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Sarmatian-Alanic Horsebows of the pre-Hunnic era
#1
I am wondering if anyone in RAT has any information on pre-Hunnic horsebows, especially their configuation. My specific interest is the Alanic migration period, basically that described by Ammianus Marcellinus, not the old Scythian bows which were shorter, or the Hunnic bows which were asymetrical.

Looking for a reply if possible.
Alanus
A.J. Campbell, horsebow shooter and collector
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#2
I have no idea about bow construction so I hope this makes sense:

Simonenko, Eurasia antiqua 2001, 187 et seq. (in German) lists two "Sarmatian" bows of the 1st century AD. The first from Kurgan 8 of the Molocanskkij cemetry has decayed beyond reconstruction, of the second from grave 1 in Porogi, all bone fittings had survived. Based on the relative position of the bone fittings he reconstructs an asymmetrical bow of approx 1.20m (unstrung).

Coulston J.C., 'Roman Archery Equipment', in M.C. Bishop (ed.), The Production and Distribution of Roman Military Equipment. Proceedings of the Second Roman Military Equipment Seminar, BAR International Series 275, Oxford, 1985, 220-366., lists evidence for bows from other cultures including the Yrzi bow.
Regards,


Jens Horstkotte
Munich, Germany
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#3
Hailog, Jens

Thanks for the tip-- very helpful.

I have always believed that the asymetrical Hunnic bow had been developed prior to the Hun's appearance in western Asia. Your info confirms not only an asymetrical bow, but also the bone syahs (extensions at each end). I once thought a "porogi" was a Russion
ravioli, but if it is east of the Crimea it's first century inhabitants were more likely to be Alans than "Sarmatians." The difference was in culture and Asiatic features in the nasal and facial structure.

At present, I am expecting delivery of an asymetrical bow from Czaba Grozer, a 33# draw at 28 inches. It has horn-reinforced syahs, goatskin covering, and natural flax windings-- just like the real old thing!

Much appreciated,
Alanus, horsebow fanatic and general old fart
1st Cohors Pannonarium, Legio III Cyrenaica
A.J. Campbell, US of A
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#4
Alanus.


Congratulation the selection of the bow, Grózer Csaba prepares very high-quality bows . Rider in archery on the other hand the Magyar bows unbeatable what Kassai Lajos prepares. For me Kassai I have 39 # bows. / Hiúz II/
Vallus István Big Grin <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_biggrin.gif" alt="Big Grin" title="Very Happy" />Big Grin

A sagittis Hungarorum, libera nos Domine
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#5
Hop on over to this site and go to discussion forum. If you post your question there someone will help you.
http://www.atarn.org/frameindex.htm
Are you asking if asymmetrical bows pre date the Huns or are you
looking for symmetrical bow info?
As an aside I shoot a couple of Grozer's bows along with some other bowyers offerings.
Jon R
There are no real truths, just stories. (Zuni)
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#6
Hailog, Jon and Istvan

My interest is trying to discover the time-period when the Sarmatian (Alanic) bow went from the older symetrical design to asymetrical. Also I wonder how long the syahs were on the earlier types, post-Scythian.

I use a "wimpy" bow, not like Istvan's 39-pounder. At around 40# I begin to shake and my accuracy suffers. Right now I'm using a 33# Istan Toth bow in the Magyar design almost exact to the one that Attila carried in the movie but never actually used. Most of thes actors looked like they were shooting Scythian youth bows. At some point, I'll get a Kajos Lassai bow, probably his asymetrical Hun or the "Grayhound."

I wonder about the origin, both time period and place, of these great shooting bows. It appears that the later period Romans, at least in Imperial times, used bows with syahs. But we know very little... as compared to swords or other weapons.

Tight shooting,

Alanus
A.J. Campbell, shaky old fart
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#7
As Jens said there have been a couple excavated in western Asia. There is also a bow from central Asia at Niya. It is thought to be 1stC AD and classed as "Hunnish" Seems more often than not asymmetrical bows are tagged as such.
Let me dig around in my book cases and see what I can find.
Are you looking for general info or for more specific ideas to do with creating an impression.(re-enactment)
For just flinging arrows and having fun, Grozer's base Hunnish bow is real hard to beat for the price. #35-40 is enough to enjoy and shoot all day.
It takes time to work up in draw weight. My go to bow is #45 and its easy
on the thumb.
Jon R.
There are no real truths, just stories. (Zuni)
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#8
Yes, a bow with a draw weight of around 40 pounds is a good starter bow and fun to shoot with! I have Grozer`s 50 pound hungarian, 70 pound assyrian, Kassai`s 90 & 110 pound bows. I have also a new Nomad bow of 80 pound coming. Somehow I have stuck with the idea that for a "warbow" the minimum draw weight is somewhere around 80 pounds; I think I got the idea from the english warbow shooters forum :wink: ...

