A crossbow is a weapon consisting of a bow mounted on a stock that shoots projectiles, often called bolts. A weapon is a Tool used either in Hunting, or attack or defence in Combat for the purpose of subduing enemy personnel or to destroy enemy weapons A bow is a Weapon that projects arrows powered by the elasticity of the bow A mechanism in the stock holds the bow in its fully-drawn position until it is shot by releasing a trigger. Crossbows played a significant role in the warfare of North Africa, Europe and Asia. War is an international relations Dispute, characterized by organized Violence between National Military units North Africa or Northern Africa is the Northernmost Region of the African Continent, separated by the Sahara from Sub-Saharan Crossbows are used today primarily for target shooting and hunting. The shooting sports include those competitive sports involving tests of proficiency (accuracy and speed using various types of Guns such as Firearms and Airguns Hunting is the practice of pursuing Animals for Food, Recreation, or Trade. 
A crossbow is a bow mounted on a stick (called a tiller or stock) with a mechanism in it which holds the drawn bow string. A bow is a Weapon that projects arrows powered by the elasticity of the bow A bow string joins the two ends of the bow stave and launches the Arrow. The earliest designs utilized a slot in the stock, down into which the cocked string was placed. This is sometimes called a 'notchlock' crossbow. To fire this design, a vertical rod is thrust up through a hole in the bottom of the notch, forcing the string out. This rod is usually attached perpendicular to a rear-facing firing lever called a trigger or 'tickler'. A later design, predominant through the end of the 16th century, utilized a rolling cylindrical pawl called a 'nut' to retain the cocked string. This nut has a perpendicular center slot for the bolt, and an intersecting axial slot for the string, along with a lower face or slot against which the internal trigger sits. They often also have some form of strengthening internal 'sear' or trigger face, usually of metal. These 'roller nuts' were either free-floating in their close-fitting hole across the stock, tied in with a binding of sinew or other strong cording, or mounted on a metal axle or pins. Removable or integral plates of wood, ivory or metal on the sides of the stock kept the nut in place laterally. Nuts were made of antler, bone, ivory or metal (usually brass). A trigger system, (usually made of iron or steel from medieval times onwards), was used to retain the force of the cocked string in the nut and then release the nut to spin and the string to shoot the bolt. Sophisticated bronze triggers with safety notches are known to have been used on crossbows from ancient China. Complicated iron triggers that could be released with little strength are known in Europe from the early 1400s. As a result crossbows could be kept cocked and ready to shoot for some time with little effort, allowing crossbowmen to aim better.
The bow (called the "prod" or "lath" on a crossbow) of early crossbows were made of a single piece of wood, usually ash or yew. An ash can be any of four different tree genera from four very distinct families; most commonly in a combined form (e Taxus baccata is a conifer native to western central and southern Europe, northwest Africa, northern Iran and southwest Composite bows are made from layers of different material—often wood, horn and sinew—glued together and bound with animal tendon. These composite bows, made of several layers, are much stronger and more efficient in releasing energy than simple wooden bows. As steel became more widely available in Europe around the 14th century, steel prods came into use.
The crossbow prod is very short compared to ordinary bows, resulting in a short draw length. This leads to a higher draw weight in order to store the same amount of energy. Furthermore the thick prods are a bit less efficient at releasing energy, but more energy can be stored by a crossbow. Traditionally the prod was often lashed to the stock with rope, whipcord, or other strong cording. Whipcord is the name for either a fabric or a form of braided cord This cording is called the bridle. A bridle is a piece of equipment used to control a Horse. The bridle fits over a horse's head and has the purpose of controlling the horse
The strings for a crossbow are typically made of strong fibers that would not tend to fray. Whipcord was very common; however linen, hemp, and sinew were used as well. Whipcord is the name for either a fabric or a form of braided cord A tendon (or sinew) is a tough band of Fibrous connective tissue that usually connects Muscle to Bone and is capable of withstanding tension In wet conditions, twisted mulberry root was occasionally used.
