Crossbow

Sketch by Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1500

A crossbow is a type of ranged weapon based on the bow and consisting of a horizontal bow-like assembly mounted on a frame which is handheld in a similar fashion to the stock of a gun. It shoots arrow-like projectiles called bolts or quarrels. The medieval crossbow was called by many names, most of which were derived from the word ballista, a torsion siege engine resembling a crossbow.[1]

Historically, crossbows played a significant role in the warfare of East Asia and Medieval Europe.[2] The earliest crossbows in the world were invented in ancient China and caused a major shift in the role of projectile weaponry. The traditional bow and arrow had long been a specialized weapon that required a considerable user training, physical strength and expertise to operate with any degree of practical efficiency. In many cultures, bowmen were considered a separate and superior caste, despite usually being drawn from the common class, as their archery skill-set was essentially developed from birth (similar to many horseman cultures) and was impossible to reproduce outside a pre-established cultural tradition, which many nations lacked. In contrast, the crossbow was the first projectile weapon to be simple, cheap and physically undemanding enough to be operated by large numbers of conscript soldiers, thus enabling virtually any nation to field a potent force of ranged crossbowmen with little expense beyond the cost of the weapons themselves.[3]

In modern times, crossbows have been largely supplanted by firearms in most roles, but are still widely used for shooting sports, hunting and when shooting with relative silence is important.

Terminology

A crossbowman or crossbow-maker is sometimes called an arbalist or arbalest.[4]

Arrow, bolt and quarrel are all suitable terms for crossbow projectiles.[4]

The lath, also called the prod, is the bow of the crossbow. According to W.F. Peterson, the prod came into usage in the 19th century as a result of mistranslating rodd in a 16th century list of crossbow effects.[4]

The stock is the wooden body on which the bow is mounted, although the medieval tiller is also used.[4]

The lock refers to the release mechanism, including the string, sears, trigger lever, and housing.[4]

Other Languages
Ænglisc: Gelocen boge
العربية: قوس مستعرض
asturianu: Ballesta
azərbaycanca: Qundaqlı yay-ox
беларуская: Арбалет
български: Арбалет
brezhoneg: Kroazwareg
català: Ballesta
čeština: Kuše
dansk: Armbrøst
Deutsch: Armbrust
eesti: Amb
español: Ballesta
Esperanto: Arbalesto
euskara: Balezta
français: Arbalète (arme)
Gaeilge: Crosbhogha
galego: Bésta
한국어: 쇠뇌
հայերեն: Աղեղնազեն
hrvatski: Samostrel
Bahasa Indonesia: Busur silang
íslenska: Lásbogi
italiano: Balestra (arma)
latviešu: Stops (ierocis)
lietuvių: Arbaletas
magyar: Számszeríj
македонски: Самострел
Bahasa Melayu: Busur silang
Nederlands: Kruisboog
日本語: クロスボウ
norsk: Armbrøst
norsk nynorsk: Armbrøst
occitan: Aubaresta
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Arbalet
polski: Kusza
português: Besta (arma)
română: Arbaletă
русский: Арбалет
Simple English: Crossbow
slovenčina: Kuša
slovenščina: Samostrel
српски / srpski: Самострел
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Samostrel
suomi: Varsijousi
svenska: Armborst
Türkçe: Tatar yayı
українська: Арбалет
Tiếng Việt: Nỏ
walon: Årbalesse
文言:
粵語:
中文: