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Thread: Composite bows in Serbia and Croatia

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    phoenix[illusion]'s Avatar Palman Bracht
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    Default Composite bows in Serbia and Croatia

    I think that there was thread like this.
    anyways, i wanted to know what do you think about it. did croats and serbs used composite bows?
    in my opinion, they did, cause it is written by one historians that serbians were the great horse archers while aiding byzanitnes. well, also some historians agree that early medieval serbian vlastela and cavalrymen used spear as primary weapon while mounted, while bow as secondary (later to abandoned this style cause of heavy armor). so, in fact, horse archers were mainly using composite bow. also consider that byzantines had composite bows, and serbs were influenced by them, and not to talk about avars, from which could both serbs and croats learn skill of making composite bows.
    here's some serbian monastery paintings, read captions
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    From Serbian Patriarchy in Serbia, XIV century. Warrior Saint called St. Prokopije (I think it's a typical Avar type bow, beautifully represented on the painting)



    Serbian Warrior saint, St. Nikita. XIV century. Monastery at Čučale near Skopje, Macedonia. Looks like a version, or the artist's interpretation, of the Magyar bow. Even the quiver is very similar)



    Warrior saint Dejan, Veluće, Serbia. End of XIV century. True representation of the crab-leg bow, I think it's purest shape, but you can see the artist's mistake: the string is on the wrong side of the siyah.



    Warrior Saint, Monastery of Manasija, Serbia. Beginning of the XV century. Looks like an altered crab-leg bow, with strong stylization but it could be a Turkish infantry bow style,


    also there is a stone relief in Trogir from 13th century, croatian source
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    so what is your opinion? also, croatian guys, please post some more information about composite bow in croatia if you have

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    Hrobatos's Avatar Auxiliarius
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    Default Re: Composite bows in Serbia and Croatia

    I am quite certain that Croats used composite bows, or atleast bows that looked like composite bows, but Croats never used mounted bowmen
    except during 9 century in Panonnia as matija would point out if I didnt

    but if you would go trough pics of italians in heath's and osprey's books you may notice that italians also have such bows, which either are or atleas look like composite bows

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    AnthoniusII's Avatar Μέγαc Dομέστικοc
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    Default Re: Composite bows in Serbia and Croatia

    Serbians were influenced heavily from Romans (byzantines) that used composite bows but also from Magyars and Bulgarians that had a long tradition to that kind of weapon.
    Serbian Loricati of 13th century still reminded byzantine cavalarii of 11th century ussing bows ,lances and swords the same time byzantines had abandoned that kind of expiriend warrior type.
    Serbian cavalarius/loricatus of 13th century.
    Observ the simularities of earlier byzantine troops but also more recent additions like his helmet and leaf shield.

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    Nenadovcanin's Avatar Sukauto
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    Default Re: Composite bows in Serbia and Croatia

    The strong presence of composite bows on Balkan is a fact. Byzantines adopted it from the east. All of nomadic tribes used them in their wars through Europe. Slavs used them, in the time when they served the Avars. Procopius and Pseudo-Maurice both clearly point out Slavic skills in ambushes and archery. I should only point out one thing, small bow made from a single peace of rib of an ox is also often used. Unfortunately, I am not able to find any picture, but Military Museum in Belgrade has few peaces on display.
    I myself am excellent shot with longbow, but shooting with mongol type, composite bow is pure harmony...

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    phoenix[illusion]'s Avatar Palman Bracht
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    Default Re: Composite bows in Serbia and Croatia

    Quote Originally Posted by AnthoniusII View Post
    Serbians were influenced heavily from Romans (byzantines) that used composite bows but also from Magyars and Bulgarians that had a long tradition to that kind of weapon.
    Serbian Loricati of 13th century still reminded byzantine cavalarii of 11th century ussing bows ,lances and swords the same time byzantines had abandoned that kind of expiriend warrior type.
    Serbian cavalarius/loricatus of 13th century.
    Observ the simularities of earlier byzantine troops but also more recent additions like his helmet and leaf shield.
    tnx for the info. i know that serbs abandoned that byzantine wearing in time of dushan, at least high nobles. other units, like pronoia, still remained byzantine like.
    do you have some more info about serbian units? i'm collecting all i have
    and why did byz abandoned that kind of warfare? what was their new one?

