel far enough.

I like what you say about the armour-piercing properties, but do not agree (yet) that the ridges could act as stabilizing fins. But then, I have been known to err, big time!

Johan
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Old 30th September 2017, 07:09 PM   #6
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there's a ton of these coming from ukraine on ebay. lots of videos on how to cast your own, and they're readily available nice and shiny rather than aged. i'd be leery of any coming from there, or the balkans, another source of cheap bronze 'antiques' cast from mouldings of originals, warts and all. be very careful of any with tiny holes for arrow shafts like those above. someone hasn't bothered to drill out the sockets. and war arrows could have half- inch (12.5mm) shafts.

i have an friend in canada that makes arrows with the modern versions of these and shoots them from his horse-bow. (new cast ones below)

the design of the points was used from ancient times, and ones much like these in steel were on the mary rose of henry 8th, for use with their 100lb+ longbows. (also illustrated below)

they had sharp edges to widen the wound channel. modern hunters use a trilobed head for the same reason. it also is better for going thru shoulder blade or a rib cage, where a broad arrow head perpendicular to the run of the ribs might need to cut thru 2 ribs to go thru. quite easy to sharpen too, just rub them on a flat rock 2 edges at the same time. a sharp 60 degree edge will cut as well as a 25. pine resin glue works fine to hold them on the tapered ends.
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Old 30th September 2017, 09:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
there's a ton of these coming from ukraine on ebay. lots of videos on how to cast your own, and they're readily available nice and shiny rather than aged. i'd be leery of any coming from there, or the balkans, another source of cheap bronze 'antiques' cast from mouldings of originals, warts and all. be very careful of any with tiny holes for arrow shafts like those above. someone hasn't bothered to drill out the sockets. and war arrows could have half- inch (12.5mm) shafts.

i have an friend in canada that makes arrows with the modern versions of these and shoots them from his horse-bow. (new cast ones below)

the design of the points was used from ancient times, and ones much like these in steel were on the mary rose of henry 8th, for use with their 100lb+ longbows. (also illustrated below)

they had sharp edges to widen the wound channel. modern hunters use a trilobed head for the same reason. it also is better for going thru shoulder blade or a rib cage, where a broad arrow head perpendicular to the run of the ribs might need to cut thru 2 ribs to go thru. quite easy to sharpen too, just rub them on a flat rock 2 edges at the same time. a sharp 60 degree edge will cut as well as a 25. pine resin glue works fine to hold them on the tapered ends.


Amazing. In this website you learn something new every day!
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Old 1st October 2017, 11:51 AM   #8
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I definitely second what you say, Victrix! Thank you to Kronckew for this extra information.

When I first read of the spectacular finds on the Mary Rose wreck, I found myself more interested in the old longbows than in new-fangled bows with wheels & ratchets & levers! Just think how strong those old bowmen must have been to pull 80-100lbs.

I wonder how the bows of the Romans/Greeks compare to the Mary Rose longbows...

Johan
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Old 1st October 2017, 03:08 PM   #9
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i gather they were a LOT weaker. probably at least half. greeks and early romans were not very inclined to archers, preferring slings and javelins for missile weapons, romans hired archers after their disasters with the parthian horse and these had better recurved bows, but still nowhere near the english bows. they had a few on exhibit that were in the 120-150 lb. range. they also had one setr up in the museum at portsmouth you could try to draw. try being the operative word. i could only draw it a few inches.

skeletons of english archers showed massive bone structures developed by years of practice and massive muscle attachments to match. tudor men were required by law to practice archery on sunday after church, and frivolities like football were forbidden. many of the open parks north of central london and just outside the old walls were actually set aside for archery. archers in wartime were well paid too, if they met the required standard.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 10:46 AM   #10
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This is fascinating stuff, Kronckew! I have previously done some reading up on skeletal muscle attachments, especially pertaining to archeological excavations. The forensics behind this field of study is gripping.

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Old 2nd October 2017, 04:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johan van Zyl
This is fascinating stuff, Kronckew! I have previously done some reading up on skeletal muscle attachments, especially pertaining to archeological excavations. The forensics behind this field of study is gripping.

Johan


you may enjoy this article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencet...tified-RSI.html
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Old 3rd October 2017, 03:15 PM   #12
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Very interesting indeed! Thanks for the link!

Johan
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Old 4th October 2017, 03:21 PM   #13
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Kronckew has it exactly right;

The English archers of the Tudor period must have looked like Quasimodo with their great muscles all geared to draw such bows.
Simon Stanley can draw and shoot a bow of 190 lbs, but doesn't like to I gather, because it Hurts!
170 lbs he can draw all day.

Always been interested in the old longbows, Have two home-mades half tillered at present, and 80 lbs pull at half draw. Need to work on them more as I'm a weed compared to our ancestors!
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Old 4th October 2017, 04:12 PM   #14
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simon doesn't look like quasimodo i'd not like to get a punch from him tho.

see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KR0pvYkZy7A

that also answers the question about a logbow penetration of period armour, tho the steel plate over ballistic putty didn't have a layer of gambeson over it.
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Old 7th October 2017, 03:34 PM   #15
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Quite right about Simon, Kronckew.

Thanks for the link. Had only seen him in Rob't Hardy's book.

I gather though, that some skeletal finds of bowmen, (How they know that for sure I do not know) show twisting of the spine through unequal muscle build -up.
This possibly because of starting to use the bow so young?
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Old 7th October 2017, 03:59 PM   #16
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i suspect that both upper arms were roughly in line and in compression and the force on both were equal (newton's 3rd law) the spine would remain fairly normal, unless they were also engaged on other heavy tasks that bent them.

heck, richard the third had a bent spine and was a noted warrior and swordsman. as his enemies won, he's had a bad press ever since. the victors write the histories after all...
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Old 8th October 2017, 11:27 PM   #17
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Kronckew,

Did you notice how all the peasants on the Beaux tapestry have hunch backs? The nobles are all straight, but peasants all bent!
That sounds about right;
Old English saying, "hard work never killed anyone,....just bent them into funny shapes". (!)

Had heard that Richard 111 hadn't a hunch back, but the "bad press" gave him one! (?)
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Old 9th October 2017, 07:23 AM   #18
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nah, there are a lot of bent over warriors and nobles as well, they're all drawn a bit lump & bumpy. the bent over guys all seem to be doing something they'd be bent over for in any case. the archers especially seem pretty upright, tho they are using the weaker and less accurate chest draw and the bows look slightly recurved. peasants were of course shown as 'humble' and would bow for their lords and not look them in the face. the tapestry was of course woven by the perfidious french who should have lost . (the brits got back at them at poiters,crecy and agincourt tho)

...and here is R3's skellyton as found. he did have bad press from the winners, and kowtowing period writers who knew which side their bread was buttered on. his spine was badly bent but from side to side, with not much hump, he was as i mentioned, a noted and accomplished swordsman. in the end he was hacked down by a pole arm, a poll axe or halberd.

see also: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/110...n-prove-it.html
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Old 9th October 2017, 03:47 PM   #19
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Evidence for bent peasants;

After 50-odd years of farming back in the old dart and here in Canada, I'm getting a bit bent!

LOL & Rest my case. :-)
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