TIL of the Parthian shot, an ancient military tactic where archers on horses would feign retreat and then turn their bodies while at full gallop to shoot at the pursuing enemy. It required great skill to master. Without a stirrup, the rider relied solely on pressure from his legs to guide his horse.

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

TIL Thick thighs end lives

Johnnadawearsglasses

A variant of this is the feigned retreat by the Mongols, who used it time and again to defeat numerically superior opponents. Incidentally, the Mongols annihilated the Khwarazmid empire (modern-day Iran) with such devastating tactics. So the Parthians had their own parting shot handed to them by the Mongols.

bluzkluz

Horseback archery in general relies a lot on controlling the horse with your legs instead of your hands. Since you’re, yknow, shooting a bow and arrow

usernametook

As I understand it the horse archers from the Eurasian steppe (Mongols and other tribes from that wide area) used to take their shots when all four of their horses hooves were off the ground when the horse was in a full canter. They were extraordinary horseman and archers. Edit: Anyone that found this comment interesting should listen to Dan Carlin’s “Hardcore History” podcast. All of his podcasts are good but the people that liked this comment would absolutely love his “Wrath of the Khan’s” series. He tells history like that really engaging teacher you had at school that brought a subject to life. It is from his podcasts that my comment was sourced. I wouldn’t bother making this edit but a few people have upvoted the comment and I’m sure they’d love Dan Carlin.

woodendolphin

The battle of Carrhae was the best example of that. 10,000 Parthian archers defeated an army of 7 Roman Legions (45,000 soldiers plus about 30,000 auxiliaries). Killed and captured 30,000 and lost under 100 men. Rome never conquered Parthia.

MikyBob12