The decline and fall of the English longbow


itunes-logoThis episode of the podcast ”…and the sky went black!”, tales and history of the English longbow is a bit sad. It deals with the decline and eventual disappearance of the English longbow, from the battlefield. A gradual process which occurred during the 16th and 17th century.

Benjamin_Franklin_1767.jpgAs late as 1776, the famous American inventor and politician Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter:

But I still wish, with you, that pikes could be introduced and I would add bows and arrows. These were good weapons, not wisely laid aside;

  1. Because a man may shoot as truly with a bow as with a common musket.
  2. He can discharge four arrows in the time of charging and discharging one bullet.
  3. His object is not taken from his view by the smoke of his own side.
  4. A flight of arrows, seen coming upon them, terrifies and disturbs the enemies’ attention to their business.
  5. An arrow striking in any part of a man puts him out of combat till it is extracted.
  6. Bows and arrows are more easily provided everywhere than muskets and ammunition.

sloapt.gifThus, we are encountered with a historical mystery: Why was the longbow replaced by firearms, during the 16th century, if the longbow remained a superior weapon well into the 19th century?

There are several answers to this complex question, and we discuss them in this episode of the podcast: ”The decline and fall of the English longbow”!

Our podcast has been critiqued, since it sounds ”pretty much like the Swedish chef after a week in Cardiff”. That is quite correct! Being Swedish, we are sorry for our horrible English. But hopefully there’s something interesting in our efforts, anyway. 🙂

loggaBehind this humble production are Henrik Arnstad, science journalist specialising in history, and historian Adam Westlund, specialising in medieval history.

Please comment below, regarding your thoughts about this episode. Thank you for tuning in! Listen below:

You can subscribe via Itunes. Or via our RSS-feed. Put this adress into your RSS-reader:


En kommentar Lägg till din


Fyll i dina uppgifter nedan eller klicka på en ikon för att logga in:

Du kommenterar med ditt Logga ut /  Ändra )


Du kommenterar med ditt Facebook-konto. Logga ut /  Ändra )

Ansluter till %s