Archery has been one of the most important inventions in history. Though today it is practiced primarily as a sport, archery formed nations (and destroyed some others). Once it was adapted to warfare, generals and kings demanded their citizens be trained at archery to be ready at a moment’s notice if other armies invaded. Once their archers took to horseback, they became lethal weapons which made invading armies think twice.
Archery has seen a recent revival across the world, including in pop culture through expert sharpshooter Katniss Everdeen (on our list) from The Hunger Games. It continues to be a fixture at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. In fact, the 1992 Olympic torch was lit by a flaming arrow fired from a Paralympic archer. The archery facts on this list aren’t your run of the mill facts – they span the history, culture, and significance of archery – from thousands of years ago to this very decade. Archery has significantly shaped our world – physically via warfare and hunting and allegorically via legends of famous sharpshooters such as the Greek god Artemis and do-gooder Robin Hood. So, without further ado, why not set your sights on this list of facts that hit the bullseye:
1) A strong Paralympic history
The first official Paralympic Games were held in Rome in 1960. Eight sports debuted, including archery. Though the sport began for veterans with World War II spinal cord injuries, it has opened up over time to include all athletes. (Other sports at the first games included wheelchair fencing and table tennis.)
2) National sport
Archery is the national sport of Bhutan, a mountainous Himalayan country just north of India. Almost every village has an archery range, but, since it’s a Buddhist country, archery is only for sport.
3) Pulling a “Robin Hood”
Famous do-gooder Robin Hood was reputed to be an expert at the bow. Legends of the bowman have become so popular that splitting an arrow with another is now referred to as a Robin Hood.
4) Archery in astrology
The astrological sign Sagittarius is named after its constellation of the same name (not to be confused with the constellation Sagitta, “the arrow”). This Zodiac sign is depicted as a centaur pulling back on a bow, ready to fire its arrow.
5) Archery’s history
Archery began in Ancient Babylon and Egypt as a hunting tactic but was soon adopted in warfare. Once it spread to Asia and the Middle East, its purpose broadened into sport.
6) Mounted archery
Mounted archery – the use of bows and arrows while atop a mount such as a horse – gained prominence during the Iron Age. It was a much more efficient killing method than the chariots used during the Bronze Age.
7) Archery gets an upshot
It took centuries for archery to advance beyond its basic roots. In the early 20th century, a group of scientists and engineers used high-speed photography to analyze different bow and arrow designs. The culmination was the 1947 book “Archery: The Technical Side” which led to new innovations such as fiberglass bows and making the bow grip more like a pistol handle.
8) Landing on the line
When an arrow hits the line between two circles, points are awarded for the higher score. This situation is called a line breaker.
A toxophilite is the name for an archer, coming from the Greek words for “lover of the bow”. Toxophily is the study of archery and Toxophilus was the first book written on archery, in 1545 by Roger Ascham.
10) Archery in mythology
Archery has long been featured in the mythology of many cultures, from the gods Artemis and Apollo for the Greeks to Osoosi for the West African Yorubas to Arjuna and Shiva for the Hindus.
Fancy getting in touch with your inner Robin Hood or Katniss Everdeen and discover fun and challenges aplenty for you and a friend? With 108 locations situated across the UK, why not WIN an Archery Experience for Two and feel what it’s really like to participate in some adrenaline-pumping fun!