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Crossbow History:

Literary and physical evidence suggest that the crossbow originated in China during the 4th century BC, though a type of crossbow called the gastraphetes may have been independently invented in Greece at about the same period. It wasn't until the 10th or 11th centuries AD that the crossbow became a significant military weapon in Europe. It passed from general military service in the 16th century, but its use for hunting and target shooting has continued to the present day.
 
341 BC Earliest reliable record of crossbow use at battle of Ma-Ling in China.
228 BC Earliest crossbow artifact, a bronze lock mechanism from the tomb of Yu Wang.
0-100 AD Heron of Alexandria describes gastraphetes.
300-700 Roman carvings of crossbows.
385 Vegetius mentions crossbows in DE RE MILITARIA.
1066 Crossbows introduced to England by Normans.
1096 Anna Comnena describes Norman crossbows.
1100-1200 Composite crossbow lath appears.
1139 2nd Lateran Council interdict forbids use of crossbow among Christians.
1192 Crusader victory at Jaffa aided by crossbows.
1314 Earliest reliable record of steel lath.
1346 Genoese crossbowmen defeated at Crecy by English longbowmen.
1373 Earliest illustration of cranequin.
1503 First of many English laws restricting possession and use of crossbows.
1550-1600 Firearms replace crossbows in most Western armies.
1860 Photographic evidence from Chinese shows repeating crossbows still used there as military weapons.
1939-45 "Arrowspeed" crossbow used by Australian commandos in Pacific Theatre.
1945-1975 Crossbows employed by Montagnard peoples and US special forces during Vietnam conflict.
1960?-present Crossbows used to shoot anesthetic darts for capturing and treating wildlife; also used to obtain tissue samples from marine animals for obtaining genetic information.

 

 

 

 

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