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Τετάρτη, 12 Φεβρουαρίου 2014

Hellenic Archery Targets

Article by Aristodemos Nikiteas - KORYVANTES

The shield is not only a weapon (ὀπλον) to protect yourself from the enemy, but logically speaking it is also the target for any skirmishing warrior - peltast (πελταστης), who is using projectiles, arrows, sling shots, or small javelins against you.

The shield from a distance becomes the mark, the point of direction of an archer's action, with the hope that the arrow will find an opening on the wall of the shield in order to kill or injure an opponent.Following this logic I present a few designs from ancient Hellenic shields that have been found on vases from the Geometric to the Classical Hellenic period.

I would like to make clear that my intention is not to impose any of these designs as the Hellenic archery target, but to encourage archers from around the world to use any of the nearly 200 examples of shields from this period that are circulating on the internet. 
If anyone wishes to use the designs that I am presenting, please be my guest. They are not mine but they belong to Hellenic history and tradition. 

The targets that I am presenting here are of a design that does not imitate modern designs, like targets with multiple circles etc, but they have something that characterises them as Hellenic .
The irony is that the only target that is recorded on pottery is very similar to the modern interpretation of centered circles and appears like a target practice of Athenian cavalry, which of course I am enclosing   in my brief collection. 

One of the targets is a free interpretation of the Lernaean Hydra and the only one that has my personal approach.
I have tried not to enclose symbols that represent gods, or items of worship as a personal respect to the ancients, but again that is open to personal interpretation. 

The symbols that I think are "legitimate targets", if I can say this, are all the labours of Hercules. So, I have the hydra - the Mother of all targets !! - the centaur,  birds,  and wild-boar, lion and others can be used. Hercules together with Apollo was the most famous of our ancient archers and many others.

The geometric designs I have chosen also very often appear as chariot wheels from the Geometric to Classical period.
All targets are the same size like the hoplites shields, 80-100 cm in diameter. 
I will say a few more things on each individual target, but also some recommendations about the way they should be used. 
Except for the general use targets, I am very interested to present targets for marksmanship i.e.  high skilled archers - snipers- that without doubt would have been in action in any army from the dawn of time!

The Lernaea Hydra.  The "mother of all targets". Ten arrows for 10 targets. Nine heads and one for the soul of the monster. All ten small targets 10 cm in diameter.
Distance 10 to 20 meters.

 Ref: 494


A general purpose type of target that is a very common design on hoplite shields from different historical periods, but also the only (so far) reference of  a target.  "Athenian cavalry target practise"- 450 BCE.

Ref: 304.2
Ref: 52

A general purpose target that also resembles the  wheel of chariots that appears  on many vases from the geometric to classical period.

   Ref: 297

A general purpose target that also resembles the wheel of chariots that appears on many vases from the geometric to classical period.

     Ref : 5




The "Flywheel" is a spinning or rolling  target. Four arrows for four birds in motion. Distance 10m and above.

Ref: 176.1 (Third from the left)


The "Centaur". A 70m to 90m distance target.

    Ref: 172.1


The "Crab", something for the marine archers to practise. Any distance above 40 m.

    Ref: 45


A target with many options. Medium distance. Ref: 01
 Ref: 01


 The "Lion". A 30m to 70m target.Ref: 29
  Ref: 29

..... and don't forget. There are around 200 or more Hellenic designs of shields  you can use.
Please check for the accuracy of the designs, and the only way to do this, is to find them on Hellenic vases etc. of the period. Nothing else will do!
"In order to naturalise your opponent, you have to learn the way he fights". 
LIke the Thebans did to Spartans - Battle of Leuctra 371 BCE."

Scythian " marksman " in action ?



Early Greek Vase Painting - John Boardman.
Athenian Red Figure Vases / The Archaic Period - John Boardman.
Athenian Black Figure Vases - John Boardman.
Athenian Red Figure Vases / The Classical Period - John Boardman.

Copyright: Aristodemus 

Please do not reproduce without permission.

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