' A little iron ring at the head of the stock is called the " etrivo."
These are the horn and iron parts of this weapon, excepting the steel bow
and the " gafa " for bending it.1
' To complete the crossbow it should possess the following qualities
' It should be safe for the face of him who shoots it, so that it may
not hurt him. It should be easy to discharge and sure not to go off before
its time. The arrows should fly straight, for in this lies the great excellence
of a crossbow and its certainty and good aim. When the arrow does not go
straight but flies aside or in a sinuous way, it is not likely to reach
its mark, but when it flies straight all goes well.
' We will now mention the causes which prevent the arrow from flying
'When the bow is not well placed in the stock. If the arms of the bow
on either side of the stock are not level, but one arm is longer on one
side of the stock than it is on the other side, then the force of the bow
is not equal, because the arm which is longer overcomes the other arm and
the arrow cannot go straight 2 . This fault in a crossbow is
called "alti-bajo."3 It may be remedied by replacing the bow
evenly in the stock, for if the arms of the bow are not of the same length,
by the thickness of a thread on each side of the stock, it will fare ill
with the arrow with which the crossbow is loaded.
' Some crossbows are unruly and injure him who shoots with them. This
is caused in two ways. The principal one is, that the bow has too much
steel and the stock too little wood, so the excessive strength of the steel
overbears the wood and causes the stock to recoil upon the face, whereby
there is wounding and offence. It should be seen, therefore, that the stock
is of the same weight as the steel bow. The bow should not be unruly or
too strong in its discharge but rather working quietly than striving with
all its might, for this latter causes recoil or kick. If there be no inequality
in these things, the crossbow is safe and the man is happy when he shoots
' When all these matters are adjusted, the crossbow may still be unruly
from the bow being loose in the stock, which causes much recoil when the
arrow is shot off. This is called " tener dientes " or to have teeth.'
' There are also two other reasons why a crossbow may shoot its arrows
badly. The first is, that the string of the bow is placed too tight against
1 The Construction of the Crossbow, pp. 92
to 128, will elucidate del Espinar's description of the parts of the Spanish
weapon of chase. The ' Etrivo' or small iron ring at the fore-end of the
cranequin crossbow, was attached to the stock as a means of suspending
the crossbow to a hook in a wall or, in the case of mounted crossbowmen,
to a metal loop fixed in the saddle.
2 The author here gives a lengthy description
of how to measure with a thread the centre of the bow as applied to the
centre of the stock.
3 ' Ups and downs.'
4 Anglice, ' To set the teeth on edge.