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Home > Books > An Essay on Archery > Chapter VIII: Divination by the Arrow
Chapter VIII
Divination by the Arrow
Part 3 of 3

Fiery Arrows were ufed by the Englifh formerly. They are taken notice of by Math. Paris;113 and were much efteemed in naval engagements, as well as fieges. We are informed, an Archer could fhoot an ounce weight of combuftible matter attached to the point of an Arrow, twelve-fcore yards.

In fea fights alfo, the ancient Englifh fhot glafs phials filled with quicklime, in order to blind the eyes and diforder the enemy.114 The reader may fee, in Pl. 4, Fig. 4, the form of the bottle of lime, copied from Strutt; and the other figures reprefent different forts of the Malleolus.

More modern warriors have found this ftratagem to anfwer, even after cannon and artillery have been ineffectual. A remarkable inftance of this kind happened when Charles XII. King of Sweden, with about fixty of his foldiers, refitted the whole Turkifh and Tartar army, near Bender.

Charles, driven from his intrenchments, was under the neceffity of feeking refuge in a houfe near at hand; which, however, he faw occupied by the enemy. He entered with a few of his attendants, fword in hand, and every Turk either leaped out at the window in hopes of faving himfelf, or was killed on the fpot.

After getting poffeffion of this ambufcade, by killing or driving about two hundred out of it, and which was very foon accomplifhed, the king withftood the enemy bravely, and laid a great number lifelefs by his mufquetry, from the windows. The houfe was ftormed by cannon; but happily the walls were fo fubftantial and firm, that the ftone bullets flew to pieces by ftriking againft them; and the repulfe would have been compleat, had not the Turks fhot Arrows with fire on them, into the roof, the windows and the door of their fortrefs. An attack which fubdued even the IronKing of Sweden!115

By the affiftance of the Arrow alfo, we find from Herodotus, that a treacherous correfpondence was carried on at the fiege of Potidoea, between Artabazus, the Perfian general, and Timoxenus, who he wifhed to betray the town into his power. The hiftorian tells us he is ignorant by what means the communication began ; but that whatever information was conveyed from one to the other, was written and affixed to an Arrow, which being fhot to a particular place, was there examined by the opposite party, and an anfwer returned by the fame conveyance.116

It is not very clear by what method thefe letters were fixed to the body of the Arrow: they appear to have been wrapped on below the notch, and are faid to have acted as wings. But perhaps the end of the Arrow might have been flit down a few inches, and the little fcrolls inferted into it, in fuch manner that part fhould project on each fide; they would then guide the Arrow in its paffage as feathers. Children often feather their Arrows in this manner.

Plate 4 from  "An Essay on Archery" by Walter Moseley.
Plate 4
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