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. Set your sights on this list of 25 Archery Facts That Hit The Bullseye.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.