The problem when handling crossbows was the comparably short draw length and the great amount of energy needed. Some light crossbows could be drawn by hand, but for others the help of mechanical devices was needed. Some crossbows had prods of up to at least 800 pounds of draw, if not more. Draw-weights of 500 pounds were common. The simplest version of mechanical cocking device was a hook attached to a belt, drawing the bow by straightening the legs. Other devices were hinged levers which either pulled or pushed the string into place, cranked rack-and-pinion devices called 'cranequins' and multiple cord-and-pulley cranked devices called windlasses.
Cranequin (Rack & Pinion)
Crossbows exist in different variants, one way to classify them is the acceleration system, another the size and energy, degree of automation or projectiles. A windlass is an apparatus for moving heavy weights Typically a windlass consists of a horizontal cylinder (barrel which is rotated by the turn of a crank or belt
The simplest acceleration system is a straight or bent prod and it is probably the earliest version of a crossbow.
A recurve crossbow is a bow that has tips curving away from the archer. The recurve bow's bent limbs have a longer draw length than an equivalent straight-limbed bow, giving a more acceleration to the projectile and less hand shock. Recurved limbs also put greater strain on the materials used to make the bow, and they may make more noise with the shot.
Multiple bow systems (for example a Chuangzi Nu) have a special system of pulling the sinew via several bows(which can be recurve bows). A repeating crossbow ( Chinese: 連弩 or Chu-ko-nu) is a Crossbow where the separate actions of stringing the bow placing the bolt and shooting The workings can be compared to a modern compound bow system. The weapon uses several different bows instead of one bow with a tackle system to achieve a higher acceleration of the sinew via the multiplication with each bow's pulling effect.
A compound crossbow is a modern crossbow and similar to a compound bow, The limbs are usually much stiffer than those of a recurve crossbow. A compound bow is a modern bow that uses a levering system usually of cables and Pulleys to bend the limbs This limb stiffness makes the compound bow more energy efficient than other bows, but the limbs are too stiff to be drawn comfortably with a string attached directly to them. The compound bow has the string attached to the pulleys, one or both of which has one or more cables attached to the opposite limb. When the string is drawn back, the string causes the pulleys to turn. This causes the pulleys to pull the cables, which in turn causes the limbs to bend and thus store energy. The use of this levering system gives the compound bow a characteristic draw-force curve which rises to a peak weight and then "lets off" to a lower holding weight.
In size the smallest are pistol crossbows. Others are simple long stocks with the crossbow mounted on them. These could be shot from under the arm. The next step in development was rifle shaped stocks that allowed better aiming. The arbalest was a heavy crossbow which required special systems for pulling the sinew via windlasses. The arbalest (also arblast) was a late variation of the medieval European Crossbow. For siege warfare the size of crossbows was further increased to hurl large projectiles such as rocks at fortifications. The required crossbows needed a massive base frame and powerful windlass devices. Such devices include the oxybeles. The oxybeles (Οξυβόλος literally "bolt shooter" was a weapon used by the Ancient Greeks starting in 375 BC The ballista has torsion springs replacing the elastic prod of the oxybeles, but later also developed into smaller versions. The ballista ( Latin, from Greek βαλλίστρα - ballistra, from - βάλλω ballō, "to throw" plural ballistae A torsion spring is a spring that works by torsion or twisting that is a flexible elastic object that stores Mechanical energy when it is twisted  "Ballista" is still the root word for crossbow in Romance languages such as Italian (balestra). The root is the primary lexical unit of a Word, which carries the most significant aspects of semantic content and cannot be reduced into smaller constituents The Romance languages (sometimes referred to as Romanic languages, or Neolatin languages) are a branch of the Indo-European language family comprising all
The repeating crossbow automated the separate actions of stringing the bow, placing the projectile and shooting. A repeating crossbow ( Chinese: 連弩 or Chu-ko-nu) is a Crossbow where the separate actions of stringing the bow placing the bolt and shooting This way the task can be accomplished with a simple one-handed movement, while keeping the weapon stationary. As a result, it is possible to shoot at a faster rate compared to unmodified version. The Chinese repeating crossbow, Chu Ko Nu, is a small handheld crossbow that accomplishes the task with a magazine containing a number of bolts on top. A repeating crossbow ( Chinese: 連弩 or Chu-ko-nu) is a Crossbow where the separate actions of stringing the bow placing the bolt and shooting The mechanism is worked by moving a rectangular lever forward and backward.
