Archery dates back to the Paleolithic Age, or the Stone Age, which is said to be between 10k and 50k years ago. It grew in popularity as a method for hunting and warfare.
Some of the most famous and earliest recordings of archery we have are those in Ancient Egypt. By the time of the pharaohs, archery was widespread throughout East Africa. We now have countless hieroglyphs depicting archers during times of war.
Archery was all the rage in Greco-Roman antiquity as well. The Greek god Apollo was deemed the god of archery, and Artemis, the goddess of hunting, is often depicted with a bow. Alexander the Great is said by historians to have taken personal command of certain sectors of his army, notably including the archers.
For China, archery has long played a crucial role in its history. Archery is known as one of the six noble arts of the Zhou Dynasty which lasted from 1146BCE – 256BCE. Archery was a necessary skill for the Chinese emperors, and Confucius himself was an archery instructor.
Archery was also found in early Japanese history, and a method called “kyudo” (the way of the bow) was developed and practiced religiously.
The Middle Ages saw archery continue in its dominance of warfare techniques, and it was quite important to the Vikings also. Eventually, however, the invention of firearms dictated archery obsolete in warfare. Today, it is practiced as a recreational activity, and it’s ton of fun!