Europe, 1200 - wood and iron

Sketch by Leonardo DaVinci

The first pictorial evidence of European hand-held wooden crossbows dates to about 1200 CE. Introduced from the East during the Crusades, they were initially outlawed by religious leaders who considered them to be inappropriate for Christian warfare, but their effectiveness in battle soon prevailed over theological concerns. Crossbows were used in war until the 17th century, are still used for sport today.

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