A special Hungaricum: the 9th-11th century bow
The row of Hungaricums is always expanding but some of them are not as much in the spotlight as others. The inflexibly horned backflashing bow, also known as the horny reflex bow is probably one of them, even though it is very close to tradition guardians’ hearts. Kulturtaj.hu writes that it was the most significant and dreadful weapon of its time, and it seemed to be invincible for quite a while.
The 9th-11th century complex Hungarian horny bow (henceforth ‘the Hungarian bow’), which belongs to the family of inflexibly horned blackflashing bows of the different nations who lived on the Eurasian steppes, can be easily distinguished from the other members of this bow family. Out of all the 9th-11th century graves that have been excavated in the Carpathian Basin almost 300 contained inflexible bow applications (horn and grip panels carved from antlers), which is quite a remarkable quantity concerning the whole of Eurasia. These findings signified a unique chance to research Hungarian bows and their characteristics.
The meticulous analyses of the material, shape, structure and the grave setting of these bows remain the base on which a Hungarian bow reconstruction can be made. Further indirect information can be found out by the analysis of intact bows of the time, looking at ethnographical comparisons, researching different Eurasian bow-making traditions and utilizing written documents from the 14th century. However, this information cannot overwrite the concrete primary information of the findings.
So a bow can be called a Hungarian bow if it was either made based on a 9th-11th century bow remains or if it was made based on certain parameters that had been defined during the analysis of the 9th-11th century bow remains. By keeping to the criteria, this special bow can be even identified on an international level.
The Hungarian bow is a symbol. It is inseparably connected to the lifestyle of our ancestors who settled down in the Carpathian Basin. There was a time when Hungarians used this weapon better and more effectively than anyone, when they were hunting or fighting their enemies. The Hungariacum committee reasoned that the survival of our nation can be owed to this bow and that it has an outstanding title among the bow-makers of the world. It has a form and structure that is called Hungarian all over the world and is identified with Hungarians.
Copy editor: bm