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1 st\' century steppe bows...
#1
This discusion has been mentioned before, through out other topics, and posts.
Never the less I would like your thoughts on this put together here.
I still havend made up my mind on the type of bow I would like for my 1st'century Sarmation impression.
In order to come to a cunclusion I would like to know:
1) the latest find of a bow Scythian style (possible in Sarmation context) without rigid tips.
2) the earliest find of a bow Hunnish style with rigit tips (in Sarmation context)
Folkert van Wijk
Celtic Auxilia, Legio II Augusta.
With a wide interrest for everything Celtic BC
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#2
Umm...

Here is the difference in the bows:

1. Scythian: Symmetrical, 4 bone lathes (2 in each handle), about 120 cm long
2. Sarmatian: Asymmetrical, 4 bone lathes (2 in each handle), 150cm long
3. Hunnic: Asymmetrical, 7 bone lathes (2 in each handle, 3 in the grip), 150cm long
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#3
Not sure that answers the question, though, Evan!

I know there are laths from Caerleon (A Catalogue of Roman MIlitary Equipment in The National Museum of Wales - BAR 388 2005) - which is claimed to be the largest single collection in any one part of the Empire, but I think Coulston's Roman Archery Equipment (1985) may provide more information (sorry, don't have a copy).
Moi Watson

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Merlot in one hand, Cigar in the other; body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!
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#4
The lathes from Carnuntum are indicative of Roman bows of Sarmatian Adoption dating to the 2nd century AD. There was a discussion about them earlier.
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#5
Hello, Folkert

I would think that by the period you're considering-- 1st century of the Common Era (as opposed to the Uncommon Era)-- the old Scythian-type bow had gone into distant memory. The siyah parts found at Caerleon must date to the 2nd century when the Roman fort was abandoned. The bone laths were found in 2 lengths, which (to me) indicates the bows were asymmetrical. The 1st century BC to 1st century AD bows found in the Bosphorus Kingdom are considered Sarmatian and some of them are also asymmetrical, just like the bows we see on the Orlat Plaque.

There is a practical reason asymmetrical bows were made that way. They are longer than Scythian bows; and to compensate for this extra length, the lower arm was made shorter. This was handy during warfare, and the bow could be swung to either side of the horse.

Newer information points to the Sarmats as the originators of this style of bow in the late 3rd to 2nd century BC (Before Crackers), a culture living just north of the Massagetae and almost 1,000 kilometers from the Xiong nu (often considered the proto-culture of the Huns). Sarmat bows were 1.5 meters long and powerful.

The Sarmatians extended from the Massagetae and Saka, just south of the Sarmats yet western neighbors of the Huns. Only a blind and deaf man wouldn't know about the new bow. The steppe was a super-highway, carrying new information, new inventions, new techniques, across its entire breadth. I particularly dislike the term "Hunnic bow," simply because the wrong culture is credited with its development, plus the obvious fact that the Sarmats and Sarmatian/Alans were using bows with siyahs contemporaneously.

When we consider that by the time Caerleon was abandoned, the Romans were also using the siyahed bow and it probably was nothing new to them. The idea that the Huns-- and only the Huns-- were the users of this new bow seems a product of antiquated research or constipated thinking. When anything new and worthwhile comes along, it's adopted rapidly and spreads like wildfire.

Evan,
My Sarmatian bow is an asymmetrical bow with 2 laths on each siyah and 4 plates at the grip. It was made to historical accuracy by Czaba Grozer, perhaps the finest bowyer in Europe and the only one I know of who still uses sturgeon bladder glue. He can make an asymmetrical with "zero tiller," giving it amazing accuracy. I wouldn't get too caught up on the EXACT number of plates used on the grips of these bows. It really depended on the maker. We know that every culture, including Sarmatians, Huns, Sarmats, Scythians, etc., had Professional bowyers just like later cultures had gunmakers. Each maker had his own style and there were variations... just like English muskets and Pennsylvania rifles.

Well, anyway, I hope some of this might be helpful. Nothing is carved in stone. Confusedmile:
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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#6
There are first century depictions in Bactria and NW India showing both Scythian and "Hunnic" style bows (Evan, you are making an artificial distinction between Sarmatian and Hunjic bows, as several Sarmatian bows have been found with handle laths). I suspect the 1st C AD was the last century of the transition period, wherein the Scythian bow was being phases out in favour of the Hunnic bow.

