In Shakespeare's England a standing army was unknown. There was no general military organization. The military defence of the realm rested upon two Statues passed in 1557, the one for Arms and Armour, the other for Taking of Musters. The first required "every nobleman, gentleman, or other temporal person" to keep, according to his means, a fixed number of weapons, horses, and suits or articles of defensive armour. The most interesting point in this Act is the fact that. though the existence of fire-arms is recognized by the obligation of the wealthiest classes to furnish "haquebuts," the longbow is none the less exalted as the first of missile weapons, and practice at the archery-butts is still strictly enjoined upon the people at large. This was an absurdity, for fire-arms in the hands of skillful Spaniards and Italians had already been brought to considerable perfection, and the famous longbow was practically obsolete.