The composite bow was made from a combination of horn, sinew, wood and various animal glues. It manifested in a variety of recurve designs and was adopted by a staggering diversity of cultures, from nomadic tribal people such as the Huns, Turks and Mongols, to mighty empires such as the Romans, Persians and Chinese. Offering high power and portability, the composite bow was especially effective in the hands of the horse-archer, though it was also used by infantry in open battle and as a siege weapon. More recently, the traditional technology of the composite bow has led directly to the development of modern sporting bows made of substitute composite materials and recurve designs.
In this important study, Mike Loades, an expert on historical archery, tells the story of this extraordinary piece of military hardware:how it was made and how various cultures developed differing tactics for using it. He explains why the composite bow achieved such stunning successes and how it endured as a weapon of choice for thousands of years.
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