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An extract from Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066
by Ian Heath

97.      ARAB ARCHER

The Arabs were using composite and self bows of up to 5 feet in length long before the advent of Islam and the how had become one of their national weapons. Unusually, they carried it on the right shoulder. Legend records that Mohammed often used to lean on a bow while preaching, and the Koran says 'the hand of man has not wielded a weapon which the bow cannot excel.' Quivers normally contained 30 arrows.

Fatimid armies recruited their archers from the Sudanese (see note 104). Earlier sources call them Nubians and the accuracy of their archery is recorded as early as 643, when they blinded so many Arabs by their showers of arrows that they were nicknamed 'the archers of the eyes'.

Next: 98 & 99. ARAB CAVALRYMEN in Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066 by Ian Heath