Because of his physical nature, human has always been in a struggle to survive Of course, his biggest struggle was not against nature He had to develop various new tools to be sheltered, to be protected from enemies and to be fed And certainly the most important of these tools which have completely changed his destiny the bow and arrow! The bow and arrow primarily gave humans the chance of hunting animals which were faster than him, and then the ability of fighting in groups from a distance The target of the arrow had also determined the destination of humanity Many civilizations which recognised the power of this weapon got in a race to perfect it for survival But the bow and arrow became splendid in the hands of Turks, the powerful warriors of the steppe If you live in the middle of a cruel steppe, your existence depends on catching the opportunities instantly The most important thing is to be flexible Ouch. I can’t feel my hands We are ready to measure We need to separate the tendon from the leg Let’s start then In this documentary, we will follow the age-old journey of this weapon with mankind, and under its guidance, we will trace the Turkish archers from Middle Asia to Europe Ouch. It hurts to even think something like that has been removed from my body And of course we will explore the power of this weapon through the amazing experiments prepared by the expert team The arrow is already off the bow! Get ready! Man had always felt the need for a long-range weapon that he could throw forward for hunting the animals which he could not get close to and he had filled this gap with a spear until the invention of the bow Janbi and his team will show us the features of the spear which was the most important range weapon until man discovered the bow It can be surprising but the progenitor of today’s 10,000 kilometres-range missiles was this spear There is no doubt it was a perfect hunting weapon in its era It was easy to produce By connecting a sharp stone or a piece of bone to the end of a stick, you could have had the longest-range weapon of that time Here it is Now I can try my primitive spear With the help of sport sciences Ferhat and his team, Janbi will showcase the advantages and disadvantages of the spear that was the most important range weapon of men There is a projection of a wild animal on the wall as the target in their simulation On the front, there are trenches that designate the closest distance Janbi can approach the target without being noticed The time between the start of Janbi’s throwing action when he let’s go of the spear off his hand and the speed after releasing it are very important Because this time period also indicates the duration for the prey to notice Janbi and escape You won’t have the time to throw the second spear Don’t forget, you have just one chance to not to starve How are the results? Mustafa, could you please display the results on the screen? It took 3 seconds for you to leave the trench and throw your spear The speed of your spear was 10 meters per second
So it means you lost 5 seconds total in a 20-meter distance I guess we stay hungry today Briefly, yes you do So if I leave the trench faster and make a shot, this may increase the speed of my spear shot But it is quite difficult to presume the direction the prey will flee to when it notices me The big moves of your arm and body that makes the prey notice you when you show up to throw the spear, decreases your success rate Even so, the spear was a magnificent discovery and a great inspiration for mankind on behalf of the long-range weapons Even it has disadvantages, hunting with a spear made them more successful than hunting by hand Especially, as planned group huntings increased the efficiency of this weapon But humanity wouldn’t have been contented with this The next level was the invention of the primitive bow Bow and arrow The greatest discovery of mankind after the fire We don’t know when or where this weapon first appeared The time, when the drawings in the caves in district of Levante, Spain had been made, can be said as the beginning of the military archery And that takes us to the years 18.000’s B.C But the oldest sample of a bow that we have is the 8500-years old ‘Holmegaard Bow’ that found in Denmark Recently, in Yenikapı Istanbul during the excavations for a subway construction, a 37 cm-long bow piece that is dated to 7000’s BC was found It can take place in the literature of oldest known bows when its exact age is determined So, what were the characteristics of the extant first bows? Which advantages superseded the spear? Bow master Ibrahim and Janbi will try to find the answers to the question by making a sample of the first bow used in the world The mathematics of the first bows used in world history was very simple They used to carve a flexible piece of wood and bind it with a rope I choose oak for this bow Because it is easy to process, whereas it is durable and more importantly, it is flexible Considering that the cutting tools used in that era did not develop so much, it makes sense for them to prefer such wood Absolutely The types of trees chosen varied from region to region, but the reasons for choosing them were the same Durability, flexibility and easy to processing These are the three golden rules of the bow technology at that period A slender-bodied tree or branch with these characteristics would be cut along lengthways to make its physical strength most efficient After a series of sanding it down, the wood whichtook the form of a bow, was bonded by a simple rope called “string” Deer bowel, plant fibre or rawhide was used for making the strings of simple bows They were attaching the prepared string to the two notched edges People didn’t have big nails or sharp teeth But they had the imagination that could have covered up their deficiency They invented a tool which could have totally changed their destiny by combining a wood stick and plant fibre Now with a simple bow, I will repeat the similar test I did with the spear I will use bone-tipped arrows in the test to be able to represent that era precisely Up until today I had the chances to make shots with a lot of different types of bows but this is my first try with the forerunner of bows Frankly I don’t know how successful I will be We will witness this together in the testing Janbi will shoot his shot into a ballistic gel The most compelling factor is the animal hide that we placed in front of it This way we will see the real power of the weapon during the hunting Are you ready? I am ready My arrow succeeded to penetrate the hide and got stuck in the gel Well, is this enough to kill my prey?
