Bows are a type of weapon that has been used for hundreds, possibly thousands of years. They have seen use in many different cultures across the entire planet and come in many variations. The typical idea of a bow is to bend a length of wood by connecting its two ends with a string. This would bow the wood and cause the string to be very tense. A projectile (arrow) could then be pulled against the string and fired.
When we think of a Medieval Bow we generally think of the English Longbow. This was a very large bow used for warfare. It could be as tall as the man holding it and usually weighed around 1 1/2 to 2 pounds. And it could have a draw weight up to around 180 pounds or even more which is an enormous amount of force. This type of bow was very popular in the 14th and 15th centuries.
The bow itself was an effective weapon for several hundred years because it had a good range and reasonable accuracy but the bow fell out of favor as technology changed. The crossbow was a weapon that far surpassed the longbow because it had a far superior range and could be learned in much less time. A good longbowman took a long time to learn how to use his weapon effectively but a crossbowman could use his weapon with very little training.
Longbows eventually were dropped from battle as gunpowder was developed and used in firearms.
The longbow still however is used in modern day and the woods that were used have now been replaced by various composite materials that are stronger and more durable.
Want to see some beautiful handmade medieval longbows? These are made from solid sapwood hickory which is probably the strongest hardwood on the planet. Handmade Medieval Bows
Longbow: A Social and Military History Hardy is a well-known character actor in England and an acknowledged expert on the longbow and its history. Here he traces its evolution from its appearance at the dawn of recorded history, its arrival in the British Isles, its central contribution in the battles of Crecy, Agincourt and Bosworth, to its decline as a military armament and its current status as a hunting and sporting weapon. The profusely illustrated text includes minute descriptions of the equipment, training and way of life of the bowmen who made up the formidable archer corps of medieval times, then goes on to tell the story of American longbowmen and hunters and includes an engrossing chapter on the making of a longbow from the selection of wood to field testing. Hardy's enthusiasm for the longbow, its technology and capability, and his appreciation of fine craftsmanship, are infectious.
Amazon.com has Medieval Longbows too!
Rough and Ready English Style Longbow - Hunting Strength - 50 lb. at 28 in. This bow, made from linen-backed Red Oak, comes ready to shoot and is tillered to a draw weight of 50 pounds and a draw length of 28 inches. The bow is unfinished and needs to be sealed. This can be accomplished by simply rubbing petroleum jelly on the bow (including the linen backed side) twice per year. One might also opt to finish the bow permanently. This is an economical alternative to our already finished bows, offering the same abilities while allowing you to finish it in a fashion of your choosing.
PSE® Legacy Longbow Robin Hood Special: Legacy Longbow by PSE is made of exotic hardwoods for traditional minded archers. SAVE BIG! Old school makes the grade! Ahh, the D-shaped Longbow, preferred by traditional archers like Robin Hood. Longbows have been used for hundreds, er, thousands of years. For hunting and warfare by ancient Nubians, Kurds, Arabs and Native American tribes. Today's wooden laminated Longbows (like this baby) are made by gluing together 2 or more different species of wood. Usually this is done because some woods can better withstand compression, while others are better at withstanding tension. Whoost! A Longbow has practical advantages compared to a modern recurve or compound bow... it is usually lighter, quicker to prepare for shooting and zings arrows more quietly. Seems an overstock shoots BIG BUCKS OFF! Details: Reflex / deflex-shaped bow is crafted in strict observance of tradition, setting high standards for stability and arrow velocity; Trapezoidal layout in the limbs; Fast-flite string; Shoots arrows at 180 F.P.S.; Laminated, reinforced tips withstand shooting stress; Black fiberglass finish on the face and belly of the limbs; Black walnut and cherry riser; Comes with a soft genuine leather grip; Measures 68" l. Brace height: 8" h. Weighs 1 lb., 13 ozs.;