Hopkinson Smith : Chaconne de Bach (1988), on lute
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The History of Archery, by Edmund H Burke, 1958
Lamech and Cain, Lucas van Leyden, 1524.
Wellesley archers, 1910s
(Wellesley College Archives)
In Greek mythology, the Amazons were an all-female race of warriors who lived in Scythian lands near the eastern shores of the Black Sea. They are first mentioned in The Iliad, c.750 BC. While no free males were allowed in Amazon territory, the Amazons would become impregnated either from visits to neighboring tribes or from relations with their male slaves. The male offspring that resulted from these unions were killed. The dedication of the Amazon warriors was demonstrated in their cutting off or cauterizing of the right breast, in order to remove that impediment to effective archery.
The origin of this legend is uncertain, but may lie in the practice of defending towns with a trained female home guard while the men were away on military campaign. If the campaign went poorly for the men, there was your town of female warriors sans men.
Which arrow flies for ever? The arrow that has hit its mark. - Vladimir Nabokov, A Russian Beauty
Devana by Andrey Shishkin
Devana = Diana = Artemis
A Terrible Sting —-The Nest of Bees
One of the first gunpowder weapons in history, the “nest of bees” was popular during the Ming Dynasty of China (1368–1644). Unlike larger cannon and rockets, the nest of bees were man portable and easy to use by the common infantryman. The weapon consisted of a tapered rocket pack made from bamboo or wood which held 32 rocket propelled arrows which were fired simultaneously. To use the infantryman only had to light the fuze and aim the battery at the enemy. Because the arrows were rocket propelled they generally had greater range and power compared to traditional archery. The nest of bees also had an economical advantage since it could take a great deal of time to train proficient archers, whereas the nest of bees could be used with anyone who had enough skill to light a fuze. The nest of bees lacked the accuracy of traditional archers, but accuracy was not the point. Typically the weapons were deployed by the hundreds, showering the enemy with volleys of arrows like a deadly swarms of bees.
Both men and women participate in a horseback archery ritual called ‘yabusame’. It is almost exclusively considered a religious rite; in addition to the aspect of offering involved, the archers’ performance is used as a means of divination for the year’s harvest.