The destruction it made cannot be compared to a spear of course But ancient people found a solution for this by poisoning the head of the arrow I can have a feast tonight then (laughter) Janbi lost five seconds while he was shooting with spear And that caused the prey to notice him and escape The arrow he shot from the same distance took only 2 seconds to reach its target As you see the bow increased the distance between you and your prey beyond the imagination of the people at that time Test results show us that spear cannot compete against the bow That’s just because the bow has become man’s most important long-range weapon And also because it uses less muscular force The bow allowed people to reach more food and naturally increased their population after its introduction into their lives These developments would have caused significant breaks in world history The first people to hunt with a bow probably thought like this Why don’t we use this effective weapon against our enemies? This thought would change the history of war and the world radically The bow and arrow would become a crucial factor in the rise and fall of civilisations However, the idea of using the bow against enemies became concrete after people had adopted a sedentary life Because the concept of ownership was part of the lives of people defending their regions Ownership would bring another concept: War! Mankind would now have to protect himself from the wildest creature in nature Namely from himself Now it was a start of a period in which those who could make more powerful weapons and marshall could survive Beyond any doubt, the bow would be the weapon affected the most by this development The only result people wanted to achieve when improving the bow was throwing the arrow farthest in the most effective way Whoever could accomplish this on the battlefield would force his enemy into indispensable manoeuvres and gain an advantage The development of the bow would of course be occur after long practices The first thing to do was to increase the speed and range of their simple bow The bow is the first invention that stores energy while bending with the muscular force of the man When the archer releases the string he has stretched, the arrow goes forward at great speed due to the release of stored energy It means the more the bow stretches, farther the arrow would go The most important detail here is that the body of the bow is resistant to maximum tension Now Ibrahim and Janbi will together to test the first bow in world history which they produced according to the references for the maximum tension force that the bow can resist Thus, they will have the opportunity to follow the development of the bow technology step by step I am coming 1 kilo We have reached 5 kilos I am sure it will break if we push a little more But I am curious to know how much force it can resist The force of the simple bow that we produced is nearly 7 kilograms That means we don’t have an effective range-weapon People began to lengthen the bow to increase the effective range of the simple bows which resisted a force of 7 kilograms Thus they maintained more energy storage on it But they would need a new technological revolution if they wanted to have a powerful weapon The highest technology achievement that could be reached for the simple bows was this Now the bows had reached a human height, and producing longer bows meant having an impractical weapon So the engineers of the time needed a new idea We can see that Assyrian engineers revolutionised bow technology thanks to the wall paintings from the Assyrians who ruled in the early ages The most important detail in the paintings is the shortening of
the bow length So, how was the bow, which was still made of wood more useful and more powerful? Based on the old paintings, Ibrahim and Janbi will try to show us the traces of this revolution Assyrians propped up the bow body with different materials Therefore, the lengths of bows would get shorter and its impact power would be higher than ever Probably there were similar developments in bow technology in different geographies But of course the wall paintings that have survived from the Assyrians give clearer information on these developments So this gives us the opportunity to make a similar Assyrian bow of that period Let’s explore the secrets of the Assyrian bow together The first material used to develop the bows was the animal tendon The back of the bow bodies was covered with this material and ‘nerve-backed bows’ were produced In the following periods, the stronger ‘composite bows’ were produced by attaching a horn to the belly of the bow The Assyrians were able to have short and strong bows thanks to these components By using this ancient knowledge which was left by Assyrians, Ibrahim and Janbi will produce a composite bow with the same techniques But they should be very careful during this process Because the slightest mistake