Homer Hesiod Hymns Tragedy Remythologizing Tools Blackboard Info
Form: Gr. toxon, Lat. arcus.
Two kinds of bow were known to antiquity. One consisted of the two horns of a kind of antelope, or an arm of wood shaped like them, joined together by a bridge which served both as a hold for the hand and as a rest for the arrow. The string, made of plaited horse-hair or twisted ox-gut, was fastened to each end (fig. 1). The other, called the Scythian or Parthian bow, was made of a piece of elastic wood, the ends of which were tipped with metal, and bent slightly upwards to hold the string (fig. 2). The arrow (Gk. oistos, or toxeuma, Lat. sagitta) was made of a stem of reed or light wood, one end furnished with a threecornered point, sometimes simple and sometimes barbed; the other end with feathers. A notch in the shaft served to place it on the string. The arrows (and sometimes the bow) were kept in a quiver (pharetra) made of leather, wood, or metal, fitted with a suspender, and sometimes open, sometimes having a lid. The quiver was worn either on the back, according to the Greek manner, or in Oriental fashion, on the left hip. The Cretans had the reputation of being the best archers among the Greeks. They generally served among the light-armed auxiliaries as a special corps. Mounted bowmen were employed by the ancient Athenians (see HIPPEIS); but it was not until after the Punic wars that archers formed a regular part of the Roman army. They were then furnished by the allies, or raised by recruiting, and were mostly taken from Crete and the Balearic Islands.

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