A new type of bow appears in the 6th which I label early Turkic - the laths are shaped very differently from earlier ones.
Nadeem Ahmad

Eran ud Turan - reconstructing the Iranian and Indian world between Alexander and Islam
https://www.facebook.com/eranudturan
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#7
Quote:Nothing is carved in stone. Confusedmile:
Well, actually.... :-D

Seriuosly though, these bow parts found in caerleon, are the ones below I suppose?
[Image: 42a.jpg]

I don't agree with an end date of the fort during the 2nd century. Finds from 2008 indicate an occupation as late as possibly AD 380 (coin finds).
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#8
Quote:There are first century depictions in Bactria and NW India showing both Scythian and "Hunnic" style bows (Evan, you are making an artificial distinction between Sarmatian and Hunjic bows, as several Sarmatian bows have been found with handle laths). I suspect the 1st C AD was the last century of the transition period, wherein the Scythian bow was being phases out in favour of the Hunnic bow.

A new type of bow appears in the 6th which I label early Turkic - the laths are shaped very differently from earlier ones.

Yes, you are right, the Avars introduced a new set of bow Siyahs.

@Alanus
Also true, hard to say exactly how many bone lathes there were because only broken bows are found in burials. The Sarmatian culture developed before the Hun culture did, by the way. Hun culture didn't develop until 150-200 AD
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#9
Quote:
Nadeem post=355803 Wrote:There are first century depictions in Bactria and NW India showing both Scythian and "Hunnic" style bows (Evan, you are making an artificial distinction between Sarmatian and Hunjic bows, as several Sarmatian bows have been found with handle laths).

A new type of bow appears in the 6th which I label early Turkic - the laths are shaped very differently from earlier ones.


@Alanus
Also true, hard to say exactly how many bone lathes there were because only broken bows are found in burials. The Sarmatian culture developed before the Hun culture did, by the way. Hun culture didn't develop until 150-200 AD

Hello, Robert, Nadeem, Evan, and Folkert,

Robert, I'm not surprised that the fort was abandoned later. Each decade re-corrects the archaeological equation. (Same with the steppe cultures, especially since 1990.) Thanks for posting the photograph. Siyahs numbered as 7 and 9, are short yet built that way. They are intact, not broken as are most of the longer ones. I believe we are looking at the remains of asymmetricals.

Nadeem, thanks for the input on Bactria and India, since it backs up the contemporary siyahed bows found in southern Ukraine. By the first century AD (After Darius), the Alans recorded by Josephus and Strabo were probably carrying the "latest development" as well. And no doubt, the Roxolani mentioned by Tacitus had the new bow. Nobody wanted to be thought-of as "old fashioned." :whistle:

Evan, pardon my flub on dating the Sarmatians. My mindset is riveted to the Later Sarmatian Culture, my choice in reenactment, and I often forget the Early Sarmatian Culture began in the 5th century BC (Before Casanova)... over a century before the Xiong-nu appeared. Considering the "Sarmats" and "Sarmatians" (formerly the Saka/Massagetae) were geographical neighbors, it's quite likely the Sarmantians may have begun using these bows before the Xiong-nu/Huns. At least something to consider.

Interestingly (or not), the 2 longest distance records made with a composite bow were set (1) in antiquity by a Scythio-Greek using a Scytian bow, and (2) in the medieval era by a bowman using a Turkic model. Fact is, all three styles didn't differ to the extent certain authors have claimed. Any bow can shoot distance if it's built powerful enough. To Folkert, I'd suggest something sane, like a 40 or 45 pound draw. Here in Maine, a 45 lb bow is legal for deer hunting. And a bow that can take down a deer can also raise hell on the human anatomy. Wink
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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#10
Thanks guys, for the input.