can make the bow weak and have it break during the shot All components of the bows to be produced from that time in history were now brought together With the latest developments, the bow has become a very important weapon This would make it the mos murderous weapon in the history of war In order to better understand the development of the bows it is important to get to know the armour developed for defence purposes Because defence equipment developed parallel to the attack weapons This was the unchanging cycle of war technology When you look at the reliefs in the Ishtar Temple in the Babylonian Empire, you can see a detail that draws attention on the clothes of the soldiers Short sleeve bronze armour It seems the Babylonians, who were at war with the Assyrians, had developed their defences against composite bows Janbi will test the impact power of the Assyrian bow with the set up prepared by Ferhat Let’s see if the Babylonians’ armour can protect them from the Assyrian bow, one of the world’s first composite bows The set up we prepared in order to evaluate Janbi’s new bow the target is an armoured Babylonian soldier We will also try to revive a real moment of battle as much as possible by shooting from two different distances Yes, what about the results? I see your shots at close-range yielded were better Mustafa, could you please display the results on the screen? The speed of the close-range shot is 162 kilometres per hour And as I can see from here it pierced the armour and made a deep wound in the gel Let’s have a look closer I want to see the effects of the other shots Come on let’s see First, let’s observe the blue arrows that you shoot from the first shooting point Two of my arrows succeeded to pierce the armour Yes, it definitely caused a fatal wound So there is no way for this soldier to continue in the battle There is even the possibility of dying of blood loss on the battlefield depending on where the arrow is stuck
Janbi succeeded to pierce the Babylonian armour with the two blue arrows shot from a 15 meters distance One of them even made a 5-cm wound in the ballistic gel What about the red arrows? The red arrows, one of them was stuck deep in the gel and caused a fatal wound So all four of arrows succeeded to pierce the armour Indeed a soldier on the attacking side at the battlefield is likely to be hit by 4 arrows in the body Meaning, this test reflects almost exactly what a soldier would encounter while attacking against an archer unit At first view, we may think that bronze armour failed against the Assyrian bow But it is very important not to forget this detail This armour was developed at a time when the arrows easily travelled 150 meters, the bows could only be fatal at distances of 30 meters The bronze armour was still vital in the face of shots from 150-200 meters Although these armours did not provide 100% protection, it was a significant improvement in defence But bow technology was still one step ahead We can say Assyrians had one of the longest-range weapons of that age With the help of this weapon, they managed to establish a great empire The Assyrians, who turned the bow into a more efficient weapon were followed by horse-drawn archers of the Hittite civilization In the year 500’s AC, the Romans made a big change in the accurate shooting of the target by developing the technique of pulling the bow towards the eye, rather than the shoulder Well, who was the one made the bow perfect? There is a fact accepted by the whole world the most enhanced version of the bow and arrow was the product of the Central Asian Turkish tribes As Ibn Khaldun said, ‘Geography is destiny‘ In order to survive under the conditions of Central Asia, the Turks chose the bow and arrow as a friend These skills and techniques of the Turks, the nomads of the steppe, made them dominant in Asia, and at the same made their fame spread to large territories Scythians, the first tribe that comes to mind when talking about Turkish archery lived between the 8th century BC to 3rd century BC in the east of Europe and in the Tien Shan territory of Central Asia The reason for this existence and fame for five centuries was undoubtedly that they were the best archers of that time This depiction of the Scythian warrior shooting arrows backwards in this Greek vase, tells us a lot about their fame If we take into account that only great heroism and unforgettable events were recorded at that time, we would understand better why the Greeks were so impressed by the Scythians Because the Scythians broke new ground in this area Although the debate continues on whether the Scythians are Turks or not, many historians agree that they are a mixed archer tribe including Turks We also consider the Scythians as our starting point when researching Turkish history To be the best in the archery requires very hard work For this reason, each Scythian man and woman without exception would start training from