Medieval Missile Weapons and Longbows: Myths and Reality

More great lessons from history – courtesy of Nicholas 😃

Nicholas C. Rossis

Longbow archer | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

You may have heard stories of how the English won the battle in Agincourt thanks to the English and Welsh archers using the dreaded longbow. The longbow is such a part of English identity that even Shakespeare wrote about it:

Fight, gentlemen of England! fight, bold yeomen!
Draw, archers, draw your arrows to the head!
Spur your proud horses hard, and ride in blood;
Amaze the welkin with your broken staves!

Shakespeare

This is hardly surprising. For centuries, archery was a big thing in Britain. Villages used to hold regular, even weekly, contests. The humble darts, found in pubs all over the world, are said to be a remnant of that tradition.

You may also have heard how archers trained from toddlers. Indeed, one of the aphorisms concerning archery is that, to make a good archer, you have to start with his grandparents.

But was it really all that…

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