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A weapon invented in China in the 3rd or 2nd century bc in which a normal bow is mounted on a block of wood so that it can be used horizontally and single‐handedly. The system was much improved in the 1st century bc with the development of a cocking piece and ratchet so that the string can be drawn with ease and released via a trigger. The crossbow proved ideal for the mounted archers of the nomadic steppe tribes as it could be discharged from the saddle and had a longer range and greater power than conventional bows.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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