Essay on Bow and Arrow: The Long Distance Effect

Essay on Bow and Arrow: The Long Distance Effect

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Since primeval times, people have been fascinated by bow and arrow. This combination was the first machine and the ‘extended arm’ of man – right after the throwing of stones or the spear – and is the epitome of the ‘long-distance effect’.

Bow and arrow improved this long-distance effect, have mechanized it and made it more efficient. Now, the extended arm could reach farther and the distance to the target became larger and more secure. From the beginning, man has used this weapon not only for hunting, but also for armed conflict, murder and raids.

The system and technique of supplying an arrow with kinetic energy through the tension of limbs has been improved with the crossbow. The big catapults took up once again the principle of throwing stones. It all changed with the invention of the gunpowder. Cannons, guns and handheld weapons assumed the role of bow and arrow. Now, the warlike intention behind the long-distance effect went even more into the foreground.

Bombs and shells changed the scenery again. Missiles, so far generating their destructive forces solely from their momentum of mass and velocity, now carried explosive material to the target. The old flaming arrows already followed this principle.

Subsequently, this kind of the long-distance effect had to occur more and more away from the position of launching to prevent self-damage. Therefore, the fulfillment of a long dream of the human race, to be able to fly, came just in time – and now, not everything that came from above was good anymore.

At the end of this development, we find the missiles. They now unite all features and we can even guide them to their target.

Today, if we follow the impact of remote-controlled missiles when watching TV and the n...


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...lish language. It was written as a dialog between two characters, Philologus (a lover of study) and Toxophilus (a lover of bow and arrow). Toxophilus is a scientist and a supporter of archery as a noble sport.

This book was also important in other respect: It demonstrated that one could write books or instructions in English, in a clear and generally understandable fashion.

In these days, even when the books had been published in English, the writers had used strange words from the Latin-, French- or Italian language to make things dark and mysterious.

Roger Ascham avoided neologisms and ‘flowery’ terms and contributed to the success of the English language as a vehicle of wider communication. Some descriptions of the environment, like the way in which the wind influences the flight path of an arrow, were vivid and unparalleled in English writing before.

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