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Humans have practiced archery since very early times, and attested to in the Bible's with the mention of bows and arrows used by Isaac hunt some game for his brother Esau.

Overall, there were limits to what extent archery was useful. Although bows clearly had a reach that could well exceed the range of a simple thrown projectile, most early bows were simple "self bows" (made from a single stave of wood), with arrows having stone or bone arrowheads. These would have been effective against unarmoured targets, but by the onset of the Metal Ages the introduction of body armour meant that such arrows weren't sufficiently powerful enough to cause any damage.

Tactically, archery was useful in open areas such as deserts or plains, but 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, and for so little gain from it, most ancient cultures usually preferred either javelins or slings because they were cost-effective and didn't require that much effort to use.

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