I think I’ve already stressed enough the pure destructive power of the bow and arrow. Since time immemorial, the bow and arrow have managed to claim more human lives in any battlefield across all four corners of the globe when compared against the chosen weapon of kings, which is the sword. And speaking of battles and kings, ancient tribes and civilizations from long ago have used the bow and arrow too, but there are only a few that really managed to use and develop this deadly projectile weapon to its full capacity.
For today, we are going to talk about the top three ancient civilizations who truly mastered the art of archery in the field of battle. While there were a lot of tribes back then that also contributed to the efficiency of archery in warfare, these three civilizations were notable because history always favors those who won spectacular battles.
The Egyptians – The Egyptians started using the bow and arrow as tools of hunting and for war around 5,000 years ago. Archery was already an established custom among the Pharaohs and there are records of the old kings of Egypt engaging in elaborate hunting parties. The Egyptians were also among the first to start teaching archery to common soldiers. Thus, they were the among the first to wield battalions of efficient archers during every major battle.
The Chinese – When it comes to archery, the old Chinese emperors were really big fans. In ancient Chinese culture and philosophy, archery became one of the Six Noble Arts of the Zhou Dynasty. Thus, only the Chinese emperors can practice archery and the common folk were forbidden from learning how to use a bow. Anyone with enough skill are either drafted into the army or were executed if they disobeyed! Even the great Confucius was also an excellent archer, along with many other great warriors and scholars.
The Chinese also perfected another form of the bow and arrow, which is the crossbow. The Chu-Ko-Noh became an indispensable weapon for hundreds of years both in the East and the West. Travelers coming from Europe would visit or make contact with prominent Chinese generals and they shared the construction plans for the crossbow. The crossbow would later change Medieval warfare, as European countries during the Dark Ages would use and train crossbow-wielding soldiers to fight for them.
The British – The Battle of Agincourt in 1415 was a clear testament of the raw destructive power of the bow and arrow. The British King, Henry V, would field the English longbow for the first time against thousands of heavy French cavalry in this battle. It was said that the English soldiers were already sick and hungry after marching for days and the only reason why they managed to survive and win against the larger French army is because of the powerful arrows that came from the English longbows.
Even to this day, the principles behind the English longbow are still used by professional archers from all over the world.