wholly together

bet2173

Senior Member
Turkish
Hello all,

In the passage quoted from Ivanhoe, does the phrase "wholly together" mean being precise with their target?

The archers, trained by their woodland pastimes to the most effective use of the long-bow, shot, to use the appropriate phrase of the time, so "wholly together," that no point at which a defender could show the least part of his person, escaped their cloth-yard shafts.
Many thanks,
 
  • Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    I understand this to mean that the archers fired off their arrows in very closely coordinated patterns - so thinking as one 'firing machine' as opposed to all firing at the same time.
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Hello Bet2173, according to Robert Southey's explanation of the phrase in 'The Early Naval History of England' written in 1835, which you can see on page 237 here , '... the archers of England "shot so wholly together" (for this is the phrase by which the steadiness and regularity with which their volleys were discharged is expressed) that the enemy could no longer keep their array ...'. So this lends weight to Beryl's interpretation.

    Note that your context includes the phrase "to use the appropriate phrase of the time"; in other words this is not a phrase in common use today.
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    I understand this to mean that the archers fired off their arrows in very closely coordinated patterns - so thinking as one 'firing machine' as opposed to all firing at the same time.
    As always, I object to the use of fire to mean that the archers loosed their arrows. There was no fire involved, only tension on the bow.
     
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