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Conrtribution to understanding the Crossbow in Medieval Dalmatia

Ivan Alduk ; Ministarstvo kulture Konzervatorski odjel u Splitu

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 2.346 Kb

str. 379-387

preuzimanja: 995



The crossbow (balista, balestra, balistra) is one of the most controversiai weapons in the history of warfare. During Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages its use dec1ined but at the end of the lO'h and beginning of the ll'h century it reappeared. Up to that time it was retained as a hunting weapon. European armies used it as both an offensive and defensive weapon until the 16'h and beginning of the 17'h century. The period from the Bih to IS'h centuries represents the peak of the crossbow's use. Despite being ban ned by the church, the crossbow was used as a weapon by Dalmatian armed communities. The statutes of Korčula, Split, Zadar and Trogir as well as numerous documents from Dubrovnik mention it as a weapon for their citizens or special "military units", the socalled balistarii or balistrarii. The Trogir balistrarii were somewhat more advanced than the others. Despite being short-lived, the Genoese stay in Trogir from 1378 to 1381 could have had a strong influence on the acceptance of the crossbow in that city. As this weapon spread from coastal communities more widely and into the interior of Dalmatia, entering into the weaponry of the soldiers of Croatian noble families, the relationship between the Cetina dukes of Nelipići and Trogir became particularly interesting. Archaeological finds from the fortresses in the duchy of Cetina which were under the control of the dukes of Nelipići from the mid-141h to the mid-lSIh century confirm the numerous references in written sources to the sending of crossbows, veretoni (crossbow bolts) and balistarii (and also other types of help) to Ivaniš Nelipić from Trogir. Pictoral depictions of crossbows in Dalmatia are rare. One example from the village of Trnbusi in so-called Gornja Poljica which in the Middle Ages belonged to the duchy of Poljica, is therefore of greater interest. There a duel is depicted on a stećak between two warriors, one of whom is certainly carrying a crossbow. This is, for now, the only depiction of a crossbow on a medieval stećak. Translation: Nicholas Philip Saywell

Ključne riječi

crossbow; Nelipići; Trogir; Trnbusi

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