Gaelic Archery

Irish and European fighting styles and techniques, and the required Arms & Armour

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Re: Gaelic Archery

Postby brendan on Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:41 pm

Guild system is primarily urban whereas the society that used Brehon law was primarily rural - broad brush but more or less right.
I guess the thing to do is get a look at medieval guild records etc and see if there is any reference to bow makers in Ireland..also, the level of taxes paid etc would indicate a lot...but that is for people who are really into their archery research
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Re: Gaelic Archery

Postby nathan on Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:14 pm

that might make sense i would assume that bowyers and fletchers were not allowed outside of english controlled areas due to the power of the weapons which would probably mean the irish resented the weapons and as a result did not have many people doing the practice?
for here starts war carrion birds sing, and grey wolves howl
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Re: Gaelic Archery

Postby brendan on Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:23 pm

I do know that the guys wot came across the water (See the way I didnt call them either English or Norman) had large numbers of archers...saw the numbers once but dont have a reference.
Not sure about the resentment argument, systematic training...well we know it was there across the water at certain points in time, but not sure if there is any evidence of it here.

The types of battles fought here would be a key indicator of why archery was/was not used...cattle raiding doesnt need so archery so much; large scale battles are a different story
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Re: Gaelic Archery

Postby the_power on Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:12 am

Brendan, most of the Brehon Law books were based on 7/8thC texts, before there were bowyers. I'd use that as an excuse. There may have been a fear around revising hallowed texts. Check out the number of references to slavery in the US constitution, or references to christian ethos in the Irish constitution which aren't compatible with the modern world.

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Re: Gaelic Archery

Postby finnobreanan on Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:38 pm

finnobreanan wrote:
the_power wrote:http://shop.museum.ie/p-80-weapons-and-warfare-in-viking-and-medieval-dublin.aspx has pretty much everything you need to know about archery from the archeological record - dozesn of bows, and hundreds of every type of arrow you can think of. Even a viking crossbow, with an antler nut. Some nice conclusions about the change from unarmoured to armoured targets, based on how arrowheads changed in shape and type.

John

John,
Thanks for the heads-up on this book. I ordered a copy directly from the museum, since the only copy I could find for sale here in the US cost $165.00 (128 Euros)! :o

I finally got my copy in the mail from the museum. WELL worth the month wait to get it. This book is a "Must Read"
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Re: Gaelic Archery

Postby the_power on Fri Feb 25, 2011 8:56 pm

Great to hear it. I was giggling for days after getting mine. Wait till you come across descriptions of the Antler crossbow nut in a 10thc viking context. :)

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Re: Gaelic Archery

Postby Celtic Britain on Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:30 pm

On this subject I can advise the book: Weapons and warfare in Viking and Medieval Dublin by Andrew Halpin published by the National Museum of Ireland.
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Re: Gaelic Archery

Postby cellachán chaisil on Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:55 am

the_power wrote:Brendan, most of the Brehon Law books were based on 7/8thC texts, before there were bowyers. I'd use that as an excuse. There may have been a fear around revising hallowed texts. Check out the number of references to slavery in the US constitution, or references to christian ethos in the Irish constitution which aren't compatible with the modern world.

John


Well, you're correct in saying that brehon texts weren't revised. They were however glossed and commentated on right up to the 16th century, so you can indeed get some kind of idea of the conditions of later Ireland from reading those redactions. Many of the later commentators completely contradict the earlier material, showing that Brehon law was far from immutable, but also that there was a limited understanding of the material they were referring to.

As for Gaelic archers, prior to the Normans the only substantial reference we have to the Irish use of bows is in an annalistic reference to Toirdhealbhach Ó Conchobhair's will, wherein he leaves all his bows to the church. Of course, the caveat has been made that this bows could have been primarily for hunting use, though it is listed in the context of other overtly military material. After the Normans I seem to recall there are references to the Irish using bows half the size of the English longbow, though with similar range.
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Re: Gaelic Archery

Postby brendan on Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:15 pm

I am not sure that I'd agree with the notion that the later medieval Brehon lawyers didn't understand the older texts. However, I am happy enough to agree that they would understand it AND the subsequent interpretations and use as they saw fit. Like modern lawyers but with more language skills required.
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Re: Gaelic Archery

Postby cellachán chaisil on Thu Dec 20, 2012 1:10 am

brendan wrote:I am not sure that I'd agree with the notion that the later medieval Brehon lawyers didn't understand the older texts. However, I am happy enough to agree that they would understand it AND the subsequent interpretations and use as they saw fit. Like modern lawyers but with more language skills required.



In certain instances, their understanding of the texts is completely opposite to the original intention of those texts.
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