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> Range of the Medieval Crossbow
The Range of the Medieval Crossbow
The convex side is plain wood, painted, varnished and richly gilt. The
bow is only bent when it is about to be used, and then it is bent with
much caution, the heat of fire being always first employed to make it flexible
The Turkish bow will penetrate,
with an ordinary arrow, a half-inch plank at over 100 yards, the head and
shaft of the arrow passing for three or four inches through the wood.
Translations of the inscriptions on some of the marble columns at
the Ok Meydan (Place of the Arrow), which were erected in honour of those
who have excelled in archery.
1. Ak Siraly Mustapha Aga shot two arrows both of which travelled to
a distance of 625 yards.
2. Omer Aga shot an arrow to a distance of 628 yards.
3. Seid Muhammed Effendy, son-in-law of Sherbetzy Zade
4. Sultan Murad 685 yards.
5. Hagy Muhammed Aga shot an arrow 729 yards.
6. Muhammed Ashur Effendy shot an arrow which fixed in the ground at
7. Ahmed Aga, a gentleman of the Seraglio under Sultan Suleiman the
Legislator, shot an arrow 760 yards.
8. Pashaw Oglee Mehmed shot an arrow 762 yards.
9. The present Grand Admiral Husseir Pashaw shot an arrow which drove
into the ground at 764 yards.
10. Pilad Aga, Treasurer to Hallib Pashaw 805 yards.
11. Hallib Aga 810 yards.
12. The reigning Emperor Sultan Selim shot an arrow which drove into
the ground at a distance of 838 yards.
The Sultan shot a second arrow to near the same distance.'
In the translation of the above from the Turkish language, the feet
and inches are also given for each shot, but these I have omitted as unnecessary.
In the manuscript, the interpreter remarks that the measurements of
the distances on the marble columns at Ok Meydan are in pikes, the pike
being a Turkish measure of a little over two feet, easily convertible into
English yards, feet and inches.
It will be observed that the longest flight recorded on the columns
selected for quotation is 838 yards, and the shortest, 625 yards. Though
these distances are almost too extraordinary to be true, they corroborate
in some measure the statement made in 1795 by the secretary of the Turkish
ambassador, p. 27.
> Chapter 5 > Range
of the Medieval Crossbow > p.29
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