Online Encyclopedia

ARQUEBUS (also called harquebus, hack...

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V02, Page 642 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ARQUEBUS (also called harquebus, hackbut, &c.), a firearm of the 16th century, the immediate predecessor of the musket. The word itself is certainly to be derived from the German Hakenbiihse (mod. Hakenbflchse, cf. Eng. hackbut and hackbush), " hook gun." The " hook " is often supposed to refer to the bent shape of the butt, which differentiated it from the straight-stocked hand gun, but it has also been suggested that the original arquebus had a metal hook near the muzzle, which was used to grip the wall (or other fixed object) so as to steady the aim and take up the force of recoil, that from this 1I the name Hakenbiihse spread till it became the generic name for small arms, and that the original form of the weapon then took the name of arquebus a trot. The French form arquebuse and Italian arcobugio, archibugio, often and wrongly supposed to indicate the hackbut's affinity with the crossbow (" hollow bow " or " mouthed bow "), are popular corruptions, the Italian being apparently the earlier of the two and supplanting the first and purest French formhaquebut. Previous to the French wars in Italy, hand-gun men and even arbalisters seem to have been called arquebusiers, but in the course of these wars the arquebus or hackbut came into prominence as a distinct type of weapon. The Spanish arquebusiers, who used it with the greatest effect in the Italian wars, notably at Bicocca (1522) and Pavia (1525), are the originators of modern infantry fire action. Filippo Strozzi made many improvements in the arquebus about 1530, and his weapons were effective up to four and five hundred paces. He also standardized the calibres of the arquebuses of the French army, and from this characteristic feature of the improved weapon arose the English term " caliver. In the latter part of the 16th century (c. 1570) the arquebus began to be displaced by the musket. ARQUES-LA-BATAILLE, a village of France, in the department of Seine-Inferieure, 4 m. S.E. of Dieppe by the Western railway. Pop. (1906) 1250. Arques is situated near the confluence of the rivers Varenne and Bethune; the forest of Arques stretches to the north-east. The interest of the place. centres in the castle dominating the town, which was built in the 11th century by William of Arques; his nephew, William the Conqueror, regarding it as a menace to his own power, besieged and occupied it. After frequently changing hands, it came into the possession of the English, who were expelled in 1449 after an occupation of thirty years. In 1589 its cannon decided the battle of Arques in favour of Henry IV. Since 1869 the castle has been state property. The first line of fortification was the work of Francis I.; the second line and the donjon date back to the 11th century. The church of Arques, a building of the 16th century, preserves a fine stone rood screen, statuary, stained glass and other relics of the Renaissance period.
End of Article: ARQUEBUS (also called harquebus, hackbut, &c.)

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