the moment they were born and continued until they used the bow as a part of their body But being masters of archery was not the only skill of the Scythians They had designed their own excellent bow But what distinguishes this bow from other composite ones? Historian Koray Şerbetçi will help Janbi and Ibrahim to trace the Scythian bow Look, this is the plate on which the Greeks depict the famous Scythian archer This is the oldest drawing of the Scythian bow that we have The M-shape is probably a signature of the Scythian bow masters Well, was this the greatest innovation the Scythians had added to the bow technology at that time? We can say so The opposing curves are the output of a fantastic imagination It’s also a marvel of engineering Through the curves, they created the maximum tension force in the bow and increased the arrow range to over 300 meters They achieved almost three times the range the Assyrians did They totally deserve to be drawn here But what I really want to show you and what excited me is this photograph Why is this so important? Because this is a photograph of a 3000-year-old Scythian bow
found in a monumental tomb in Xinjiang, China The Scythian bow in the grave and the Greek plate drawing are exactly the same The plate drawing of the Greeks we were only informed about the shape of the bow But thanks to the monumental tomb, we had the chance to analys all the materials that the bow was made of We are now 100% sure what kind of bows our ancestors used The Scythians believed that their dead would need their bows to fight in the afterlife Because they were sure that with their bows they could now easily eliminate the obstacles that they would face in the world of the dead by repeating the best thing they knew Therefore, the bows they used in wars were buried with them Thanks to these tombs, we again have the weapons that the Scythians had improved by inheriting from father to son Think about that, we can reproduce a weapon used by our ancestors 3000 years ago in the same way This is an amazing fact, that few civilisations can do today Ibrahim and Janbi have continued to work on the photographs and notes left by historian Koray Şerbetçi and have begun to rediscover the ancient secrets of the Scythians who revolutionized bow technology with their designs There was a different feature of the Scythian bow in the photographs we looked at While the horns were placed on the outer part of the bows used in that time, the Scythians divided the bow body into two and place the horn between them Well, what about these materials? There is a different feature in the parts of the frame that differentiates the Scythians bows from others When we examine the Assyrian bow, if you pay attention, the main core material consists of a single piece, the Scythians split the spring body into 3 pieces While even a single-frame bow sometimes can be broken, How is it possible that such a bow does not break with the force it encounters? The answer of that question is the glue At that time, the Scythians used a glue obtained from the air sac of the Sturgeon In addition, the tamarisk in the main body that forms the frame of the Scythian bow had the ability to absorb more glue than other trees So everything is excellent Excellent materials brings out an excellent bow In fact, the Scythian bow had to be kept in a dry environment for 1 year after the manufacturing stage in order to function In this short period I was only able to show Janbi the manufacturing stages So today Janbi is going to test the Scythian bow I made earlier The simple bow could withstand a force of 7 kilograms and the Assyrian bow, one of the first Composite bows in history could withstand a force of 25 kilograms Well, were Scythian bows, which led to a major revolution in bow technology, as powerful as described? Yes I opened it It came Okay I am summing up 5 kilos 8 kilos Nearly reaching 10 kilos and I and still going on Literally 35 kilos and still one piece If I hadn’t seen it with my bare eyes, nobody would have convinced me that this bow was made of 3 different pieces It is really a very strong bow When archaeologists open a grave, they know whether the dead was an archer or not according to the difference between its arms The main reason for this was that the Scythian bow was very strong A good composite Scythian bow could be used for exactly 200 years Each Scythian father taught his son or daughter how to make this bow From the type of wood to the production of glue he would convey all the secrets he knew and help him to make his own bow Now Janbi will test the Scythian bow produced according to this tradition We’ve always given Janbi the opportunity to shoot when he was top physically condition Since the bow he brought for this test is very strong, let’s see how his firing ability will change as he gets tired Janbi, you will make continuous shots with the Scythian bow In the meantime, we will measure both pulse changes
