HASA Resources

Things of Middle-earth

Belthronding

Type: Weapons

Description:

The great yew bow wielded, along with the sword Anglachel, by the famed chief march-warden of Doriath, Beleg the Strongbow:
Then Thingol... said: 'Beleg Cúthalion! For many deeds you have earned my thanks.... At this parting ask for any gift, and I will not deny it to you.'

'I ask then for a sword of worth,' said Beleg; 'for the Orcs come now too thick and close for a bow only....'

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 21, Of Túrin Turambar

"Let us slay [Beleg], and be rid of his spying," said Andróg in wrath; and he looked on the great bow of Beleg and coveted it for he was an archer. But some [outlaws] of better heart spoke against [Andróg]....

Unfinished Tales, Part 1, Ch 2, Narn I Hîn Húrin: Túrin among the Outlaws

[Far] and wide in Beleriand the whisper went..., saying that the Helm and Bow... had arisen again beyond hope.... Dor-Cúarthol, the Land of Bow and Helm, was in that time named all the region between Teiglin and the west march of Doriath.... [Even] in the hidden realm of Gondolin, the fame of the deeds of the Two Captains [Beleg and Túrin] was heard....

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 21, Of Túrin Turambar

[The] Orcs made their encampment in a bare dell as the light of day was failing, and setting wolf-sentinels all about they fell to carousing....

When all in the camp were sleeping Beleg took his bow, and in the darkness shot the wolf-sentinels, one by one and silently.

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 21, Of Túrin Turambar

[Together] they laid Beleg in a shallow grave, and placed beside him Belthronding his great bow, that was made of black yew-wood. 1 But the dread sword Anglachel Gwindor took, saying that it were better that it should take vengeance on the servants of Morgoth than lie useless in the earth....

Thus ended Beleg Strongbow..., greatest in skill of all that harboured in the woods of Beleriand in the Elder Days....

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 21, Of Túrin Turambar

[Túrin] made a song for Beleg, and he named it Laer Cú Beleg, the Song of the Great Bow....

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 21, Of Túrin Turambar


Notes
1Yew wood... is very springy. It was traditionally used to make bows, especially the longbow.

"Taxus" (Yew Tree). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 10 Dec. 2009.
<Wikipedia.org en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxus>.

Longbows, because of their narrow limbs and rounded cross-section (which does not spread out stress within the wood as evenly as a flatbow’s rectangular cross section), need to be either less powerful, longer or of more elastic wood than an equivalent flatbow. In Europe the latter approach was used, with yew being the wood of choice, because of its high compressive strength, light weight and elasticity. Yew is the only widespread European timber that will make good self 2 longbows, and has been the main wood used in European bows since Neolithic times. 3

"Longbow". Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 10 Dec. 2009.
<Wikipedia.org en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longbow>.

2By definition, a self bow is made from a single piece of wood. Truly traditional English longbows are self bows, made from yew wood. The bowstave is cut from the radius of the tree so that the sapwood (on the outside of the tree) becomes the back two thirds and the belly, the remaining one third, is heartwood. Yew sapwood is good only in tension, while the heartwood is good in compression.... In other desirable woods such as Osage orange and Mulberry the sapwood is almost useless and is normally removed entirely.

"Longbow". Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 10 Dec. 2009.
<Wikipedia.org en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longbow>.

3Ötzi, the Chalcolithic mummy found in 1991 in the Italian alps, carried an unfinished longbow made of yew wood.

"Taxus" (Yew Tree). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 10 Dec. 2009.
<Wikipedia.org en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxus>.

Other items found with the Iceman were a copper axe with a yew handle, a flint knife with an ash handle, a quiver of 14 arrows with viburnum and dogwood shafts. Two of the arrows, which were broken, were tipped with flint and had fletching (stabilizing vents), while the other 12 were unfinished and untipped. The arrows were found in a quiver with what is presumed to be a bow string, a tool of some sort, and some antler which might have been used for making arrow points. There was also an unfinished yew longbow that was 1.82 metres (72 in) long.

"Ötzi the Iceman". Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 10 Dec. 2009.
<Wikipedia.org en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ötzi>.

Contributors: Elena Tiriel 10Dec09

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