Quivers in the middle ages

Continuing the discussion from Bowyering for Stretch goal after the codex?:

Archery my good sir, i believe you mean archery,
Continuing the discussion from Archery mechanics [Mod thoughts]:

Hunters used back quivers to reduce the chance of the quiver hitting their leg while stocking their prey.

I don’t think there is any need for a new thread about archery/quivers. Feel free to work yourself through these already existing ones and continue with your points there if you think it’s still of interest:


I agree with Outland3r, there is no historical reference about back quivers during this time. The only reference is one Soldier on the carpet of Bayeux:

And this isn´t even a back quiver, it looks more like a belt around the neck, no back quiver is used like this on the carpet.
I can understand why Warhorse nevertheless used back quivers, through the limitation of the game mechanic in comparison of crossbow bolts. So, it is not the best way to show historical archery, but its okay.

On Hunting you maybe don´t even use a quiver:

The reason is simple, you only need 2-3 arrows, not more. You can hold them in your hand even while you are shooting or carry them in your belt without a quiver. Why do you only need 2-3 arrows? Its simple, If you shoot you hit the animal and kill it. If you don´t kill it, you hurt it and it will run away. If you can follow the injured animal you maybe can kill it with a second arrow, if it still survive you have a third arrow, but normaly you don´t use it.
You also could miss the animal with your first arrow, but than it will run away and don´t wait for you to kill it, you don´t will shoot an moving animal because you can´t hit vital organs.
So if you miss, you have no target anymore and its time to search your arrow. If you can´t find it you have a bad day, but its okay, you still have 2 more arrows.

But there is no need for a quiver during your hunt. Why sould you carry more than 2 or 3 arrows? There is no reason for that, and carry 2-3 arrows is simple, you don´t need a quiver for that.


No sir, i was speaking about bowyery, that means about making bows as minigame in the KC. I don´t have any problem with archery in the game.

I said it before and I’m gonna say it again. Instant one shot kill of a large prey is next to impossible with the most modern expanding ammunition. Most of the animals actually faint from the blood loss and then die, usually not on the very spot where hit. The problem with arrows is that it is inside of the wound thus preventing fast blood loss that happens through a bullet wound. 2-3 arrows are fine for a rabbit (and even it will be most likely seriously wounded but still alive by the time you get to it), but by no means for a large game.


How the heck does the shaft prevent bloodloss if the arrowhead is so broad?

Apart from some parts [i.e. bones], the tissue is mostly soft and elastic. The arrow is not fast enough to make secondary damage to the surrounding tissue like a bullet from rifle [even pistol bullets are too slow for that]. While the initial penetration may be relatively large, the tissue mostly closes itself on the wound. While there remains a small hole after a bullet, the shaft mostly takes its place in case of an arrow.

The tissue is elastic to the point that in police investigation, the doctors can never say if a bullet hole was done by, for example, 9mm or 45ACP, which are very different when it comes to size (unless the round itself is found).

You still only need 2-3 arrows even if you hunt a deer. You can see it by your own pictures. If you can not kill your target with the first arrow, the deer will be gone. You don´t have a chance to shoot a second arrow. You will not kill a moving target, as you see in your pictures you have to be hit vital organs. The nose is not vital.
You may get a second chance by meet another deer or with luck you may find your wounded one. It is very difficult to kill a deer with an arrow, but it don´t help you to have a lots of arrows. Your bow is not a machine gun, if your deer is not killed by the first arrow your chance is gone. How should it be helpful to have dozens of arrows with you?

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When you have so ineffective weapon as a bow & arrows, you mostly shoot to wound, and then you track, then you shoot again, track, shoot again, with the main tactic being exhausting the animal (also with blood loss and suffering) rather then killing it. Of course if the reason for the hunt is “sport” rather then bringing the food on the table, the hunter will let the game run away wounded rather then track it for hours. People rarely hunted for sport in 1403 Bohemia (unless we talk about nobles, but then again, the hunter in the video didn’t seem like one).

An interesting tactic is used by the African bushmen, who run after the game for hours without actually wounding it, taking advantage of being able to carry water and of the human ability to sweat. They run after the game until it is actually too exhausted from overheating and basically waits to be slaughtered. The medieval hunt was somewhere in between this and today’s shoot to kill with high power rifles (which, as I wrote, rarely leads to imminent death of the animal).

