Discuss English longbow vs. Viking longbow? at the General Archery Discussion & News within Archery Interchange UK Forums; There is a long tradition of longbows in Scandinavia going back to the time of ...
There is a long tradition of longbows in Scandinavia going back to the time of the Vikings - our club in Copenhagen has plenty of enthusiastic followers (though I think the revival of the longbow for recreation & sport is fairly recent here).
I've read that the English longbow originated in Wales in the 11th c. but don't know where the Viking's version of the longbow fits into the picture. Did Viking raiders bring the longbow back to Scandinavia from the British Isles? or did the Welsh borrow the idea from the Vikings? Can anyone shed any light on this one?
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Even older than the holmegaard style bows are the stellmoor bows from northern germany (see the bowyers bible vol. 2). These are much more like the Mary Rose longbows in cross section and many other neolithic bows show a circular or D-ish shape. Several later (but still pretty old) bows have been found here in Somerset. These include D section and flat bows. It seems that both shapes have existed for a long time. Perhaps the prevalence of one or the other has depended upon local materials and the trade off between performance and ease of manufacture?
The type of wood available was indeed one of the main reasons for the type of bow produced...There were bows of elm - which tended to be flatter in cross section. and bows of yew, which were more rounded in section and strangely did not always incorporate the sap wood...Welsh bows were rough and ready, made of elm and designed for shooting at close range; powerful, but not able to make much distance...The Welsh employed geurilla and ambush tactics rather then long range set battles..It was probably a marriage between the Welsh bow and the Saxon yew bow which produced the war bow as we think of it. Bows found at Nydam were mostly of yew although some were of pine.