and other variables at the time of the shot Let’s see how many arrows you can shoot while a Scythian archer shot between 150 and 200 arrows during the battle So you’re gonna put a 50-kg load on my arm each time That’s okay Mustafa, is everything ready? Almost done. We will be ready till Janbi takes his position Remember Janbi, for the test to work, you should not rest between the shots Roger This time Janbi will have a challenging experience with the Scythian bow which he admired for his design and strength Meantime Ferhat and İbrahim will closely monitor Janbi’s physical performance He is getting tired His body temperature increased and his pulse began to rise I can’t feel my arm I give up If I lived in that time, I wouldn’t even be able to compete with Scythian children How are the results? When we compare your first and last shots, we can make a general conclusion The speed of the arrow reached 183 kilometres per hour in your first shot You stretched the bow for 67 centimetres The temperature of your arm muscle is 37.4 degrees Celsius These results belong to the shot you made at the most favourable conditions And you’ve already hit the target Now can we see the last attempts? I’m preparing the results right now Your stretching distance of the bow has fallen to 60 centimeters and the speed of the arrow to 156 kilometres with the effect of fatigue Your arm muscle’s temperature increased by 1.5 degrees compared to the first shot And you have missed the target Apparently, it looks like my bow has been pretty rough on you Indeed. Here you can take your bow This adventure with Scythian bow is enough to last me a lifetime Especially in the last shots, my arm muscles burned so much that it was impossible to stretch the bow because of the pain I felt I also felt a burning sensation on my back and back muscles and arms And I couldn’t focus on my target I can’t feel my arm. I give up I now understand why Scythians began training from childhood The bow influenced every area of the daily life of the Scythians By this means, using the Scythian bow was far more exhausting The only purpose of these activities was not to strengthen the arm muscles They improved their bow’s strength, arrow’s strength and even new shooting styles through their training We can think of the training grounds as research and development laboratories No matter how strong your bow is, if you don’t have good arrows the yield you get from it will decrease The Scythians produced the most influential arrows of the period with this in mind Starting from the 800s BC, for nearly 500 years, there was no nation which processed mines better than them This advantage brought Scythians to the top in the production of arrowheads What were the ingenious ideas of these inventor warriors for their arrowheads? And how efficient were these ideas in the field? Janbi and Ibrahim will together examine the images obtained from the historical ruins and try to reproduce the ancient Scythian arrowheads Although it was the Iron Age, iron was an expensive ore because it had not yet been produced sufficiently Therefore, utilisation of it was not widespread But the Scythians was also aware that this new mineral was more durable than bronze and they knew if they used iron in their weapons, they would gain an advantage over their enemies For this reason, they preferred to have a certain part of the arrowheads made of iron and cover them with bronze Yes, arrowheads are ready Although this was not done at that time, I also shaped the back part so that it doesn’t lose any energy due to friction
and we get a much better stroke result Good idea I am curious about this hooked one Is it a standard arrowhead of that time? This was the most preferred arrowhead then So when we compare these two, we can see whether the arrowhead designed by the Scythians was successful or not Absolutely Janbi and his team will now observe the advantages the Scythians have achieved through the arrowheads they have designed We have prepared a ballistic gel to see the maximum damage the arrowheads can do This time Ibrahim will also shoot with Janbi Janbi will shoot the hooked arrowhead and Ibrahim will shoot the classic one Let’s have a look at your arrow, Ibrahim Let’s have a look at your arrow, 10 centimetres in Janbi, yours is exactly 7 centimetres in Apparently the Scythians suffered a loss in the impact of their arrows with this design In fact, what I wanted to seein this test was not how deep the arrows were stuck Guys, can we get the gel on the table? You see, when you pull out the normal arrowhead it does not cause huge damage to the gel, whereas the hooked arrow almost completely smashes that part It hurts me to even think of something like that has been removed from my body Obviously your chance of survival was very low when you were hit by a hooked arrow on the battlefield Someone hit with a hooked arrow would have hit a dead end It was not possible