As little hiftorical extravagances are fometimes ufeful in
enlivening a dull page, I fhall here mention a few facts which are
recorded concerning the vaft power of thefe military engines, the
Scorpion, Onager and Ballifta. Ammianus Marcellinus reports, that a
man was ftruck by a ftone from a Scorpion, and was fo completely
fhivered to atoms, that no part of his whole body could be any where
perceived.—" Adeo ut ne figna quidem totius corporis
nofceretur."―See pg. 312.
Jofephus has ftill more
marvellous tales. A man, he tells us, ftanding near him on the wall
of a town which was befieged, had his head taken off by a ftone,
which flew with it to the diftance of three ftadia. And as a
pregnant woman was walking before the door of her houfe, a ftone
from a Ballifta having ftruck her, it tore the infant from her body,
and carried it (fqualling) the fpace of half a ftadium.
|197.||Stewechii, Com. ad Veget.|
" Scorpiones dicebant, quas nunce manuba-tiftas vocant."|
Veget. L. 4. Ch. 22. & 2. 15.
Crofs-bows are called " Scorpiones manu" in more modern works.— See Foglieta. Hift. Genuenfium, pg. 352.—E. in the collection of Graevius and Burman. Vol. I.
Circum feculum Conftantini, aut paulo ante, videtur in militiam
|200.||Johannes Pomarius wrote the Saxon Hiftory in the German language.—See Frefnoy, Vol. XI.|
|201.||Speed, pg. 287.|
|202.||"Ballifta duplici tenfa pede miffa fagitta."|
|203.||See Thorn, pg. 157.—Anglic. Script. Poft Bedam.|
|204.||The cuftom of ufing the foot in ftringing the Arbaleft, may have been very ancient, perhaps, if we judge from a circumftance mentioned by Pitifcus:— " In Burgundiae noftro agro Alexienfi propre Arne-tum repertae funt baud ita pridem duae icunculae, five figilla argentea, unum militis quafi legionarii, pari certe habitu, veterani, barbati, & vultu retorido, hujufmodi Arcubaliftam ad pedem tendere conantis: alterum juvenis imberbis, in linea militari monolore, & arcum tendentis. In urna vitrea fub terra inventa funt."|
|205.||Hume, Ch. 9.|
Rapin, Vol. I. pg. 235.
We have before obferved, (pg. 219) that Archery was firft made known to the Irifh in Henry the Second's invafion.
|207.||Speed, pg. 481.|
See Ang. Script. Poft. Bedam.—Hoveden, pg. 450. —Stow,
pg. 316.—Grafton, pg. 107.
In Camden are thefe lines on the death of Richard:—
"Ifitius in morte perimit Formica Leonem
"Ipfe (Richardus) fiquidem hoc genus fagittandi, quod
arcubaliftarum dicitur, jamdudum fopitum, in ufum, ut dicitur,
revocavit, unde et in eo peritus plures manu propria peremit, quo et
ipfe poftmodutn in terra propria inproemunitus, et inopinate
interiit, neque enim lex ulla aequior eft.
" Quam necis artifices arte perire fua."Brompt. pg. 1278.
Baliftarii quoque, eorum exercitum femper praei-pant uno fere
Mat. Paris, Vol. I. pg. 295. Anno 1217.
And again, pg. 589—42—An. 1242,—" Erant autem in exercitu Regis Anglorum tunc mille fexcenti milites, & viginti milia de pedeftri expeditione, et fep-tingenti Arcubalifltarii."
In Rymer, indeed, is the following paffage with refpeft to
Crofs-bow-men:—" Liberavit quatuor hominibus ad Anna, quatuor
Baliftariis & quatuor fagittariis in munitione Caftri de
Reign of Edward II. See Rymer, Vol. III. pg. 211.
