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Mjchael Gillespie




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2016 10:51 am    Post subject: Arrow quivers--         Reply with quote

Some help please on the subject of quivers--- were there ever any leather back quivers other than in Robin Hood movies? I know they used arrow bags, hip, belts and hands but is there any documentation on arrows being carried on the back in leather quivers as seen in so many movies?
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Mark Moore




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2016 4:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe that an arrow quiver on the back would be less handy than a bag on the hip, especially in combat conditions. I would want my arrows as close to my bow hand as possible. Maybe even stuck in the ground in front of me and positioned just so , so that I could grab one and have it nocked and ready to fire as soon as possible. Yeah, ol' Robin made it look cool. I'm not saying back quivers were not used, but it seems unlikely. Maybe for simple transportation, but most likely not for war.....McM
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Gregory J. Liebau




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2016 4:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've researched quivers extensively and have not found any decent evidence of back quivers being used by archers in medieval Europe. However, there are a few styles in the ancient world, used by people such as the Achaemenid Persians and archaic Greeks. I'm not sure if you're interested in evidence that far back, though. Bows in the ancient world tended to be more compact and the arrows were therefore shorter than what we're used to seeing used with a reproduction of an English longbow, for example. Pulling long arrows out of a back quiver is not the easiest thing to do...

-Gregory




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Harry Marinakis




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2016 8:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Practically speaking, have you ever used a back quiver? They're terrible from a functional perspective.
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2016 8:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Harry,

If only I could like that comment on myArmoury I would.

Really they seems far less useful than many of the other methods of storage.

There is one back quiver in the Bayeux Tapestry
http://history.furman.edu/webimages/bayeux/pa...ch_jpg.htm

It is one of the only ones I know of from the medieval period. The vast bulk 90+% are back quivers of in the belt.

RPM
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Lloyd Winter




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2016 9:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall, I've looked at that pic from the Bayeux tapestry a lot over the years.
It looks to me like it's a hip quiver and a belt that the guy just threw over his head.

It's also the only one that could be called a back quiver I've seen.

I have a Medieval Archery board on Pinterest if anyone cares to look.
https://www.pinterest.com/winterlloyd/medieval-archery/
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Neal Matheson




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2016 11:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes I've never been convinced by the Bayeux back quiver either. I'll just back up what others have said back quivers are awful to use and rare in European art.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Nov, 2016 3:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A back quiver is good for carrying arrows, but bad for using arrows. Don't want your belt quiver getting in the way while marching? Carry it on your back. See the Persians upthread. A quiver on the back in art might just mean it's a good way to carry it.

For using a quiver on your back in combat, it's the same problem as back scabbards - how do you get an 80cm long thing out of a tube on your back?

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Travis Canaday




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Nov, 2016 4:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gregory J. Liebau wrote:
Bows in the ancient world tended to be more compact and the arrows were therefore shorter than what we're used to seeing used with a reproduction of an English longbow, for example. Pulling long arrows out of a back quiver is not the easiest thing to do...

-Gregory


Length of arrows has more to do with the draw length of the individual than with the length of the bow. A compact recurve bow will use the same length of arrow as a longbow (assuming they're the same draw weight). The stiffness of the arrow will need to be adjusted depending on the draw weight of the bow. That's why an English war bow will have massively thick arrows but not become any longer. Lengthening the arrow would actually decrease the stiffness. There are cases of people using abnormally long arrows (e.g. South America), but I assume this is a byproduct of the materials being used.

Going back to question of quivers... Hip quivers in general (across cultures and time) seem to be more popular. I prefer a hip quiver. However it really is not that hard to use a back quiver, and plenty of people prefer them.

Travis
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Travis Canaday




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Nov, 2016 4:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
For using a quiver on your back in combat, it's the same problem as back scabbards - how do you get an 80cm long thing out of a tube on your back?


I agree to a degree. The differences between these cases is that the part of the arrow resting in the quiver is typically going to be a bit shorter than the length of a sword blade encased in the scabbard. One doesn't need to cover the entire shaft of the arrow the same way the entire blade needs to be covered. Also a scabbard is meant to hold the sword snuggly, while a quiver is typically wider at the mouth allowing for a more obtuse drawing. Not quite analogous.

Travis
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Travis Canaday




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Nov, 2016 4:37 pm    Post subject: Native quivers...         Reply with quote

On a side note... the quivers of many North American Indians could function as both a hip and a back quiver because of their long satchel-like strap. You could pull the quiver up to sit on your back while walking or horse riding, or you could pull it down to sit about waist level (with the arrows facing forward or backwards) while stalking game or people. Wonderfully versatile really. There are plenty of videos on Youtube discussing this topic.
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Gregory J. Liebau




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Nov, 2016 5:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not to derail the thread too much, but the point of arrow length is a significant factor to how useful a back quiver can be... So, regarding my previous point about ancient quivers I'd like to make some comments about arrow length and corresponding usage.

Travis Canaday wrote:
Length of arrows has more to do with the draw length of the individual than with the length of the bow. A compact recurve bow will use the same length of arrow as a longbow (assuming they're the same draw weight).