A bullet crossbow is a type of handheld crossbow which rather than arrows or bolts shoots spherical projectiles made of stone, clay or lead. There are two variants, one has a double string with a pocket for the projectile; the other has a barrel with a slot for the string.
stationary windlass device with triple-bow arcuballista
repeating crossbow with pull lever and automatic reload magazine
Lian Nu (連弩, multiple shot crossbow) without a visible nut or cocking aid
Chinese Chuangzi Nu "Little Bed Crossbow", alias Double-bow Arcuballista
16th century French mounted crossbowman ("cranequinier"). A repeating crossbow ( Chinese: 連弩 or Chu-ko-nu) is a Crossbow where the separate actions of stringing the bow placing the bolt and shooting A repeating crossbow ( Chinese: 連弩 or Chu-ko-nu) is a Crossbow where the separate actions of stringing the bow placing the bolt and shooting The arbalest (also arblast) was a late variation of the medieval European Crossbow. A pavise (or pavis, pabys, pavesen) is a large convex Shield of European origin used to protect the entire body His crossbow is drawn with a rack-and-pinion 'cranequin', so it can be used while riding.
The arrow-like projectiles of a crossbow are called bolts. A quarrel or bolt is the term for the Ammunition used in a Crossbow. These are much shorter than arrows, but can be several times heavier. There is an optimum weight for bolts to achieve maximum kinetic energy, which varies depending on the strength and characteristics of the crossbow. In ancient times the bolts of a strong crossbow were usually several times heavier than arrows. Modern bolts are stamped with a proof mark to ensure their consistent weight. Bolts typically have three fletches, commonly seen on arrows. Fletching is the ancient art of aerodynamically stabilizing Arrows from materials such as feathers Crossbow bolts can be fitted with a variety of heads, some with sickle-shaped heads to cut rope or rigging; but the most common today is a four-sided point called a quarrel. A quarrel or bolt is the term for the Ammunition used in a Crossbow. A highly specialized type of bolt can be employed to collect blubber biopsy samples used in biology research.
Crossbows could be adapted to also shoot stones or lead bullets. Primarily used for hunting wildfowl, these usually have a double string with a pouch between the strings to hold the projectile.
The ancient crossbow often included a metal grid serving as iron sights. The term iron sights refers to the open unmagnified system used to assist the aiming of a variety of devices usually those intended to launch Projectiles such as Firearms Modern crossbow sights often use similar technology to modern firearm sights such red dot sights and telescopic sights. A red dot sight (also called a reflex sight or for certain models a reflex scope) is a non- magnifying Firearm sight that uses A telescopic sight, commonly called a scope, is a device used to give additional accuracy using a point of aim for Firearms Airguns and Crossbows Many crossbow scopes feature multiple crosshairs to compensate for the significant effects of gravity over different ranges. A crosshair or reticle is a shape superimposed on an image that is used for precise alignment of a device most notably that of a Scope rifle. Gravitation is a natural Phenomenon by which objects with Mass attract one another
Quivers can be mounted to hold ammunition. A quiver is a container for arrows, crossbow bolts or darts, such as those shot from a bow, Crossbow or Blowgun. These are often made from plastic and usually hold the bolts in fixed positions along the structure. A popular detachable design consists of a main arm that is attached to the weapon, a plate on one end that secures four or more individual bolts at a point on their shafts and at the other end a cover that secures their heads. This kind of quiver is attached under the front of the crossbow, parallel to the string and is designed to be quickly detached and reattached. Other designs hold bolts underneath the crossbow parallel to the stock, sometimes on either side of the crossbow.
A major cause of the sound of firing a crossbow is vibration of various components. Crossbow silencers are multiple components placed on high vibration parts such as the string and limbs to dampen vibration and suppress the sound of loosing.
