Full Version: Late roman archery (aiming)!
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I will demostrate again my opinion that the late roman helmets with the nasal quards were not intended to be used with bows. Here is a picture where I am trying to shoot a bow with a Burgh Castle style helmet.

First of all, the nasal quard get`s in the way when I am trying to anchor the shot in my cheek. Most importantly, it is impossible to get a good aiming vision with your right eye, the nasal quard just get`s in the way very badly, no matter how much you bend your body. It is the same with the thumb-release method.

Then again with a open-faced helmet (here a eastern viking style helmet) the shooting is very easy. I am not saying that shooting with a nasal-quard helmet is impossible, it is simply much harder. Perhaps there is a connection with the adoption of the late roman army of the open faced germanic style spangenhelms without the nasal-quards (or very tiny ones, kind of relics?) and the more varied role of the late roman soldier wich includes also archery?
Quote:Here is a picture where I am trying to shoot a bow with a Burgh Castle style helmet.
Can't see it.

Marcus Junkelmann tested horse archery with nasal helmets and reported no problems.
I thought the string wasn't drawn all the way back to the chin when using a thumb ring?
Here are the pictures.... (Sorry, I deleted the pictures myself.... :oops: )
In fact, Tarbicus, when using a thumbring the draw can reach all the way behind your ear! So to my knowledge it is just the opposite.... :wink:
[quote]Marcus Junkelmann tested horse archery with nasal helmets and reported no problems.

Yes I know, I have the book "Die Reiter Roms" Teile 3. In the pictures of that book the shooting doesn`t look very professional to me.....
I wasn't saying you couldn't, I was saying I remember reading that you shouldn't. Makes sense if you also aim with your left eye, in which case your aim isn't blocked by the nasal guard and your head can tilt over for aiming that way being unimpeded by the long drawback. Your left arm is also slightly bent (I assume to avoid the string snagging and bruising your left arm without a greave), so the modern method and stance of archery doesn't apply.
Quote:In the pictures of that book the shooting doesn`t look very professional to me.....
Which is the last point I made about modern and what may have been ancient archery.

And don't roll your eyes, I used to compete in archery :wink:
Quote:(I assume to avoid the string snagging and bruising your left arm without a greave)
And that also gives a good reason for tunic sleeves being narrow.
Good points, Tarbicus! It seriously diminishes stress on your elbow and shoulder when you bent slightly your left arm when shooting, so it is not only for protecting your forearm from the string!

Usually a person has a so-called dominant aiming eye, more ususally right eye of a right-handed person. You can test a dominant aiming eye like this: put your thumb on some pattern for example of a facing wall with your both eyes open. Then shut the left eye; if the thumb doesn`t seem to move your dominant eye is the right eye. If you shut your right eye your thumb seem to jump to the side. If it is vice versa, your left eye is dominant....

In traditional steppe horse archery the draw (with the thumbring) can be very long and well behind your ear. This is of course with the composite recurve bows.

Guys, I have to check the Junkelmann book again. One more thing wich disturbs me with the nasal-quard and archery is that the draw-string very often contacts the nasal-quard and it will severely weaken it every time...
The moden archery stance naturally gives a solid line of support throught the body. The left arm is held solidly straight and the bow is pulled into the crook of the left hand, and most importantly the bow is not held by the left hand, but is allowed to sit in the crook without support through tension. The string is drawn by pulling back not with the right arm, but with the back muscles which are far stronger than the arm muscles. Hence, the draw weight can be very high (compound bows are for complete whimps - they got plenty of stick for using them). Because the left arm is so straight and locked it is often in the line of the string when released, hence the utter necessity of a protector. Whilst drawn back the chest is stuck out and the right hand touches the chin. Some archers even use a tab on the string that touches the lips as an aiming aid. The string is released to fire the arrow, and the bow is actually allowed to drop, being left dangling by the strap attached to the left wrist. One reason modern archers do not grip the bow with the left hand is because it causes inaccuracies and misfires, hence the dangling from a strap technique - it's very accurate. The left hand has no need to keep hold and grip of the bow to stop it falling to the ground, which means no adverse movement when the arrow begins its flight before even passing the bow.

That's where there seems to be the main difference between modern and ancient archery, from what I can tell. As you where holding it is good if you don't wear arm protection, but man does it make your eyes water when that string hits :? I can't remember for the life of me where I read that the thumb ring means you shouldn't draw the arrow all the way back, it may have been someone here on RAT? Also, and I may be wrong as I never tried it, there doesn't seem to me much point in pulling back past the ear as you have no way of aiming, only guessing.
Thanks again Tarbicus!

Of course I am using the arm-protector when I am shooting, these pictures are just for posing in my summer-cottage. You mentioned that drawing back the string behind your ear will impair your aiming vision (because you can`t see along the arrow shaft), this I am agreeing totally!

This bow is quite easy to handle, the draw-weight being 50 pounds wich means that I am able to shoot with it for hours. Still it is powerful enough to hit targets from 50 metres. In fact this is the second summer I am shooting with this. Going in the woods with it in the weekend, fishing and going to the sauna afterwards, I am quite hooked with it right now I have to admit!
Will you come at Archon Jyrki?
Sorry, I am not able to come to Archon this year, perhaps next year...
I must also collect some more late roman items, I have only a tunic and a helmet.
Can i ask you guys about the placement of the arrow at the bow ?

With illustrations i have seen of archers using a thumb ring the arrow is placed thumb side rather than knucle side. Would this affect the line of aim ?
You`re right, Conal! Many steppe archers who used thumb-ring release placed also the arrow on the thumb-side of the bow. Also in many reconstructions the arrow is on the thumb-side of the bow (for example Peter Connolly`s persian archers in the "Greece And Rome At war").

One reason for using the thumb-side of the bow could be that it is quicker to release many arrows on horseback using this technique (I don`t remember the source right now, sorry!)...

The point is in my opinion that wether you use the thumb-ring or "traditional" (western) release you have to tilt your head anyway in the direction where the nasal-quard would be a hindrance...
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