Do the men of Crete still practice their archery for which they were so famous?

By: | Post date: 2016-10-08 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, Modern Greek

Like Vasilios Danias said, archery would have died out in Crete when rifles came to town; the point of archery, after all, was hunting. And Cretans sure love their rifles now, as Dimitra Triantafyllidou illustrates.

But there’s ample evidence of archery used in hunting during Venetian rule, when guns were but new (and presumably not very sportsmanlike), and Crete was still full of deer. In the Erotokritos, the culminating poem of the period, Charidimos the Cretan shoots his new wife with an arrow accidentally while hunting. Panoria, in the pastoral drama named after her, is a huntress who speaks of her bow and arrow. So archery was still a thing in the 17th century.

The celebratory gunfire thing is already reminisced about in the Cretan War of Marino Zane Bounialis (Pugnali), which recounts the Ottoman conquest; so it makes sense that archery died out in Crete at around that time, when rifles became universal.

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