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For most of human history, arrows were made of wood with stone arrowheads. Much later, somewhere in Asia during the 2nd millenium BCE, there emerged the composite bow which was made from all manner of materials — different strips of wood, sinew, and horn — and glued together to form a flexible yet powerful arrow launcher. This was a costlier weapon than the self bow, but it was far more powerful, and was a favourite of pastoral equestrian cultures because it was small yet sufficiently powerful to be used from horseback.

Overall, there were limits to what extent archery was useful. While it was useful in deserts or plains, in wooded or mountainous areas archery tend to be disfavoured, with European cultures preferring instead close-up melee combat, or the use of skirmishers: although archers are mentioned in the Iliad, more of the action by the heroes of the epic prefer spearfighting up close and personal, or the use of thrown spears. Moreover, to be a good archer required immense training — whereas archery was considered a villien's way of fighting in Europe, in Muslim and Asian cultures, archery was the pastime of the nobles much in the same way we consider croquet, polo or golf as the hobbies of choice of today's business elite.

Even so, archery continued to remain an important part of warfare amongst various cultures until the 15th century when its importance started to decline due to gunpowder weapons. By the late 18th century, it was making a comeback yet again - as a sport.

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