HISTORY OF ARCHERY
Archery can be rightly referred to as one of the oldest act that is still actively practiced until today. The history and development of archery can be traced as a face back as to the beginning of mankind’s history. There is still evidence of the existence of ancient archers from the entire world. Although archery can be rightly said to have been in existence since the Stone Age which dates back to the 20,000 BC, the ancient Egyptians were the first people in history to adopt archery as a skill. They started out as early as around the 3,000 BC and used the skill for warfare and hunting for food.
While in the Asian countries, the earliest history of archery can be traced back to China. There are facts to show that archery was in use in the Shang Dynasty which dates from 1766 to 1027 BC a chariot used for war back then carried important persons; the driver, an archer and a lancer. The Shang dynasty was followed by the Zhou Chou Dynasty which dates from 1027 to 256 BC and during this period, noblemen who serve as the Emperor’s court were known to engage in archery tournaments which featured lots of music and other forms of entertainment.
Archery was introduced in Japan by the Chinese people in the Sixth century and it took a major part in influencing the history of the Japanese people. Popular martial arts in Japan called Kyujutsu (which means the act of mastering the bow) is now known as ‘Kyudo’ (which means the way of the bow). In modern times, the Kyudo is being practiced as a way of achieving moral, physical and spiritual development. After engaging in certain rituals, the Kyudo archer engages in an anarchy sport where he tries to shoot a target of 36 cm in diameter and at least 26 meters away. The bow used in the Kyudo is 2.21 meters in length and it produces out of laminated strips of bamboo.
During the Greco-Roman era, both warfare and hunting archers where usually featured in pottery. The Middle Eastern nations in ancient times were known for their skill in making strong and superior archery equipment and for their advanced archery technique. Their bows had a resemblance with that of the Parthians and Assyrians who are known in the ancient times to be the first to master the art of archery from the back of a moving horse. Attila the Hun and his conquerors defeated a greater part of Europe and Asia. It was the Turkish archers that countered the attacks from the Mongols.
The English longbow came into existence in the middle ages and was used to fight various European battles such as the Agincourt and Crecy. There was even a law in place in ancient Europe that made it mandatory for every adult male to learn and master archery every Sunday. Although the law way not officially repealed, it is no longer enforceable in recent times. The foremost archery game in modern times was held in England in the year 1583 and over 3,000 people participated in the game.