to treat the wound without removing the arrow from the body But when the arrow was pulled out, it left a bigger wound in his body In other words, the Scythians were determined not to let the enemy leave the battlefield alive The Turks had become an unstoppable force on the battlefields with the innovations they brought to the bows they chose their comrades in Central Asia But they would not be satisfied with this They would add another piece to the equation to become the invincible warrior of the steppes If you live in the middle of a cruel steppe, your existence depends on catching the opportunities instantly Because every missed opportunity is a fatal defeat against the steppe Every living creature that loses its awareness and loses its mobility becomes a prey in this environment So, the Scythians put horses in the game, which maximised their mobility I want to start with the biggest question I have What was that greatest advantage the horse brought into the battlefield? Speed and manoeuvrability The superiority of a warrior on a horse upon an infantry is unquestionable So, what did this condition change in the battlefield? And that is the main question! The use of mounted archers provided profundity to the battle strategies We cannot speak of a complicated tactic or strategy in a battle with infantry alone We can only compare this to playing chess with pawns You’re in a land far away from the rook and here you can’t find a bishop Indeed this is a very good example If you don’t have a commander with a good at strategy and elements that made a difference, the war would have ended quickly in favour of the outnumbered But the war history of our ancestors is full of stories that prove otherwise Absolutely If there were Turkish warriors who were born on horses and who became legends of archery in your army, the quantitative advantage for the enemy might not make a difference While you could have an effect on the long-lasting combat habits even with a small innovation that you added to the battefielf steppe tribes would change war history radically by putting horses in the game The Turks dedicated themselves to their horses and bows This dedication naturally brought along very important inventions
The stirrup and the saddle would bring the harmony between the rider and the horse to a whole new level Janbi will tell us about the importance of the invention of the stirrup in war history and the development of mounted archery in the track prepared by mounted archery tutor Ercan You know Janbi, the invention of stirrup has started a new era in the war history And it helped a in shooting arrows while on the horse Yes, the warrior’s balance on the horse became even steadier with the discovery of stirrup In this way, they began to use swords and spears easily But most importantly, the accuracy of shooting arrow sharpened So are you ready to try our test to see that difference? I am ready Janbi will shoot at three different points of the 50-meter track on a bareback horse He will then complete the same track with his full-harness horse Now I truly understand that the stirrup and saddle are wonderful inventions Without this equipment, I struggled to keep my balance while galloping When it came to aiming, I was so troubled that I couldn’t even get it to the second target Frankly, I didn’t even know if I’d hit the third target or not while I was shooting the third target The difference that I felt after placing my foot in the stirrups was incredible I was very comfortable and my shots were very stable And yet my hit rate was high The trick to shooting arrows on the horse was catching the moment when the horse four feet were in the air However, both aiming and shooting the arrow was quite a challenge at this moment which took less than 1 second This was actually an easy activity for Turkish tribes who spent their whole lives on horses, but they had to work hard Janbi was able to catch the moment when all four feet of the horse were in the air and shot his arrows at the target Moreover, he controlled his horse more easily with stirrups this time The invention of the stirrup and saddle has started an irreversible era in history This technology which is considered by some experts as one of the most important developments in the history of mankind increased the effectiveness of the cavalry in battles and brought the Turkish tribes to a very important place in history The Turkish mounted archers would turn into a nightmare for the rooted states with the new discoveries These impeccable warriors, with the appearance of the Huns on the history stage, would enable the Turks to spread to a wide geography from Asia to Europe In the next episode we will examine the success of the best mounted archers in the world, Hun Turks, while examining the process of Turks becoming a state And of course, we will untie the mysteries of the whistling arrow of Mete Han Until then, keep your eye on the target!