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Old 26th March 2013, 11:23 AM   #30
Iain's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Morava - Olomoucký kraj - Czech Republic
Posts: 1,499

Originally Posted by fearn
Great story. I was rereading the story about African bows in the Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Vol. 3. About a century ago, the Fulani were the raiders, and the Bassa (who still love their bows and poisoned arrows) were the defenders. I wonder if the reporter got the tribe identified right? The Fulani were not previously known as good archers, and "your back is as stiff a a Fulani's bow" was reportedly used as an insult.

In any case, the Bassa used an all-metal knife (!) called the manga that is used to draw the bow. The metal handle is placed just below the nock of the arrow to draw the bow, so as not to hurt the fingers (and to have a knife in hand while you shoot). Anyone seen a knife like this?



Hi fearn, it should be accurate with the tribal attribution, during the Fulani Jihads much of their forces were bowmen, owing to their lack of cavalry. Against the Hausa state of Gobir, who relied on heavy cavalry, Fulani archers proved rather effective at the Battle of Tabkin Kwotto. They made use of poisoned arrows as well.

The daggers in question are usually called loop daggers and are most often associated with the Tiv of Nigeria, although other groups used them as well. Googling Tiv loop dagger should turn up quite a few results.
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