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    clandestino's Avatar Sagittarius
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    Default Re: Composite bows in Serbia and Croatia

    Side note to the one of the sigs, kralevsdvo srblie? not only orthography is wrong (believe it or not it was kralevstvo in middle ages as well ) but also term Srblia/Srbija is almost unknown in Serbian language in middle ages, I think that there is only one mention of Srbija in medieval Serbian sources, in the Service of Saint Sava. Officially state was never, never called '' kralevsdvo srblie '', it was always used in adjective form : srpske zemlje, srpsko kraljevstvo, or as reference to the people : kralj Srbljem.
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    phoenix[illusion]'s Avatar Palman Bracht
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    Default Re: Composite bows in Serbia and Croatia

    Quote Originally Posted by clandestino View Post
    Side note to the one of the sigs, kralevsdvo srblie? not only orthography is wrong (believe it or not it was kralevstvo in middle ages as well ) but also term Srblia/Srbija is almost unknown in Serbian language in middle ages, I think that there is only one mention of Srbija in medieval Serbian sources, in the Service of Saint Sava. Officially state was never, never called '' kralevsdvo srblie '', it was always used in adjective form : srpske zemlje, srpsko kraljevstvo, or as reference to the people : kralj Srbljem.
    i really don't know who made that sig, probably some old one.
    anyways, i think that it should be srblem, not srbije
    something like Kralevstvo Srblem (Kingdom of Serbs)
    once i tride makind tsardoms of serbia of church slavic, and i've got this Срьбьскъo цѣсарьство
    don't know is it correct. translation is Serbian Tsardoms (Empire)
    Last edited by phoenix[illusion]; August 18, 2010 at 05:52 AM.

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    clandestino's Avatar Sagittarius
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    Default Re: Composite bows in Serbia and Croatia

    Срьбьскъo цѣсарьство
    In Serbian recension of church Slavic this was Срьбскo царьство not Срьбьскъo цѣсарьство, you have to make difference between these two: Serbian recension of Old ( church ) Slavic and proper Old ( church ) Slavic, differences are small but they do exist. As for the name kraljevstvo Srbljem or srbsko kraljevstvo would be most appropriate.
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    Default Re: Composite bows in Serbia and Croatia

    Lets see...
    There is mention of the Serb using recurved self bows, but composite has not been mentioned or uncovered...
    BUT...
    The frecoes show bows that seem to be composite... so chances are, they had them...
    My guess would be they had both, being composite and self...

    An interesting aside, when we see the Serb bow harness, it really does follow the traditions of the horse archer... that being bowcases and quivers on the same belt, with the arrows in the quiver pointing upwards...
    The Byzantines utilised horse archers, native and otherwise and all of them depicted had arrows pointing up...
    Yet if they were infantry, the arrows pointed down, and the quiver was slung in a baldric, with no bowcase...
    So I would think that the Serbs did use mounted archers...

    Though one thing had me wondering...
    Now, the depictions of arrows I have seen, show small even fletchings, with a bit of distance from the notch...
    This is also what the Byzantines used as well... but what I can't really tell is how many... the Byzantines had 4 fletchings, as opposed the the usual western 3, and the distance from the notch was to allow for the thumb draw...
    So I wonder... if the Serbian arrows are the same (though I can't tell the number of fletchings), then these would be arrows for a thumb draw...
    Which might add a bit of weight to the idea that they did shoot while mounted...
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    Nenadovcanin's Avatar Sukauto
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    Default Re: Composite bows in Serbia and Croatia

    By looking the last fresco, I'm pretty sure that arrows have 3 fletchings.

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    Default Re: Composite bows in Serbia and Croatia

    Quote Originally Posted by Son of Fire View Post
    My guess would be they had both, being composite and self...
    Exactly, my thoughts about it too. We can see it even among the Bulgars/Bulgarians, who have a much better tradition of composite usage than anyone else in the area (except for the Avars and Magyars, of course). But, yet, we can see that they also used both composite and self bows. Actually, even if we look at the old Bulgar graffiti in Pliska and Preslav, we can see even in those early times that the Bulgars used both composite and self bows (or at least reflex and non-reflex ones, though I doubt they'd make non-reflex composite bows and find it more likely that they were simple self-bows).

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