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Image credit: Periclesof Athens If you’re curious about records of the crossbow being used in warfare, the earliest reliable records of that nature refer to an ambush, the Battle of Ma-Ling, in 341 BC.
Dating back to the 4th Century BC, handheld crossbow usage can be found in textual records.
Textual evidence of crossbows also dates back pretty far.
The earliest Chinese document mentioning the crossbow is found in scripts from the 4th to 3rd Centuries BC, attributed to the followers of Mozi.
Archaeologists have also located crossbows in Tomb 138 at Saobatang, Hunan, and have dated them back to the mid–4th Century BC.
Tomb 47 at Qinjiazui, Hubei is dated to around the 4th Century BC, and housed repeating crossbows.
I’ve always been a bit of a history geek, so I already knew some of this.