MAN’S EARLIEST weapon was his fist. Two men faced one another and victory went to him who best combined strength and skill. We need only recall our “little-boy” days to understand the contempt our earliest ancestors must have felt for the sly fellow who threw rocks at the opponent he feared to meet in hand-to-hand combat. But rocks proved effective and talking against them did not make the weaker man stop using them. So gradually everyone accepted the rock as a legitimate weapon and before long a David was being highly acclaimed for his skill in throwing one.
Staves, swords, and lances made their appearance without adverse criticism. They again brought man into individual combat. But the genius who invented the bow, and the knave who from a safe hiding place first discharged an arrow at a distant foe, found few admirers. The knights and gentlemen grudgingly included the bow and arrow as a weapon of war but disdainfully placed it in the hands of serfs and yeomen while they proudly held to their swords and lances. Not until after the feats of the British long bowmen at the Battle of Cressy was the archer given a place of honor in the armies of his world.