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Age of Empires Heaven » Forums » Veni, Vidi, Vici » Did Greeks ever used this type of archer called an arbalest?
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Topic Subject:Did Greeks ever used this type of archer called an arbalest?
SonicBlade
Clubman
posted 01-05-15 04:26 PM ET (US)         
Here's a question: Did the Greeks used this medieval archer called an arbalest?
AuthorReplies:
ax_man1
Clubman
posted 01-06-15 10:13 PM ET (US)     1 / 6       
An arbalest wasn't a type of archer, but a type of crossbow with the bow part made of steel, and packed a pretty powerful shot. IIRC the heaviest ones could top out at 800-900lb draw weights, if not more.

As to whether the Greeks used them, I'm not sure. I've only heard/read of them being used in western and northern Europe, but I could be wrong.

ax_man1

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Thompsoncs
Clubman
posted 01-07-15 10:45 AM ET (US)     2 / 6       
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbalest

The arbalest is basically just a type of crossbow. It is likely (or at least plausible) that other european nations that used crossbows (which was pretty much all to some extent) started using arbalest-like crossbows too, in the later medieval period, but perhaps they simply had a different word for it or continued calling them crossbows. As for the Greeks specifically , I have no idea. I dont even know how common the crossbow was in Byzantine Greece. I think the byzantines were more frequently using bows as ranged weapons, but I may be wrong.

I expect one of the reasons for the arbalest was the increase in armor in that period (plate armor and such), since the arbalest had more power than a smaller crossbow it was more suitable for penetrating heavy armor, which was one of the big reasons for using crossbows in the first place (and their ease of firing relative to the bow).

[This message has been edited by Thompsoncs (edited 01-07-2015 @ 10:45 AM).]

Highwing
Clubman
posted 01-07-15 08:19 PM ET (US)     3 / 6       
Terminology can make things confusing. Don't forget that history is often recorded through an Anglocentric perspective. In reality, the only language that could have used the exact term "crossbow" was English itself, but since the arbalest was around during the early Middle English period, the two parts of "crossbow" probably would have been closer to the Old English words for "cross" and "bow": cros and boga. Irish, Welsh, and Scottish Gaelic borrowed the word into their own languages, spelled and pronounced a bit differently.

Today, the French word meaning both "crossbow" and "arbalest" is arbalète. Old French was arbaleste and Late Latin was arcuballista. So you can see that it's related to "ballista."

But my point is, different terms can often be very misleading when the meanings aren't clear. And "arbalest" can in fact refer to someone who uses an arbalest as well.

[This message has been edited by Highwing (edited 01-07-2015 @ 08:29 PM).]

Suppiluliuma
AoEH Seraph
posted 01-09-15 01:15 PM ET (US)     4 / 6       
Also the name of the unit should be 'Arbalest man' lol.

Arbalest refers only to the weapon. But yes if you talk about Middle Age Greece, it was part of the Eastern Roman/Byzantine empire by then, so if the Byzantines used it (I am not sure if they did, but sounds possible) by extension the Greeks did as well.
SonicBlade
Clubman
posted 01-14-15 06:52 PM ET (US)     5 / 6       
Or better yet, they can be called "Arbalist" as it would make much more sense. However, maybe someone can make a mod for AOE2 that renames the Arbalest unit from "Arbalest" to "Arbalist". That would be nice.
Leonaidis
Clubman
posted 12-09-17 05:44 AM ET (US)     6 / 6       
I don't believe the Greeks used an arbalest. The technology for manufacturing the steel "bow" dates to the middle ages. You need a rather high grade of steel to make the steel bow. The Greeks had iron, steel is iron with carbon mixed into the molecular lattice which creates the "steel". This important "discovery/development" was probably made much later than the time frame of the Greeks in AOE.
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