Crossbow > Chapter 5
> Range of the Medieval Crossbow
So much for the triumph of the Infidels and the humiliation of Christendom.
To Sir Thos. Frandland Bt., M.P.
I found the following in a manuscript notebook of 1798 describing feats
and incidents of archery, collected by the recipient of the above letter.
'Records of Turkish archery procured
in 1797 from Constantinople by Sir Robert Ainslie, at the request of Sir
Joseph Banks, and translated by Sir Robert Ainslie's interpreter.'
' The Turks still have detachments of archers in their armies, merely
not to deviate from ancient custom, for, in Turkey, archery is now merely
regarded as an amusing exercise that is to this day practised by all ranks
of the people.
The Ottoman emperors, with their court, often enjoy the diversion of
archery in public, and there is an extensive piece of ground allotted to
This place is upon an eminence in the suburbs of the city of Constantinople,
and commands an extensive view of the town and harbour. It is called Ok
Meydan, or the Place of the Arrow. The ground mentioned is covered with
marble pillars erected in honour of those archers who have succeeded in
shooting arrows to any remarkable distance. Each pillar is inscribed with
the name of the person whose dexterity it records, together with some complimentary
verses to him, and the exact range which he attained with his flight arrow.
The Ottoman emperors, from ancient times, have been always supposed
to live by their manual labour, and in consequence of this supposition
they have each learnt some art or profession, most of them having preferred
the art of making bows and arrows.
The present emperor was bound apprentice to the trade of archery, and
at the time he was received as a master in this trade, he gave on different
occasions very splendid public entertainments at the Ok Meydan, where the
State tents were pitched for him and his court.
The Tartar bows are preferable to those manufactured in Turkey, as the
former are the larger and stronger, though there is now an extensive factory
for implements of archery in Constantinople, called Ok Zilar, or the place
of the Arrow-makers.
The Turkish bow is formed of a
very strong elastic wood. One side of the bow is covered with a composition
made chiefly of buffalo horn melted down ; this is smoothed with a file
to a proper shape, and forms the concave side of the bow when it is bent.
> Chapter 5 > Range
of the Medieval Crossbow > p.28
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