History of archery
bow was used for the first time by primitive man as a hunting weapon and as a
means of defence.
on the etymology of the Greek words
toxo (bow), toxotis (archer) and others, we are led to the Sanskrit word
taksaka, which is the name of a tree, the branches of which were used for
the making of bows. The bow and arrow are found in drawings for the first time
in the Spanish cave of Valltorte.
As time passes, Homo Sapiens
creates a whole line of by-products based on
the blade. He created the points of the arrows
by attaching blades onto a wooden shaft. Inventions such as this
enabled him to hunt more efficiently, catching very
small and nimble animals as well.
first to use the bow as a weapon at war were the Egyptians around 3500 B.C. The
length of the bows were determined by the warriors height
and their arrows held blades that were made of
slate and copper. The
Cycladites, who used bows as a basic weapon, used bronze points on their arrows.
The Assyrians , around 1800 B.C., used a new type of bow which was shorter and
was made of animal skin, wood and horns. It was shaped like two semi-circles
placed next to each other. The structure of this new bow made them superior to
their opponents as this bow could also be used by the cavalry.
The Hittites also
used this short bow while they were on light, fast chariots around 1200 B.C.
the Ancient Greek mythology as well as other cultures we find the use of poison
on the points/blades of the arrows quite often. An example is the story of the
death of Hercules. On his way to Trahina, when he got to the river Xiino at the
south of Etolia,
he asked the centaur Nessos to carry Deianira
(his wife) to the other side of the river,
offering to pay him for it. At the end of the passage Deianira screamed
loudly and managed to notify Hercules that Nessos had attacked her. Hercules
aimed at his heart straight away and killed him using his poison tipped arrows.
As the centaur was dying, he advised Deianira to mix his sperm, which was on the
ground with the blood running from his wound to use it as a potion to bring
Hercules close to her, if he should ever desert her. Unfortunately though the
blood of Nessos had already been mixed with the poison. Hercules did eventually
leave Deianira and in her despair she sent him the potion, only to kill him.
as a sport, shooting at a target, is first found in the Iliad in the
descriptions of the games with
which Achilles honoured his dead
friend Patroclus. The target was a pigeon tied on the mast of a ship. Some very
well known archers of the time took
place such as Tefkros and Mirionis . The order in which the archers shot at the
pigeon was determined by drawing
lots. As first prize to the archer that hit at the pigeon Achilles would give 10
double axes made of iron. For the archer that hit the rope, 10 single axes made of iron. First Tefkros
aimed at the pigeon and hit the rope so that the pigeon was free to fly.
Then Mirionis quickly aimed and hit the pigeon in the air.
was not the primary means of defence in Ancient Greece. The archers
had a secondary role, even though they were very effective at times. They
consisted of professional mercenary soldiers,
mostly Cretans and Skythians.
From the 4th century B.C. and onwards, though, archery
is added into the curriculum of the boys education.
an Olympic sport in 1900. In 1920, though , it is taken out of the Olympic Games
to be inserted again in 1972. In
Greece this sport made its first appearance in 1983 and was part of the shooting
federation of Greece. But in the year 1999, an independent Archery federation
was founded (E.F.O.T.). The
international Archery federation is called F.I.T.A (Federation International de
Tir al' Arc).