When you think of bows and arrows of any sort, it will not be long before you conjure up images of the famed Robin Hood in your head. Commonly depicted alongside a bow and arrow, Robin Hood has long been synonymous with everyone’s favorite weapon.
But did Robin Hood really use a bow and arrow? Or did he use other weapons too? And was there ever a time where Robin Hood killed anyone?
We will explore all of these questions in this article, answering these frequently asked questions.
Editor's Note: Do you know what a backstop is? Find out here.
What weapons did Robin Hood use?
Robin Hood has commonly been depicted as the Poor Man’s hero. With this in mind, it is likely that the weapons he used aligned with this. This is, perhaps, the biggest reason why he has always been synonymous with the use of a bow and arrow.
The bow and arrow have long since been known to be the weapon of the poor man, or perhaps more exact, the common man. By this, we mean that Robin Hood and his Merry Men were not members of the aristocracy.
They were, and have always been depicted as members of the lower working class. As such, their weaponry was likely to be the same.
Whereas the higher classes may have used more advanced weapons, and the aristocratic hunting parties may have been accompanied by attack dogs, the common man would have sufficed with a bow and arrow. They also would have been very skilled at using it, at that!
Robin Hood has been depicted by many as being an archer or yeoman by trade, meaning he would have been trained in using bow and arrow, as well as perhaps a sword.
A skilled and heroic outlaw would certainly have tried his hand at any weapon, but the fact remains that the bow and arrow, and often the sword and shield have been most often associated with our hooded hero.
What bow did Robin Hood use?
The bow that Robin Hood was likely to have used is the longbow. The longbow was often made from durable wood such as yew. You may sometimes find them made from horn, but since Robin Hood originated in England, bows made from yew were far more likely.
Longbows could measure up to around 6 feet long. They were also particularly adept at shooting arrows from a relatively long distance. You could shoot an arrow from up to 300 years away, and could damage armor from 100 yards away! This made Robin Hood and any other bow and arrow yielding outlaw a force to be reckoned with!
This sort of bow was made famous by Robin Hood and its association with the 100 Years War in England that Robin Hood is depicted as being part of. They were often reinforced with heartwood in the middle of the bow to ensure strength and enough tension for pulling back the bow and releasing it at top speeds.
Of course, it can be difficult to know exactly what bow Robin Hood used, and indeed, whether he used a bow at all. There are so many different depictions of Robin Hood, that we do not know who he really was, or if he truly existed.
Many people theorize that the stories told of Robin Hood could actually be in reference to a group of people who were in contact with each other, or even several different unrelated people in the same area of England.
However, given the numerous depictions of him with a longbow, this certainly seems like the most obvious answer. Countless accounts, drawings, and other depictions of Robin Hood have displayed him as a skillful archer with a longbow, a hood, and as a heroic outlaw putting the interests of his class first.
Did Robin Hood kill anyone?
It is difficult to know whether Robin Hood killed anyone. However, there are certainly many depictions of Robin Hood in which he has killed people.
For example, some early ballads tell a story of how Robin Hood bested his enemies such as the Sheriff of Nottingham, beheading them as well as murdering them. Other depictions of Robin Hood include him killing a gang of 15 men who had been hired to kill him.
As we have already mentioned, since it is so difficult to prove his existence, it is equally difficult to say for certain whether he killed anyone. Certainly, some depictions of him, such as the Disney cartoon version, would have you believe that he would not kill. Other depictions state that he does kill, at least for the greater good of his people.
The depiction of Robin Hood as someone who steals from the rich to provide for the poor is something that remains true in most of his depictions. With this in mind, it is clear that any depiction of him killing is only of him killing ‘evil’ people or wrongdoers.