Ancient people tied pitch-soaked rags to arrows and then lit the rags on fire before launching the arrows. However, modern archers can create arrows that light themselves automatically, as CNET describes. The materials necessary for the project include steel wool, a 9-volt battery, a bow and an arrow.
Attach the steel wool to the front of an arrow, and attach the 9-volt battery to the bow. The terminals of the battery should contact the steel wool when the bow is drawn. When the steel wool contacts the battery, electrical current travels through the steel and causes it to heat up. When the heat reaches the combustion point, the steel wool begins to burn. At this point, release the arrow, which is now on fire. It is important to be cautious when shooting flaming arrows. According to CNET, flaming arrows carry all of the danger of regular arrows while also adding the danger of fire.
Though no one knows exactly who invented the idea of lighting an arrow on fire, the Greeks used them to fight off sieging armies. According to Chris Rorres of New York University, a group of about 100 men could send thousands of flaming arrows at ships during battle.