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Crossbow: Its History, Origin, and Its Different Type

September 30, 2018
Crossbow Its History, Origin, and Its Different Type

If you are a hunting enthusiast, you may know about it or maybe even used the best crossbow in one of your hunting trips.

A crossbow is a “medieval weapon made up of a bow that’s fixed transversely on a stock that has a trigger mechanism for shooting an arrow and mostly accompanied by a mechanism for bending a bow.” It is also described as a “bow-based weapon,” with a horizontal bow-like structure called the prod, that is used for shooting projectiles that are sometimes called as bolts and quarrel. Quite complicated isn’t it? In simpler term, it is a weapon for shooting an arrow.

You might be mistaking it for the bows that archers use. To help you picture it in your head; have you watched The Walking Dead? If yes, then we are sure you have seen the weapon one of the characters uses to shoot zombies in the head. Yes, that’s right. You got it now!

It is said that crossbow is a younger sibling of the bow and arrow. However, its origin, about when and where it started is very obscure.

History and Origin

The crossbow has a long history that dates back to the 4th and15th century BC.

Let’s learn how the best crossbow of today started.

best crossbow

In East Asia

It is believed that crossbows were used by China as one of their primary military weapons from the Warring States, up to the Han Dynasty. However, together with the fall of the Han Dynasty, is the fall of its reputation. At the time of the of the Tang Dynasty, crossbows recovered a bit from its fall down. Moreover, the demand for the use of the crossbow as a military weapon has continued to decline, from the Song Dynasty until after the Mongol conquest to China. Not even once during those times that the crossbow reclaimed its fame because its production has already been replaced in support of firearms and traditional composite bows.

Archeological Evidence

As for archeological facts and evidence is concerned, crossbow locks made from cast bronze dating to around 650 BC, were found in China. Also, a bronze crossbow bolts that are dating from mid-5th century BC were found at a Chu burial site in Yutaishan, Jiangling County, Hubei Province. More early discoveries of crossbows, dating from mid-4th century BC, have been discovered in Tomb 138 at Saobatang, Hunan Province.

In Europe (Ancient Greece)

Heron of Alexandria described a crossbow called gastraphetes in the first century AD because he believed that it was where the catapult’s structure was based. Gastraphetes was a “crossbow mounted on a stock divided into a lower and upper section. The lower was a case fixed to the bow while the upper was a slider which had the same dimension as the case.” There were no other proofs of the crossbow in ancient Europe aside from the gastraphetes and the two stone relief carving from a Roman grave in Gaul. Also, some unclear archives of images that shows of what seem to be crossbow by Vegetius Pictish, dated between the 6th and 9th centuries AD. However, it is used mainly for hunting, unlike China which used it as a military weapon.

Not until 947, when the French used them as a weapon at the time of the siege of Senlis crossbows are not included in European sources. Crossbows and crossbowmen were then recognized and were given a high-status position in the European militaries, from the 11th century onward. During the 16th-century, cannons and muskets outstood crossbows. However, hunters continued to use them because it did not give off loud noise, unlike other weapons. Nowadays, people use crossbows for hunting and for sports.

Different Types of Crossbow

As of today, crossbows look and work differently from each other because of its continuous innovation and evolution. Below is a list of the different types of best crossbow you can choose from:

Recurve Crossbow

As compared to other crossbows, this crossbow has a longer draw length, that gives its users a lesser hand shock and better acceleration. This crossbow is noisy and requires the use of a bowstring silencer.

best crossbow

Compound Crossbow

Compound crossbows require its users to exert greater pressure because it’s stiffer than the usual crossbow.

Pistol Crossbows

Just like a pistol, Pistol Crossbows come in small sizes.

Rifle Crossbows

This crossbow gives its users a better aim.

Bullet Crossbows

This is called Bullet Crossbow because it shoots bullet-looking projectiles made of stone, lead, or clay.

Repeating Crossbows

If you want to shoot at a faster rate, this crossbow is the one for you. With just a single move everything will follow.

Crossbows vary depending on the amount of energy needed from the user, its size, an acceleration system, and degree of automation.