English longbow was a self bow made of yew wood, which is found in
abundance in Italy, Spain and the West Coast of America. This bow
was of the same length as the user. The string was made of linen or
hemp. The string would be stretched taut and would provide no
elasticity as the bow stave (curved strip of wood) would provide all
the elasticity needed. The bowstring would either be looped around
the edges of the stave or threaded through holes at both the ends.
improvement in the design of the bow resulted in the recurved bow.
Here, the ends of the bow stave would curve away from the rest of
the bow. This double curve increased the bow's elasticity, range and
improvement led to the crossbow. This was a short but powerful bow
set horizontally on a stalk. A tremendous amount of strength was
needed to wind up the bow and a mechanism was fitted into the bow
for this purpose. After winding, the string would be released by a
trigger. Some types of crossbows were used to shoot stones too. The
crossbow is said to have been invented in China.
generally made of wood like spruce, pine or cedar; cane or reed and
were given a head of metal or flint. The tail end would have
feathers or some other light material. The purpose of these
feathers was to steady the arrow.
of firearms meant that bows lost their importance as weapons of self
defense and aids to hunting. Now bows are used only in the sporting
arena for archery contests.
important battles and wars have been waged with the use of bows and
arrows. Archery has formed the basis for many famous tales like
Robin Hood and William Tell. In Indian mythology, we find mention of
archery contests in the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.
Many stories like that of Ekalavya are based on archery.