Hmm… maybe this could be correct. If it was done like this, then it have to be possible to read the track on the ground. Otherwise you can not follow your target to shoot it twice.

My GF’s father is a hunter and he is able to track a wounded animal in the night for quite some distance in the Bohemian forests. But then again, the bullet holes mean more blood loss which probably leads to more indications of which way the animal ran then the amount of blood left by an animal wounded by an arrow.

Also, as everyone who carries a concealed firearm for self defense (BTW, until 2009 there were more CCW licenses in the Czech Republic than in Texas per capita) has probably read, here are some interesting facts recently released by FBI regarding biomechanics of shooting: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2014/09/26/fbi-training-division-justifies-9mm-caliber-selection/


It seems to me you all forget the “best friend” element. Isnt it the dog who is supposed to be able to follow the prey barking in the course of the hunt and thus call the hunters to the spot?

Those shots (pictures) are really devastating btw. Contemporary hunters are positively condemnable. There is no reason to hunt and murder animals apart from killing seriously ill individuals perhaps.

Dogs are good either in a large hunts or against small prey (i.e. rabbits, foxes). When it comes to large game, then unless it is at least half-a dozen men with at least a dozen dogs, they will actually only scare it. You need to have the element of surprise to deliver the first wounding hit. Deer or any other large game would hear/smell see the dog from very far, run away long before you would realize it was there.

In large hunt, you scare the shit out of everything in the path of the party and hopefully some unfortunate animals either run into your path or get circled by the dogs.

That makes sense. But why the iconic image of hunter accompanied by dog? Is it pure nonsense?

And how did people actually hunt before the age of gunpowder/modern weapons?

I didn’t say dogs are not suitable for hunting, only that if you want to hunt a large prey alone, having one or two dogs would scare it off. BUt if you go after a small game, or have a whole pack of dogs, then it works well.

Thanks for your reply. So If medieval hunter wanted to hunt large prey (e.g. doe) he would use horse? (Like in fairy tales?)

What about spear/dog hunting and hunting with a crossbow? Those crossbow quarrels look killing.

… back on track, it seems that a quiver with a dozen or more arrows would not be useful (at least for hunting).
What about in large scale battles? I have no idea. Did each archer in a group carry a quiver? Were there just baskets of arrows that the archers had to share? Did they have a designated archer squire type boy to deliver the arrows? Wonder how WH studios will tackle this.


I’m a Amatuer Historian, specialising in 13th & 15th C.

For war, archers did indeed use Belt Quivers, as you need to be able to hold a vast amount of arrows (from 24 to around 35, depends on how rich & generous the commander is). You had the at the waist for a variety of reasons, Quick reload, drawing an arrow from quiver, to bow from the belt is a very quick, swift and dare say elegant movement; much quicker than drawing from your back. An arrow is very long, and it’s easier on your muscles (More natural) and quicker to draw something so long (About 28" arrows for myself,) I’ve tried drawing an arrow from the back, to my dismay and getting muddled up during the action, even after a few attempts its still very slow (Sort of like the whole big sword on your back).

And as for hunting, you don’t need many arrows, 12 at the best, and why bring a quiver at all? That’s just more money you need to spend, a hunter wouldn’t be rolling in money, and it’s just as easy to put a few arrows in your belt (Which you can’t do with 24 obviously, that’d just be awkward hene a quiver is used). When I go and loose a few arrows off, I normally take a quiver down full of arrows and then put about… 5 - 10 in my belt My quiver acting as a arrow bag).

As for a bowyer minigame, I disapprove of games that let people craft too many items, it seems to OP and less lore friendly, if you’re a blacksmith, sure ake armour and weapons from iron rods, but don’t go and carve out a bow as that’s just silly without the full training and knowledge (Not to mention time involved in learning).

Anyhow it’s late at night and I’m tired so I’ve probably missed things out, any questions just ask (Pm me to guarantee a response)

  • Regards,
    Warrior Rose.

EDIT: looked back, and edited to the correct amount they’d be issued on average (But you can still fit 60 arrows in a basic quiver, not much for anything else tho :wink: )

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Warrior Rose answer this. Indeed for battles and war archers use belt quivers. Even today archers often prefer to use a belt quiver than a back quiver. As Warrior Rose answer it, its easy and quick to draw an arrow from the belt. But often the archers stick their arrows in the ground in front of them, but this is not a good idea if you have to chance your position. Many arrows are needed in a battle.