Tag Archives: archery history

Did the Ancient Greeks Really Think Archers Were Cowards?

One of my favorite bloggers is Spenser Alexander McDaniel, who is a young man still in college studying classics. He blogs about things historical and this post caught my eye. I recommend it (Did the Ancient Greeks Really Think Archers Were Cowards?) to you if you are interested and his blog also.

He writes very, very well for one so young. He does quite a bit of debunking of the stories we tell ourselves about ancient peoples and the more I read his posts, the more “just like us” these people become. Granted they had quite different beliefs and attitudes, but otherwise the ancient Greeks, Romans, Persians, Hebrews, etc. would fit into our modern spectrum of peoples quite easily.

 

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I am currently reading a 1643 treatise on archery, written by a Chinese expert, and it sounds quite modern (not so surprisingly as the bows will teach us what we need to know).

I am fascinated by fact that they used quite heavy bows, but of course these were a military weapons, not just a target toys. Once they developed good form they would begin exercising to build up their ability to draw heavier drawing bows. Some of their practice bows went over 200# of draw! These were bows that were designed not to be shot, just to train with, but there were occasionally bows with such draw weights that were designed to be shot. Just thinking about that causes me to ache!

So, do you know any exercises designed to be able to increase the amount of draw weight you can handle? If so, I would like to know about them.

Steve

PS I will be writing a review of this book for Archery Focus magazine as soon as I get it done. Interestingly the author was shooting off of the point 200 years before Horace Ford popularized that practice in the western tradition. I think westerners could learn a few things by looking at Asian traditions.

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