Achaemenid Archers (Ancient Persian)







History of Archery


The bow and arrow are known to have been invented by the end of the Upper Paleolithic.


Projectile points (used on spears or atlatl darts) are known from earlier prehistory, dating to the Middle Paleolithic. Bows eventually replaced spear-throwers as the predominant means for launching sharp projectiles on all continents except Australia.

Archery was an important military and hunting skill before the widespread and efficient use of firearms, throughout classical antiquity and the medieval period. Arrows were especially destructive against unarmoured masses and the use of archers often proved decisive. Mounted archers combined range with speed and mobility. Archery is also featured prominently in the mythologies of many cultures


The ancient Egyptian people took to archery as early as 5,000 years ago. Archery was widespread by the time of the earliest pharaohs and was practiced both for hunting and use in warfare.Legendary figures from the tombs of Thebes are depicted giving "lessons in archery";[9] Some Egyptian deities are also connected to archery



The Assyrians and Babylonians extensively used the bow and arrow; the Old Testament has multiple references to archery as a skill identified with the ancient Hebrews. Xenophon describes long bows used to great effect in Corduene.


Classical civilizations, notably the Persians, Parthians, Indians, Koreans, Chinese, and Japanese fielded large numbers of archers in their armies. Arrows were destructive against massed formations, and the use of archers often proved decisive. The Sanskrit term for archery, dhanurveda, came to refer to martial arts in general.

Mounted archers were the main military force of most of the equestrian nomads from the Cimmerians to the Mongols.








Bow and Arrow – Around the World


The bow and arrow is a projectile weapon system (a bow with arrows) that predates recorded history and is common to most cultures. Archery is the art, practice, or skill of applying it.








Ancient Bow and Arrow – Cave & Rock Paintings









Ancient Petroglyph
Petroglyph estimated to be around 4000 years old. A guy with a bow and arrow apparently is shooting at a 
wild horse. Unfortunately uneducated  shepherd boys have somewhat defaced these petroglyphs by scratching them. 
This is in an ancient corridor into the Tian Shan from the steppes of Central Asia  on the Kazakhstan side just across 
from the Kyrgyz side. This could have been a primitive persons rendering of the Scythian warriors that he saw riding 

past on horses, they are said to be the first to have domesticated the horses on  the steppes of Central Asia.




He appears as a centaur (half man,

half beast) with his bow and arrow.




Apollo Shooting His Bow. Ancient Greek Mythology




Ancient Bow and Arrow – In Mythology



Diana the Ancient Roman Goddess of the hunt


Hebrew sky observers as Kesith, meaning “the archer.

” Ancient Arab astronomers called the constellation Al Kaus, meaning “arrow.”







Bows & Arrows Ancient in Ancient Mesopotamia










Bows & Arrows Ancient in Ancient Egypt


Theban tomb painting shows a firing range for archers









Bows & Arrows Ancient Weapons


The bow and arrow qualifies as one of the oldest weapons used by mankind. Arrowheads have been discovered in nearly every country of the world, from Finland to Germany. The oldest arrowheads, found in Africa, date back to 25,000 years ago. Humans first made their arrowheads out of wood but quickly learned how to make fire hardened stone and flint arrowheads. They also added feathers to the shafts which increased accuracy.


By 2800 B.C. Egyptians had developed the composite bow, made from wood, animal horn and cat gut. Unstrung, the bow resembled a ‘C’ in shape, and it required two people to string it.The light arrows the Egyptians used could travel 400 yards from such a bow, easily piercing the enemy armor of the time. These deadly archers rode with skilled charioteers who could outflank the enemy armies, allowing the Egyptians to decimate anyone they considered an enemy.

Genghis Khan and his warriors used composite bows to terrorize their enemies.


Chinese archers developed the crossbow around 1200 B.C.


In 250 B.C. the Parthians, from the area that we know as Iran and Afghanistan today, fooled their enemies by pretending to run away while firing arrows back at their enemies. Historians believe that the phrase ‘a parting shot’ originated from the Parthians parting shots.


Humans continued to develop deadlier and deadlier bows and arrows. They learned how to make barbed arrows, making removal from flesh difficult; they manufactured small triangular tipped arrows that pierced chain mail, and they used half moot arrow types that could cut through the rigging of enemy ships.








Archery in Ancient Germany


The bow seems to have been invented by the late Paleolithic or early Mesolithic. The oldest indication for archery in Europe comes from the Stellmoor in the Ahrensburg valley north of Hamburg, Germany. They were associated with artifacts of the late Paleolithic (11,000-9,000 BP). The arrows were made of pine and consisted of a mainshaft and a 15-20 centimetre (6-8 inches) long foreshaft with a flint point. They had shallow grooves on the base, clearly indicating that they were shot from a bow.[

The oldest bows known so far come from the Holmegård swamp in Denmark. In the 1940s, two bows were found there, dated to about 8,000BP.[ The Holmegaard bows are made of elm and have flat arms and a D-shaped midsection. The center section is biconvex. The complete bow is 1.50 m (5 ft) long. Bows of Holmegaard-type were in use until the Bronze Age; the convexity of the midsection has decreased with time.








Archery in Ancient India










Archery in China dates back 20,000 years


 Archaeological discoveries proved that archery in China dates back 20,000 years. Practical archery takes three conditions: a bow strong enough to propel arrows, arrows that are sharp enough to kill, and a technique to ensure the stability of arrows in fight. The bow and arrow in ancient China fully met the three conditions. Archaeologists have unearthed finely made arrowheads in a site of the Paleolithic Age in Shanxi Province, and could be mounted on a shaft. No bow was found at the site, since bows were usually made of wood, bamboo and perhaps tendon of animals and could not remain intact for so many years. But the arrowheads were enough to prove the existence of bows.









The Riders of the Kirghiz


The men of the Kirghiz are expert horsemen and fearless masters on horseback. Kirghistan, located in the heart of Asia, along the ancient Silk Route, sits between the Pamir and Altai regions, amid the Tianshan Mountain Range. The landscape is picturesque with 7,000 meter high snow-capped mountains, lakes and high steppes.


Nomads have criss-crossed this region for thousands of years, encountering cultures of all kinds. The area today features people from 28 different nationalities, most of whom earn a living by animal husbandry and farming, with the Kirghiz people constituting 60 percent of the population.


They belong to the Turkic people and are one of the oldest of the Central Asian cultures. The name kirghiz means "the people," and the suffix "stan" stands for "land."



Apollo and Artemis





Greco-Roman Archery


The Greek god Apollo is the god of archery, also of plague and the sun, metaphorically perceived as shooting invisible arrows, Artemis the goddess of wild places and hunting.









Amazonian Huaorani Indians








Bows & Arrows in Ancient Americas









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