First of all, let’s understand the basic concepts. The bow is one of the oldest types of weapons of the throwing type, known since the Mesolithic era, designed for shooting arrows. Shooting occurs due to the muscular strength of the shooter, which the bow accumulates as the potential energy of the bent arc and then, straightening, quickly converts into the momentum of the arrow. Throwing weapon – a weapon capable of striking the enemy at a distance without direct contact with the attacker. The action of throwing weapons (as opposed to firearms) is based on the use of human muscular strength, gravity, elastic properties of wood (metal, plastic) or the energy of twisted fibers.
Throwing weapons are common in many nations. The first and simplest throwing shells were stones and sticks.
In ancient times, the bow ruled hunting tools and weapons, today the bow is mostly a sporting tool.
As a throwing weapon, the bow must have certain properties. The most important among them are considered to be: elasticity, resilience, length between the ends of the bow at rest, the distance of the bowstring tension, the distance between the bowstring and the arc and the tension force of the bowstring.
Classically, all distances and lengths in modern bows are indicated in inches. Tension force is indicated in pounds. The weight is indicated in grains (0.064798 grams).
The oldest archaeological records of arrows date back 64,000 years and were found in South Africa in 2010. Outside Africa – the island of Sri Lanka (48,000 years ago), Europe – Poland (10,000 years ago). And the oldest bows were found in Denmark – 7,000 years BC.
The Traditional Archery
First of all, bows and arrows were used for survival. Hunting animals and birds at a distance facilitated the task of ancient hunters and at the same time protected them from direct contact with prey. Of course, there are were no rules and sports traditions there. Then began the primitive military conflicts of a local nature aimed at the struggle for resources (territory, waterways, prey). Over time, the bow and arrow became an attribute of full-fledged wars, and with the advent of the Middle Ages, these weapons were introduced into the army.
The advantage of bows is relatively simple production and training in its use. And of course the destruction of enemies at a safe distance.
But over time, the professions of bow and arrow manufacturers appeared, and young men capable of archery were sought for long-term training.
But lightly armed archers in close combat became easy prey.
The last official use of bows during a battle took place in 1813 during the Battle of the Nations near Leipzig, when the Russian army used Kalmyk archers.
The Modern Archery
Nowadays, there are no brutal wars of destruction and no one hunts en masse to provide for themselves. Therefore, archery has evolved into a hobby and a very serious sport.
Today, bows and arrows are also used during hunting games and for physical and psychological recovery.
There is also a movement of historical reconstructors and supporters of role-playing games.
The most common use of bows and arrows today is a sports. There are many types of archery competitions: Olympic Games, outdoor shooting championships, indoor championships, field shooting championships, archery biathlon (winter sport, similar to biathlon, but with a bow), vertical archery, traditional championships (which take place in countries where bows are part of the culture – Japan, Korea, Mongolia).
So, the tradition of using a bows is still alive today. And the current state of technological development allows to improve this art further.
Anyone can return to their ancient roots and take up arms, thanks to which humanity has survived in the wild and wars.