And again, Vol. III. pg. 946, two hundred Crofs-bow-men are fpoken of, Anno 1322.
|212.||19th Henry VII. ch. 4.—" No man fhall fhoot in a Crofs-bow, without the King's licence, except he be a Lord, or have two hundred mark land.”|
|213.||" Cum magna Militari, fagittaria manu & Balliftaria, obviaffet."—Vol. IV. pg. 284.|
|214.||" Artem illam mortiferam & Deo odibilem Baliftariorum & Sagittariorum adverfus Chriftianos & Catholicos exerceri de externo fub anathemate prohibemus." — Can. 30.
And alfo, 4th Lateran Counfil, Can. 18:—" Nullis quoque clericus rotariis aut Baliftariis aut hujufmodi viris fanguinem praeponatur." This may allude to the the larger engines, but I do not imagine it does, in this cafe.
|215.|| Britton fays, Richard revived the Arbaleft in France: the Poet introduces Atropos, one of the Deftinies, as decreeing the King's death by that weapon.
" Hac volo, non alii Richardum morte perire;
Taffo, in his " Gierufalemme Liberata" makes
mention of the Arbaleft, and Quarrels, which were the Arrows ufed
for that kind of Bow:—
"Quinci le frombe, e le Baleftre,
e gli archi."
See alfo Cant, 20—63—12—4, &c.
" Venti Balleftrieri a cavello & cento Ballefrieri a piede
con le Balleftre di corno."|
Annali di Genoa, pg. 75.
|218.||Foglieta, Vol. I. pg. 352—Thefaur. Hift. Ital, Graevii & Burmanni.|
|219.||Hume, Vol. II, pg. 432.|
There are fome other kinds mentioned; concerning the peculiar
figures of which I am not entirely clear.|
—" Baliftae a pectoribus." —" Rectae Baliftae, quibus iftae muchettae proprié deputantur, funt Baliftae, quae Baliftae a pectoribus nuncupantur." —" Arbaleft à tour."—" Parce qu'elle ètoit bandèe evec un tour."
Vous peuffiez les magoneaux
Cafeneuve. Les Origines de la Langue
" Parce que le fer en ètoit quarrè."—
|222.||Oxford Edition, Octavo, 1725|
|223.||Stow's Survey, pg. 175.|
|224.||Hift de la Milice, Vol. I. pg. 379.|
Anciently, when the forefts were preferved for the fake of hunting,
an inferior officer belonging to thofe diftricts, was called "
The Bow-bearer" The appointment is now fallen into
difufe; but the follow-ing form of the oath taken by that officer,
will explain the duty with which he was entrufted:―
" I will be true man to the Mafter of this Foreft, and to his Lieutenant; and in their abfence I fhall truly over-fee, and true inquifition make, as well of fworn men, as unfworn, in every Bailwich, both in the North-bail and South-bail of this Foreft; and of all manner of trefpafs done, either to Vert or Venifon, I fhall truly attach, or caufe to be attached, in the next Court of Attachment, there to be prefent, with¬out any concealment had to my knowledge. SO HELP ME GOD."
No circumftance which has fallen under my ob-fervation, illuftrates
fo well, the accuracy with which the Crofs-bow was formerly fhot, as
the following paffage in Wood's Bowman's Glory. " On
March the 21ft, anno 1661, four hundred Archers, with their Bows and
Arrows, made a fplendid and glorious fhow in Hide-Parke, with flying
colours, and Crofs-bows to guard them. Sir Gilbert Talbot, Bart. was
their Colonel, Sir Edward Hungerford, Knight of the Bath, their
Lieutenant Colonel, Mr. Donne was their Major. Great was the
appearance both of the nobility, gentry, and commonalty. Several of
the Archers fhot near twenty fcore yards, within the compafs of a
hat, with their Crofs-bows; and many of them, to the amazement of
the fpectators, hit the mark. There were three fhowers of
Whiftling-arrows, So great was the delight, and fo pleafing the
exercife, that three regiments of foot laid down their arms to come
to fee it."|
Bowman's Glory, pg, 73.