Damascus: Bow Makers

Date: c. 1400

In his biography of Timur (d. 1405; known in European sources as Tamerlane), Ibn ʿArabshah notes that the ruler ‘took from Damascus learned men and craftsmen and all who excelled in any art.’ His list of craftsmen includes bow makers. Timur ordered that the artisans of Damascus be taken to his capital in Samarqand. See also: Armourer; Swordsmith; Gunsmith.

Citation: Ahmad Ibn ʿArabshah, Kitāb al-Ajāʾib al-maqdūr fī akhbār Tīmūr. Translated by John H. Sanders as Tamerlane: or, Timur the Great Amir (London: Luzac and Co., 1936), p. 161.

Date: early fifteenth century

Ruy González de Clavijo (d. 1412) reports that they were famous for making crossbows. These artisans were forcibly removed from the city by Timur (d. 1405).

Citation: De Clavijo, Ruy González, Embassy to Tamerlane, 1403-1406, trans., Guy Le Strange. (London: Routledge, 1928), pp. 287-88.