It is not clear exactly where and when the crossbow originated, but there is evidence that it was used for military purposes from the second half of the 4th century BC onwards. This history of crossbows documents the historical development and use of the Crossbow. A military is an Organization authorized by its Nation to use force usually including use of Weapons in defending its Country (or by attacking The 4th century BC started the first day of 400 BC and ended the last day of 301 BC.
Linguistic evidence makes it the more probable hypothesis that the crossbow may have originated among the cultures neighboring ancient China. It was used as weapon and toy, but mainly in the form of unattended traps. 
The earliest Chinese document mentioning a crossbow is in scripts from the 4th–3rd century BC attributed to the followers of Mozi. Mohism or Moism ( was a Chinese philosophy developed by the followers of Mozi (also referred to as Mo Di 470 &ndashc This source refers the use of a giant crossbow catapult to the 6th to 5th century BC, corresponding to the late Spring and Autumn Period. A catapult is any one of a number of non-handheld mechanical devices used to throw a Projectile a great distance without the aid of an explosive substance—particularly various The Spring and Autumn Period ( was a period in Chinese history which roughly corresponds to the first half of the Eastern Zhou dynasty (from the second half of the 8th century BC Sun Tzu's influential book The Art of War (first appearance dated in between 500 BC to 300 BC) refers in chapter V to the traits and in XII to the use of crossbows. Sun Tzu ( ("Master Sun" also called Sun Wu ( is traditionally considered to be the author of The Art of War (also simply called the The Art of War ( is a Chinese military Treatise that was written during the 6th century BC by Sun Tzu.  One of the earliest reliable records of this weapon in warfare is from an ambush, the Battle of Ma-Ling in 341 BC. The Battle of Maling (馬陵之戰 was conducted in Maling currently Dazhangjia Town (大張家鎮 Shen County (莘县 Henan Province, in 342 BC during By the 200s BC, the crossbow (nǔ, 弩) was well developed and quite widely used in China. China ( Wade-Giles ( Mandarin) Chung¹kuo² is a cultural region, an ancient Civilization, and depending on perspective a National Several remains of them have been found among the soldiers of the Terracotta Army in the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang (260-210 BC). The Terracotta Army ( are the Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shi Huang the First Emperor of China. The Emperor of China ( refers to any sovereign of Imperial China reigning since the founding of the Qin Dynasty in 221 BC until the fall of Qin Shi Huang ( (259 BC – September 10 210 BC personal name Yíng Zhèng, was king of the Chinese State of Qin from 247 BCE to 221 BCE (during the 
The earliest date for the crossbow is from the 5th century BC, from the Greek world. The term ancient Greece refers to the period of Greek history lasting from the Greek Dark Ages ca This was called the gastraphetes, which could store more energy than the Greek bows, and was used in the Siege of Motya in 397 BC. The gastraphetes (from Ancient Greek γαστραφέτης, English translation: "belly-bow" was a hand-held Crossbow used by the The Sicilian Wars were a series of conflicts fought between Carthage and the Greek city-states of Magna Grecia, headed by Syracuse, over This was a key Carthaginian stronghold in Sicily, as described in the 1st century AD by Hero of Alexandria in his book Belopoeica. Carthage (Καρχηδών Karkhēdōn, Carthago from the Phoenician קרת חדשת phn-Latn Qart-ḥadašt meaning new town) refers Sicily ( Italian and Sicilian: Sicilia) is an autonomous region of Italy. The 1st century was the Century that lasted from 1 to 100 according the Julian calendar. Hero (or Heron) of Alexandria ( Ήρων ο Αλεξανδρεύς) (c  Same as with the Chinese sources a non-contemporary attribution of technical means can be doubted. Furthermore, there is a lack of other Greek sources stating the same. At least Alexander's siege of Tyre in 332 BC provides reliable sources for the use of these weapons by the Greek besiegers. Alexander the Great ( or, Mégas Aléxandros; July 20 356 BC June 10 or June 11 323 BC also known as Alexander III of Macedon (el Ἀλέξανδρος Γ' In 332 BC, Alexander the Great set out to conquer Tyre, a strategic coastal base in the war between the Greeks and the Persians. 
