Friday, 1 April 2011

William Tell and the crossbow

William Tell (fl.1307)
According to legend, Tell was a Swiss farmer living in Uri when Duke Albert II of Austria tried to impose his rule on the area. Tell refused to obey the new laws and taxes introduced by Albert’s governor Gessler. As a punishment, Tell was ordered to shoot an apple off the head of his own son using his crossbow. Tell succeeded, going on to kill Gessler and lead an uprising that expelled the Austrians.

Crossbow Factfile
Weight;    5 - 8kg
Length:    1.2 metres
Date:        ad900 - 1650
Range:     500 metres
Place:        Asia and Europe

Injuries and treatments
The bolts from a crossbow were heavier and wider than arrows from a bow. They too inflicted deep wounds, but the greater force of impact often caused broken bones or massive bruising and bloodloss. Crossbow bolts would kill instantly if they smashed into the skull, and would prove fatal if they struck the body.

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