), an arrow. The account of the arrows of Hercules (Hesiod,
130-134) enumerates and describes three parts, viz.
the point, the shaft, and the feather. Pollux (1.137) says that the
feathered end was called the head of the arrow.
I. The point was denominated ἄρδις
whence the instrument, used to extract arrow-heads from the bodies of the
wounded, was called ἀρδιοθήρα.
] Great quantities of
flint arrow-heads are found in Celtic barrows throughout the north of
Europe, in form exactly resembling those which are still used by the Indians
of North America (Hoare's Anc. Wiltshire, South,
Nevertheless the Scythians and Massagetae had them of bronze (Herod. ll. cc.
A large number of flint arrow-heads, some of them finely shaped, have also
been found in Italy, in deposits of the Stone age. Specimens may be seen in
the prehistoric galleries of the British Museum. The Aethiopians in the army
of Xerxes tipped their arrows with a sharpened stone, which they also used
for engraving gems (Hdt. 7.69
). Mr. Dodwell found
black flint arrow-heads in the large tumulus of Marathon, and concludes that
they had belonged to the Persian army (Tour through Greece,
vol. ii. p. 159). Those used by the Greeks were commonly bronze, as is
expressed by the epithet χαλκήρης,
“fitted with bronze,” which Homer applies to an arrow (Il. 13.650
). Herodotus, however (7.69), speaks as if iron was the natural
material to be employed.
The Homeric arrow-head was “three-tongued” (τριγλώχις,
) and had barbs (ὄγκοι,
). Its form is shown by the annexed woodcuts.
Arrow-heads found in Attica.
The two smaller, one of which shows a rivethole at the side for fastening it
to the shaft, are from the plain of Marathon (Skelton, Illust. of
Armour at Goodrich Court,
i. pl. 44). The third specimen was
also found in Attica (Dodwell, l.c.
). Some of the
Northern nations, who could not obtain metal, barbed their arrowheads with
bone (Tac. Germ.
The use of poisoned arrows (venenatae sagittae
is always represented by the Greek and Roman authors as the characteristic
of barbarous nations. It is attributed to the Sauromatae and Getae (Ovid,
Ov. Tr. 2.10
4.7, 11, 12); to the Scythians (Plin. Nat. 11.53.115
), and to the Arabs
(Pollux, 1.138) and Moors (Hor. Od. 1.22
). When Ulysses wishes to have recourse
to this insidious practice, he is obliged to travel north of the country of
the Thesprotians (Hom. Od. 1.261
); and the classical authors who mention it
do so in terms of condemnation (Hom. Plin. ll. cc.;
Aelian, Ael. NA 5.16
). The poison applied to
the tips of arrows having been called toxicum
), on account of its connexion
with the use of the bow (Plin. Nat.
; Festus, s.v. Dioscor. 6.20), the signification of this term
was afterwards extended to poisons in general
2.4, 4; Hor. Epod.
Propert. 1.5, 6).
II. The excellence of the shaft consisted in being long and at the same time
straight, and in being well polished (Hes. Scut.
arrows of the Carduchi were more than two cubits long, and were used as
javelins by the Greeks (Xen. Anab. 4.2
the shaft often consisted of a smooth cane or reed (Arundo donax
Linn.: cf. Plin. Nat. 16.36.65
), and on
this account the whole arrow was called poetically either arundo
in the one case (Verg. A.
8.382), or calamus
other (Verg. Buc. 3.13
Ovid, Ov. Met. 7.778
; Hor. Od. 1.15
;> Juv. 13.80
). In the Egyptian
tombs reed arrows have been found, varying from 34 to 22 inches in length.
They show the slit (γλνφίς,
Hom. Il. 4.122
; Od. 21.419
) cut in the reed for fixing it upon the string
(Wilkinson, Man. and Cust. &c.
vol. i. p. 309).
III. The feathers are shown on ancient monuments of all kinds, and are
indicated by the terms alae
(Verg. A. 9.578
), pennatae sagittae
498), and πτερόεντες ὀϊστοί
), but it is doubtful if the Homeric epithet has any
reference to the feathers. The arrows of Hercules are said to have been
feathered from the wings of a black eagle (Hes. l.c.
Besides the use of arrows in the ordinary way, they were sometimes employed
to carry fire. Xerxes captured the Acropolis in this manner (Her. 8.52).
Julius Caesar attempted to set Antony's ships on fire by sending βελη πυρφόρα
from the bows of his archers (D. C. 50.34
; cf. Pollux, 1.137). A head-dress of
small arrows is said to have been worn by the Indians (Prudentius, l.c.
), the Nubians, and the Aethiopians of Meroe
(Claudian, de Nupt. Honor.
222; de III. Cons.
21; de Laud. Stil.
In the Greek and Roman armies the sagittarii,
more anciently called arquites,
i.e. archers, or
bowmen (Festus, s. v.), formed an important part of the light-armed infantry
(Caesar, Caes. Civ. 1.81
; Cic. Fam.
). They belonged, for the most part, to the allies, and were
principally Cretans. [ARCUS; CORYTUS; PHARETRA;