The latest issue of ”The Mariner’s Mirror: The International Quarterly Journal of The Society for Nautical Research” (01 Nov 2023) reviews the anthology Facing the Sea: Essays in Swedish maritime studies, including the article ”Maritime Military Archery: Bowmen on European warships, 1000– 1600” by Henrik Arnstad and Abigail Christine Parkes:
The authors seek to fill a significant gap in maritime research on the naval use of bowmen which they argue was a feature of human history for over three millennia. With this extensive article, they aim to bridge the gap between naval warfare studies, which have sidestepped the role of archery, and military archery studies that limit their scope to land-based activities.
The article introduces and states the case for the importance of archery in naval warfare by first charting naval archery in the high Middle Ages to the Mediterranean theatre of warfare and then going on to discuss tools and technological developments.
The authors then anchor the role of archery in several case studies ranging from the battle of Sluys in the fourteenth century to the Mary Rose, before moving on to discuss archaeological findings from Kalmar Castle dated to the sixteenth century.
The article is ambitious and successful in furthering knowledge of its intended subject.
The reviewer Adam Grimshaw concludes, regarding Facing the Sea, that:
All told, Facing the Sea represents an impressive collection of essays that demonstrates the wealth, breadth, and ambition of Swedish maritime research. That ambition shines through in each chapter with every author providing insightful and unique research while also remaining forward facing. Not only is ground-breaking research plain to see but many of the contributors rightly seek to answer as many questions in their present studies as they do posing potential research for the future.