The fantastic story of King Stephen and the Bodnik Bows

We would not deny you this fantastic story and put it ahead of our media coverage on the first Bearpaw Cup in Romania.

After a great first Bearpaw Cup in Romania, my hosts had planned a visit to the citadel Neamt. This citadel was built by Peter I in the 14th century and is located in the province of Moldavia in Romania. It was used in medieval times as the residence of the royal family and is now used as an exhibition site. King Stephen, the most famous of the kings of Romania, also used it as a residence.

When we got to the armory of King Stephen as part of our tour, we found the reconstruction of a historic chamber with many weapons from the 15th century there.

As we were standing directly in front of the pane of plexiglass that separated the entire scene from the audience and visitors, my eyes immediately fell on one of the guards who held a bow in his hand. Light Bard, lances, maces and other weapons were immediately unimportant!

“This is a Bodnik Bow”, I immediately exclaimed in astonishment.
“I’m almost 100% sure that this is one of our bows.”

Design of the handle, color of the tips, their form, serial number, everything was there!

But how should it be that this bow came into the exhibition of the Romanian National Museum here in the citadel Neamt?
We had to be 100% sure. Such a story is simply too fantastic to not get to the bottom of it.

We got the museum staff to call back to the National Museum, but they told us that there was no way to get directly behind the plexiglass into the exhibition. We would probably have to go the official way and wait until it was possible to determine exactly which bow was in the hands of the medieval warrior. At the end of our visit, however, curiosity drove us back to the armory. The unsolved mystery of the recurve bow had of course not let gone of us.

Again, we spoke with one of the employees and showed her a small window that was in the back part of the armory. From there I wanted to climb into the armory to personally inspect the bow.

“That’s not possible! You can neither get in let alone get back out!” This was the information that was given to us.
But I could not contend myself and we convinced them that we would take a closer look at the scene through the open window.

I was sure that I could go down there. Also, getting back out should be possible if my partner would hand down his arm to pull me back up.

After some persuasion the staff agreed and I carefully climbed down into the armory of King Stephen the Great.
I must say that it was a bit tricky. Very carefully, I slipped past the spears and lances and landed in the armory. Other visitors to the exhibition stood behind the plexiglass window and stared at me in amazement when I took the bow out of the hand of the warrior.

It was a Bodnik Bow!

One of our Horsebows had somehow found its way into this exhibition and graced the armory of King Stephen the Great. An absolutely crazy experience that brought a broad grin to my face. When I looked at the picture of a historical Romanian horse bow, a great similarity in the shape of the bow was visible.

With the arm of my Romanian friend, I happily climbed out of the armory again.

There’s a Bodnik Horsebow in the armory of King Steven the Great of Romania!

Finally, it would only be necessary to clarify how this bow in 2008 found its way into this exhibition in the citadel Neamt.

Henry M Bodnik