The gastraphetes was a handheld crossbow, used by ancient Greeks. It was described in the first century AD by the Greek author Heron of Alexandria in his work Belopoeica (Ancient Greek Βελοποιικά, 'on catapult-making'). It is believed to have been invented around 400 BC. The weapon was powered by a composite bow. It was cocked by resting the stomach in a concavity at the rear of the stock and pressing down with all strength. In this way considerably more energy can be summoned up than by using only one arm of the archer as in the hand-bow.
There are no attestations through pictures or archaeological finds, but the description by Heron is detailed enough to have allowed modern reconstructions to be made. Its application in sieges and against rigid infantry formations featured more and more powerful projectiles, leading first to the larger oxybeles and then to technical improvements with the ballista. The oxybeles (Οξυβόλος literally "bolt shooter" was a weapon used by the Ancient Greeks starting in 375 BC The ballista ( Latin, from Greek βαλλίστρα - ballistra, from - βάλλω ballō, "to throw" plural ballistae The ballista is a torsion weapon, not being a tension weapon and for this reason it isn't considered a crossbow.
The use of crossbows in European warfare dates back to Roman times and is again evident from the battle of Hastings until about 1500 AD. The Battle of Hastings was the decisive Norman victory in the Norman Conquest of England. They almost completely superseded hand bows in many European armies in the twelfth century for a number of reasons. Although a longbow had greater range, could achieve comparable accuracy and faster shooting rate than an average crossbow, crossbows could release more kinetic energy and be used effectively after a week of training, while a comparable single-shot skill with a longbow could take years of practice. To see other senses of this word see Longbow (disambiguation.
In the armies of Europe, mounted and unmounted crossbowmen, often mixed with javeliners and archers, occupied a central position in battle formations. Usually they engaged the enemy in offensive skirmishes before an assault of mounted knights. Knight is the English term for a social position originating in the Middle Ages. Crossbowmen were also valuable in counterattacks to protect their infantry. The rank of commanding officer of the crossbowmen corps was one of the highest positions in any army of this time. Along with polearm weapons made from farming equipment, the crossbow was also a weapon of choice for insurgent peasants such as the Taborites. A pole weapon or polearm is a close combat Weapon in which the main fighting part of the weapon is placed on the end of a long shaft typically of Wood The Taborites (Czech Táborité, singular Táborita) were members of a religious community considered heretical by the Catholic Church
Mounted knights armed with lances proved ineffective against formations of pikemen combined with crossbowmen whose weapons could penetrate most knights' armor. A pike is a Pole weapon, a very long thrusting Spear used two-handed and used extensively by Infantry both for attacks on enemy foot soldiers and as The invention of pushlever and ratchet drawing mechanisms enabled the use of crossbows on horseback, leading to the development of new cavalry tactics. Knights and mercenaries deployed in triangular formations, with the most heavily armored knights at the front. Some of these riders would carry small, powerful all-metal crossbows of their own. Crossbows were eventually replaced in warfare by gunpowder weapons, although early guns had slower rates of fire and much worse accuracy than contemporary crossbows. Gunpowder is a an explosive mixture of Sulfur, Charcoal and Potassium nitrate (also known as saltpetre/saltpeter that burns rapidly producing volumes Later, similar competing tactics would feature harquebusiers or musketeers in formation with pikemen, pitted against cavalry firing pistols or carbines. The Arquebus (sometimes spelled harquebus, harkbus or hackbut; from Dutch haakbus, meaning "hook gun" is A musket is a muzzle -loaded Smoothbore Long gun, which is intended to be fired from the shoulder A carbine is a Firearm similar to a Rifle or Musket, but generally shorter and of lesser power
In Asia, crossbows were used as antipersonnel and siege weapons. The Chinese developed the repeating crossbow with an automatic reloading system. A repeating crossbow ( Chinese: 連弩 or Chu-ko-nu) is a Crossbow where the separate actions of stringing the bow placing the bolt and shooting
The Saracens called the crossbow qaws Ferengi, or "Frankish bow", as the Crusaders used the crossbow against the Arab and Turkoman horsemen with remarkable success. Saracen was a term used by Europeans in the Middle Ages for Fatimids at first then later for all who professed the religion of Islam. The adapted crossbow was used by the Islamic armies in defence of their castles. Later footstrapped version become very popular among the Muslim armies in Spain. During the Crusades, Europeans were exposed to Saracen composite bows, made from layers of different material—often wood, horn and sinew—glued together and bound with animal tendon. The Crusades were a series of military campaigns of a religious character waged by much of Christian Europe against external and internal opponents A composite bow is a bow made from disparate materials laminated together usually applied under tension These composite bows could be much more powerful than wooden bows, and were adopted for crossbow prods across Europe.