Let me ad the English text from A. V. Simonenko's
"Sarmatian riders of north pontic region"

3.1. Bow
In the North Pontic region, as in the other
Sarmatian territories, findings of bows are
rare. The bows of the Scythian type were found
in kurgan 8 of the Akkermen’-II cemetery
(Вязьмітіна та ін., 1961, p. 103) and in the
grave dated to the end of the 1st century AD
near the village of Vesniane, Nikolaev district
(Simonenko, 1997, S. 392). The only bow of
the «Hunic» type was found in a kurgan near
the village of Porohi (Симоненко, Лобай,
1984, p. 12–14). Judging on the arrangement
of the bone plaques, its length in the released
state reached approximately 120 cm.
Parallels to the bone plaques were found
in the Sarmatian graves of the Volga river
region
and Kalmykia, as well as in the Hsiungnu
assemblages of Mongolia, Tuva, Minusinsk
Depression, and the Transbaikal area
(Худяков, 1986, p. 26 сл.).
The Sarmatians began to use the powerful
bows of the so-called «Hunic» type, reinforced
with the bone plates, in the 1st century
AD. These bows had greater length,
longer range and were more effective than
the «Scythian» type bows. The earliest finds
of parts of the «Hunic» bows in the Sarmatian
graves are dated to the second half of the 1st
century AD. Besides Porohi, the plates were
found in the Ust’-Labinskaia, 29/1 and the
Suslovsky cemetery, 51/1. On the other hand,
most of the Sarmatian arrowheads of the
1st–3rd centuries AD have the same length
and weight as the Scythian ones. It means
that the majority of the Sarmatian warriors
used the bows of the «Scythian» type and the
Sarmatians sometimes got the «Hunic» bows
as trophies or gifts. During the 1st–4th centuries
AD, the «Hunic» bows gradually pushed
the «Scythian» ones out of the entire steppe
region.
Folkert van Wijk
Celtic Auxilia, Legio II Augusta.
With a wide interrest for everything Celtic BC
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#11
Evan, I use the term "Hun bow" as it is more widely understood, although the term "Sarmatian bow" (for want of a better word) might be more accurate. Nikonorov calls it the "Sasanian bow" (my personal favourite, haha!).

I would hazard a guess that the Saka knights at Carrhae used this bow, and at that time, it may have been very new. That it was new at the time is just a guess.

Alanus, as for wanting to appear old fashioned - I was toying with this idea. Perhaps the use of an older bow style in Bactria may have been used to appear more Hellenistic, without necessarily representing reality? Who knows. This is seen elsewhere in Bactrian art in other aspects (although with the same caveat!) all the way until the 7th Century AD.
Nadeem Ahmad

Eran ud Turan - reconstructing the Iranian and Indian world between Alexander and Islam
https://www.facebook.com/eranudturan
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#12
Nadeem,

Yes, you may have hit a point of "artistic" expression. Bactrian art remains Graeco-centric long after Alexander tippered off to Dreamland. Roman convention does it as well, in that we only see scale armor on Sarmatians (and Romans) when other styles were actually worn. ;-)
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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#13
Quote:Thanks guys, for the input.
Let me ad the English text from A. V. Simonenko's
"Sarmatian riders of north pontic region"

"The bows of the Scythian type were found
in kurgan 8 of the Akkermen’-II cemetery
(Вязьмітіна та ін., 1961, p. 103) and in the
grave dated to the end of the 1st century AD
near the village of Vesniane, Nikolaev district
(Simonenko, 1997, S. 392)...The earliest finds
of parts of the «Hunic» bows in the Sarmatian
graves are dated to the second half of the 1st
century AD. Besides Porohi, the plates were
found in the Ust’-Labinskaia, 29/1 and the
Suslovsky cemetery, 51/1. On the other hand,
most of the Sarmatian arrowheads of the
1st–3rd centuries AD have the same length
and weight as the Scythian ones. It means
that the majority of the Sarmatian warriors
used the bows of the «Scythian» type and the
Sarmatians sometimes got the «Hunic» bows
as trophies or gifts. During the 1st–4th centuries
AD, the «Hunic» bows gradually pushed
the «Scythian» ones out of the entire steppe
region.

Interesting indeed. Simonenko lists 2 bows of the Scythian style and lists 3 bows of the "Hunnic" version. Looks like 3 Hunnic to 2 Scythian, if my addition is correct... and I'm a professional auditor. 8-)

Then he claims-- from his viewpoint on arrow design-- that the MAJORITY of bows were still Scytian until the latter half of the 1st century AD (Apple Dunking). Hmm! I'm not big on his interpretation, especially when the Physical evidence that he describes is the newer bow style. Smile

He then claims that the Sarmatians got their bows as "prizes or gifts." Obviously, that's because the Sarmatians were backward-thinkers, couldn't develop anything themselves, and were totally impoverished... not just mostly impoverished. :woot:

If you believe that, Folkert, I have more jokes you'll love. Confusedilly:
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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