Age of Empires Series Wiki
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This article is about the unit in Age of Empires. For the technology in Age of Empires IV, see Composite Bows.

Composite Bowman is a unit in Age of Empires. It is an upgrade of the Improved Bowman. They are one of the Bronze Age's most cost effective units as they only require half the resources of a Chariot Archer.

Unit availability
Available Unavailable

The * indicates that the civilization can fully upgrade their Composite Bowmen, i.e. gets Chain Mail Archers, Craftsmanship, Ballistics, and Alchemy.

The ^ indicates that the civilization has at least one civilization bonus that benefits the combat strength of the Composite Bowman.


The Composite Bowman is better than the Improved Bowman. Civilizations that can train the Improved Bowman usually have the ability to upgrade them to a Composite Bowman. Because of this, the Improved Bowman never really makes their full appearance in a random game. Boasting solid overall stats, the Composite Bowman is an excellent ranged choice due to its low cost.

However, in Deathmatch games, civilizations that can train Cataphracts, or powerful siege weapons such as the Heavy Catapult or Helepolis, can make short work of them due to their fragility.

The Minoans have an additional 2 range for their Composite Bowmen, allowing them to strike before other archers and out-range towers. They can therefore continue using them effectively in the Iron Age and in Deathmatches.

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Infantry units, Villagers
Weak vs. Cavalry units, siege units
Attack Alchemy.png Alchemy (+1)
Range Woodworking.png Woodworking (+1)
Artisanship.png Artisanship (+1)
Craftsmanship.png Craftsmanship (+1)
Accuracy Ballistics.png Ballistics (hit moving targets)
Melee armor Leatherarmorarchersicon.png Leather Armor Archers (+2)
Scalearmorarchersicon.png Scale Armor Archers (+2)
Chainmailarchersicon.png Chain Mail Archers (+2)

Civilization bonuses[]


  • Originally, Composite Bowmen were called Longbowmen, this is also the reason why their bow is longer than a traditional composite bow.
  • The Composite Bowman in game will not be able to imitate his pose in the icon. In the icon, he is facing southeast while aiming at an enemy, holding the bow with his right arm and arrow with the left, allowing his back to face the player's view. In-game, when he is asked to face same direction and fire at an enemy unit, it is the other way around, exposing his front view to the player instead.


The composite bow was developed in Asia was also known as the oriental or recurved bow.  It reached the Mediterranean and Middle East by the beginning of the second millennium B.C.  It was made of layers of wood glued together rather than a single piece.  The composite material was then bent outward at each end to increase tension.  The result was a very powerful bow that doubled the effective range of the short bow.  Egyptian engravings depicting the Battle of Kadesh show Rameses II and other Egyptian archers using composite bows.
Age of Empires manual