In Western Africa and Central Africa, crossbows serve as a scout weapon and for hunting, with enslaved Africans bringing the technology to America.  In the American south, the crossbow was used for hunting when firearms or gunpowder were unavailable because of economic hardships or isolation.  Light hunting crossbows were traditionally used by the Inuit in Northern America.
Crossbows are mostly used for target shooting in modern archery. The shooting sports include those competitive sports involving tests of proficiency (accuracy and speed using various types of Guns such as Firearms and Airguns Archery is the practice of using a bow or Crossbow to shoot Arrows Archery has historically been used in Hunting and Combat and has
In many regions of the world they are still used for hunting, such as parts of North America, Asia, Australia and Africa. Hunting is the practice of pursuing Animals for Food, Recreation, or Trade. Other uses, which involve special projectiles, are in whale research to take blubber biopsy samples without harming the whales. Whales are marine mammals which are neither Dolphins (ie members of the families Delphinidae or Platanistoidae) nor Porpoises Orcas Blubber is a thick layer of vascularized Fat found under the skin of all Cetaceans Pinnipeds and Sirenians Description A biopsy (in Greek: βίος life and όψη look/appearance is a Medical test involving the removal of cells or tissues
A few modern military special forces units such as the Indian Navy's Marine Commando Force are equipped with crossbows supplied with cyanide-tipped arrows, as an alternative to slightly noisier suppressed handguns. In most countries special forces (SF is a generic term for highly-trained Military teams/units that conduct specialized operations such as Reconnaissance The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the armed forces of India. MARCOS (also known as Marine Commando Force ') is an elite special operations unit of the Indian Navy. A cyanide is any Chemical compound that contains the cyano group (C≡N which consists of a Carbon Atom triple-bonded to a A suppressor, sound moderator, or silencer is a device either attached to or part of the barrel of a Firearm to reduce the amount of 
With a crossbow, archers could release a draw force far in excess of what they could have handled with a bow. Moreover, crossbows could be kept cocked and ready to shoot for some time with little effort, allowing crossbowmen to aim better. The disadvantage is the greater weight and clumsiness compared to a bow, as well as the slower rate of fire and the lower efficiency of the acceleration system.
Crossbows have a much smaller draw length. Under 12 inches is common, whereas a modern adult recurve bow has a draw length of over 20 inches. This translates to more energy being transferred to the arrow. This means that for the same energy to be imparted to the arrow (or bolt) the crossbow has to have a much higher draw weight. For example, a modern recurve bow, with a draw length of 28 inches (19 inches of draw plus 9 inches of bracing height) with a drawn weight of 42Lbs would have (very) roughly the same energy as a crossbow draw length of 11. 8 inches, with a drawn weight of 90Lbs.
The Second Lateran Council under Pope Innocent II in 1139 may have banned the use of crossbows against Christians. The Crossbow often has a complicated legal status due to its lethality and its similarities with both Firearms and other Archery weapons The Second Lateran and tenth Ecumenical council was held by Pope Innocent II in April 1139, and was attended by close to a thousand clerics  The authenticity, interpretation and translation of this source is contested. 
Today the crossbow often has a complicated legal status due to the possibility of lethal use and its similarities with both firearms and archery weapons.