I Usually shoot with the 90 pounder due to it`s lower trajectory of the arrow. It is not hard to shoot heavier bows, they have a technique of their own. And yes, hurrah, I have finally got my own sandhill where I can shoot whenever I want in our summer-house. I can shoot from a max. distance of 50 metres, which is quite enough :wink: ...
Virilis / Jyrki Halme
PHILODOX
Moderator
[Image: fectio.png]
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#9
Virilis.
How do you like that Assyrian bow? I have been thinking of getting one from Rainer.
Jon R
There are no real truths, just stories. (Zuni)
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#10
Quote:Virilis.
How do you like that Assyrian bow? I have been thinking of getting one from Rainer.
Jon R

Hi Jon! Yes, the assyrian bow "was" a very nice to shoot with Cry . Last summer the siyahs started to twist in different directions and throw the string away when released. I sent it back to Reiner / Eastern Archery where I had bought it and he promised to send it back to Grozer for repair, the one year warranty was still on, the bow was 6 months old.

So I waited for a couple of months, no news of the bow. When a full year had passed by Reiner said that he had somehow lost my bow. I inquired about it straight from Grozer and they said they never received my bow and recommended to order the bows straight from them. I know the bows are a bit more expensive when ordered straight from Grozer but I see it the only way to operate these days. I have asked Reiner if he knows where my bow is and if he has lost it, could he think about a some kind of compensation. He has not answered to my e-mails since Cry ...

Eastern Archery / Reiner: NOT RECOMMENDED!!!
Virilis / Jyrki Halme
PHILODOX
Moderator
[Image: fectio.png]
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#11
AJ
Heres a partial answer to your question I recievd from a fellow archer.

"The oldest asymmetrical bows I´ve seen were the bow-findings I´ve checked past February in Siberia. Sycthian bow- design is asymmetrical, 30% of the Siberian bow- findings I´ve seen were asymmetrical.
I guess the asymmetrical design was much more common 2000- 3000 years before."
Jyrik.
Thanks for the heads up. Next time I will deal with Groza direct.
Jon R.
There are no real truths, just stories. (Zuni)
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#12
Hailog, Jon

Thanks for more. If Jyrik means the first millennium BC, and I assume he does because he is talking "Scythian" and "Siberia," then the asymmetrical bow is a little older than we thought. Eeastern Scythian culture, in the Altai and along the Yennisey River, was an intermixture of what old-time historians called "Alpine features" and Asiatic features. This early culture neighbored the Xiong-Nu, purportedly an early Chinese name for the Black Huns. And this culture entered history as the Saka (Sacae), aka the Massagete, which Ammianus Marcellinus claims was the original name for the Alans.

In this light, it seems that a modern historian would have a hard case proving the Hunnish bow is actually Hunnish. It appears to be a steppe development shared by several cultures, some of whom became the later Ruan Huns and the Alans... who show up next to each other in the fourth century AD. Great news, thanks again, and thank Jyrik.

As for new bows, I have purchased that asymmetrical through Lajos Kassi, even though its an extra grade one made by Grozer. Kassi claims he honors a one year guarantee for "all our bows," and I'm hoping he is including Czaba's products in that blanket statement. The bow was shipped from Hungary about four days ago... and I can't wait to get it, just like a kid with an ice-cream cone!

Regards,
A.J., the old Alanus
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply
#13
AJ
Heres another quote I received yesterday.
Seems these bows go way back to the early steppe/china region
"The earliest bows I have seen were Saka bows from Xinjiang, dated 800BCE. They are assymetrical."
Hope this adds to your data base.
Regards
Jon R
There are no real truths, just stories. (Zuni)
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#14
Great stuff!

It would seem that the asymmetrical bow was born before the Huns even hit the historical continuum! What we are seeing is a broad and probably fast-moving adoption of a "great improvement." No culture, Hunnic or Alanic, rode uninfluenced upon the steppes, everything in flux.

At this moment, I am over at the other topic (Late Sarmatian and Early Alanic Costume) discussing this issue of cross-influences.

Thanks for this gemmo!

Alanus
A.J the old bow-twanger
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply


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