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comment by yakov
yakov  ·  2742 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 10th Occasional Give Us a Quote from Your Recent Reading

    Because the strain energy storage of horn and tendon, as materials, is better than that of yew, a composite bow can be made shorter and lighter than a wooden one. This is why we talk of a wooden bow as a 'long' bow. The composite bow could be made small enough to be used on horseback, as was indeed done by the Parthians and the Tartans. The Parthian bow was handy enough for the cavalrymen to be able to shoot backwards, as they retreated, at their Roman pursuers; from this we get the phrase 'a Parthian shot'.

From Structures by James Edward Gordon.