|each Genoese who was captured by the enemy was deprived of an eye and
an arm, in revenge for the loss of life inflicted by his crossbow.'
The composite bow, as applied to the crossbow, was of rather clumsy
appearance, and, unless closely examined, might easily be mistaken for
a bow of wood in one piece. The composite bow was, however, light, elastic
and fairly powerful, far more so than a bow of solid wood, and before the
Fig. 26. - A fifteenth Century Crossbow with
a Composite Bow which was bent by a Cranequin (German)
days of longbows and steel crossbows, it was probably an effective weapon
These composite bows may be recognised in illustrated manuscripts by
their short length,1 great thickness, and smooth outlines, by
the presence of a stirrup on the fore-end of the stock in the earlier weapons,
and especially by
1 The composite bow of a crossbow was sometimes
as much as 2 1/2 in. wide and 1 1/2 in. thick, though in length seldom
over 2 ft. 5 in., more often 2 ft. 3 in. or 2 ft. 4 in.