A Deep Dive Into the History of Archery

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A Deep Dive Into the History of Archery

History of Archery

Archery is the skill or sport of shooting arrows with bows at predetermined targets. A highlightable feature of archery is that it can be played both indoors as well as outdoors. Besides being entertaining, indulging in archery benefits players in more ways than one. For instance, it enhances their focus, improves their hand-eye coordination, increases their upper-body strength, etc.

The popularity of archery as an activity and sport is not merely restricted to the orthodox offline form, i.e., enthusiasts of the game can also indulge in archery online through archery games. Different virtual iterations of the archery game are readily available on the web; thus, individuals can easily find the right one for themselves without hassle.

Archery is one of the oldest forms of sport i.e., it has been around for many centuries. This article will shed light on the rich history of archery and cover numerous aspects related to it. Let us dive right into it:

The Origins of Archery

The term “archery” is derived from the word “arcus,” which is a Latin term that means bow and arrows. Even though there is no exact date as to when archery came into existence, the first known evidence of the practice of shooting arrows using bows dates around 10000 BC. As per the evidence, bows and arrows were used for hunting animals and during wars by Egyptians and Nubians.

Arrows were first discovered in South Africa’s Sibudu Caves. Ruins of different types of arrowheads sculpted out of bone and stones were discovered. They are believed to be approximately 700 centuries old.

Over the course of many centuries, there have been numerous classical archers belonging to different civilizations, including the Assyrians, Koreans, Armenians, Chinese, etc.

Back in ancient times, most people practiced archery to hunt. Moreover, archery was also used greatly in warfare. However, archery became obsolete with the advent of gunpowder and other more advanced warfare tools. Although archery became obsolete in warfare, it was popularized as a sport in different parts of the world.

Archery’s Connection With Mythology

Besides being an important part of warfare during ancient times and a popular sport, archery has also been an integral part of mythology. Here is a look at the activity’s connection with different mythologies:

Indian Mythology – In Indian mythology, there are stories and tales of many heroic warriors and gods who were popular for their archery skills. Some popular mythological figures which were associated with the practice of shooting arrows using bows were Abhimanyu, Eklavya, Drona, etc. One of the most popular mentions of the activity was in the Mahabharata, i.e., the archery competition of hitting the rotating fish’s eye using an arrow during Draupadi’s Swayamvar.

Persian Mythology – There are multiple mentions of archery in renowned Persian tales. For example, Arash the Archer is a legendary archer figure in Persian Mythology. As per Persian folklore, the boundary between Iran and Turan was determined according to an arrow shot by Arash.

Greek Mythology – Similar to Indian and Persian Mythology, there are multiple mentions of archers and archery in Greek Mythology. Hercules, the legendary Greek god, is often associated with archery, thanks to his top-tier arrow-shooting skills. Besides Hercules, Odysseus is also popular for his ability to shoot arrows with top-notch precision using bows.

Archery’s Evolution as a Sport

During ancient times, archery was only used as a warfare technique. However, as years passed and the world became more civilized, archery also started getting recognized as a sport. The activity was officially popularized as a sport when it was approved as a sport in the 1900 Paris Summer Olympics.

Since then, the archery sport has been a part of many official sporting events. For starters, it is a crucial part of the Olympic Games. After being featured in the 1920 Olympics, the sport returned to the prestigious event after a break of 52 years in 1972. Ever since then, it has been an integral part of every Olympics. Besides this, the activity is also included as a separate event in the Summer Paralympics event.

All major archery events are followed by millions of enthusiasts all around the globe. For instance, archery fans closely follow the archery event held in the Olympics. Besides this, hardcore archery fans also love following their favorite professional archers in different archery tournaments.

Different Forms of Archery That Have Popularized Over the Years

Earlier, archery was referred to as the activity of shooting arrows using bows at targets. However, as the sport has evolved, many new types have come into existence. Here is a look at some of the most popular types of archery that have amassed a serious fan following over the years:

  • Target Archery – This is the most generic type of archery. As its name suggests, players need to shoot targets using arrows. Target archery is played at the Olympics.
  • Clout Archery – Clout archery holds historic significance since it was used as a training method during the middle ages. In this form of archery, archers need to hit a small-sized flag placed on a vertical stick from a distance.
  • Field Archery – Field archery is a relatively newer type of archery. In this type of archery, multiple targets are placed on different terrains. Archers need to strike a specific target using a set number of arrows.

Archery has been around for many centuries, and its popularity seems to be rising with each passing day. Besides practicing archery using physical bows and arrows, individuals can also indulge in archery virtually via online games.