Nomadic Power, Sedentary Security, and the Crossbow Cover Image
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Nomadic Power, Sedentary Security, and the Crossbow
Nomadic Power, Sedentary Security, and the Crossbow

Author(s): David Curtis Wright
Subject(s): Political history, Ancient World, Middle Ages, Migration Studies
Published by: Akadémiai Kiadó
Keywords: arcuballista; crossbow; Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220); Kitan; Liao dynasty (915– 1125); Ming dynasty (1368–1644); shanyu; Song dynasty (960–1279); Tang dynasty (618–907); Türks; Warring States;

Summary/Abstract: The threats, both real and perceived, posed by pastoral nomadic peoples to the security of sedentary societies and states are too well known to bear repetition here. Civilised states were not always completely helpless before the onslaughts of nomadic warriors and could sometimes choose from a repertoire of diplomatic, tactical, and strategic measures and cautions in response to present or imminent nomadic attacks. This article, which draws on Chinese, Byzantine, and European sources, surveys several of these measures and ends with a more in-depth consideration of crossbows and other arcuballistae. It concludes that these were often the most effective weapons for fighting nomadic cavalrymen.

  • Issue Year: 58/2005
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 15-31
  • Page Count: 17
  • Language: English