That's assuming that composite bows in the ancient world were meant to be drawn the same way that medieval bows were. There is a reasonable amount of artistic evidence depicting archaic and Classical Greek archers drawing their arrows only to the middle of the arm (such as the example I posted above), or holding the bow against the torso, which would suggest that shorter arrows were used in the process. Here's a note on some Scythian bows and arrows discovered at Xinjiang:

"These were short weapons—one was 119 centimetres (47 in) long when strung, with arrows perhaps 50–60 centimetres (20–24 in) long—with flexible, "working" tips; the wooden core was continuous from the centre to the tip"

And here are three representations of a form of "Scythian draw," achieved by extending the draw arm out at the elbow in a horizontal line away from the body. The first is Scythian gold work and the next two are from Greek ceramics - the last depicting Odysseus.







There is plenty of Assyrian monumental artwork that shows bowmen wearing back quivers and drawing their arrows to great lengths - even behind the ear. However, it's important to note that most of these depictions are not proportionally correct. The quivers on the back are holding arrows that are clearly not as long as the arrow shown being strung and drawn.

Assuming the basic concept is correct - back quivers are being used with short bows - it suggests that the draw lengths are perhaps being stylistically lengthened. This would be supported by the fact that many bronze Assyrian and Urartian quivers survive, and their lengths suggest that even with arrows protruding a few centimeters, they would not be nearly long enough to to draw behind the ear. The art nowhere suggests the arrows protruding more than the short length of the fletching.




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David Hohl




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Nov, 2016 10:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've used all kinds of quivers, back quivers the longest though now I use a side one. They're just fine to draw from, and in a military context would be pretty convenient since it's out of the way. The problem is putting arrows back in while wearing the quiver. Doable but exasperating. The main issue I run into is during hunting where they catch on low branches and to draw an arrow you have to wave your hand in the air and alert game.
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Marc Blaydoe




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Nov, 2016 8:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Back quivers are simply not practical. Just try bending over to pick something up wearing one. You will quickly figure out why it doesn't work.
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Nov, 2016 9:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Marc Blaydoe wrote:
Back quivers are simply not practical. Just try bending over to pick something up wearing one. You will quickly figure out why it doesn't work.

Been there, done that, and picked up a bunch of arrows for doing so!

Lin Robinson

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Gregory J. Liebau




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Nov, 2016 11:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Considering most dexterous and physically active people are aware of the advantages at bending at the knees to lift things from the ground, I don't know how well that argument flies... A person with decent knowledge about body mechanics knows that the back should stay relatively vertical while bending down momentarily.
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Will S




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Nov, 2016 3:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A large number of people I shoot with use back quivers, and seem more than capable of coping.

Whether they were around during the period in question is debatable, but anybody using the argument that they're impractical ergo weren't used needs a new argument. They are very practical, unless you're horrendously cack-handed. If you manage to empty a back quiver by bending over, or find it difficult to take an arrow out of one, you probably shouldn't be trusted with a weapon in the first place...
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Will S




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Nov, 2016 3:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Look how impractical they are...

https://youtu.be/3PHszhl4_U8

Gosh, look at him fumbling for arrows...

https://youtu.be/ila5CwwNPnw

So slow.... So painful to watch...

https://youtu.be/q436B8kgCsk
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Gregory J. Liebau




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Nov, 2016 4:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Will,

There's a flaw with your argument if you want to consider historical context. The back quivers used in those videos do not resemble most historical European quivers, which typically covered the entire length of an arrow. The primary function of a quiver was as protection against the elements during long campaign marches in all kinds of weather, and often they even had some sort of lid or flap which would completely cover the arrows during transportation. Almost every medieval depiction of quivers shows that no more than a bit of the fletching protrudes beyond the body of the quiver. Exceptions include those used in arid regions or by horse archery societies such as the Mongols and Turks, but all evidence points to their exclusive use of saddle or belt mounted quivers in any case.

Try showing me similar success with back quivers that are 30-34" in length and fit the wearer snugly, which would be practical for carrying and protecting the arrows of a longbow. All of the quivers in those videos expose as much as a third of the arrow length, dramatically reducing the distance that the arm needs to travel to remove the arrows from the case. I happen to have a back quiver that is 32" in length right here beside me, modeled on a quiver carried by an ancient bronze casting of the goddess Artemis.

I made it to use with modern-length arrows, and due to this the quiver looks nearly a third longer than the one on the statue. Note, however, how much it sticks out to the right side - similar to my own in that regard, but with much less distance needed to draw the arrows out due to its overall shorter length.

I am 6'1" tall and 28 years old. I am athletic and stretch and exercise every day. I cannot physically remove the arrows from the quiver as it is mounted on my back in the photo below - I show it beside the original statue for the sake of comparison. If the shoulder strap was mounted much lower it might make it more likely for me to remove the arrows, but then the bottom of the quiver would be sticking out nearly a foot behind my left arm, which is very impractical.

Long arrows cannot be removed from long quivers on a person's back with ease. Long quivers were used prominently throughout European history by military archers, when the quiver's main purpose was to function as a protection against the elements. Short modern sports quivers don't apply to this argument, in my opinion, for this exact reason.

-Gregory




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Will S




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PostPosted: Sun 20 Nov, 2016 2:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I did wonder if somebody would try that particular argument. It doesn't actually make any difference.

The videos were to show that a "back quiver" is practical. They happened to be slightly shorter quivers, but the longer ones are just the same in use. I shoot English warbows, and as such I shoot with people using 32" arrows. Those that use back quivers use ones that virtually cover the entire arrow, save for the fletchings. They do not struggle to use them. We are not waiting for them to find and retrieve arrows from their quiver during shooting. If they didn't work, they wouldn't be used by half the archers.

If you make a HUGE quiver as shown above, then yes it's probably difficult. If you use something sensible, it's very practical and works very well.
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