Before the evil handgun

There was the evil crossbow:

They were considered diabolical enough that their use in warfare between Christians was banned by the Second (1139) and Fourth (1215) Lateran Council. Apparently heretics and Muslims were fair game, though.

In fact, the ban was routinely ignored. The crossbow was widely used by England’s Angevin kings (1154-1216) for one, who paid serious sums for professional crossbowmen. Indeed, that bastion of chivalry, leader of a crusade, and advocate of the church Richard I the Lionheart kept a crossbow at his side as often as possible and picked off many a foe during sieges.

The more things change, it seems….

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