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Home > Books > Arab Archery > XLVI. Quivers, belt, arrow picker, file
XLVI. Quivers, belt, arrow picker, file

A QUIVER should be made of leather, felt, or wood; but the best is that made of leather. It should have a wide opening and should gradually become narrower down to near the bottom, where it should become wide again like the top. It should have a cover to shield the feathers from possible rain. In size, it should hold from twenty-five to thirty arrows, which is the limit of capacity. Some archers have held that its length should be three spans but this is wrong because the usual length of arrows is nine handbreadths (which are three spans) or ten handbreadths (which are three and one third spans). If the quiver were three spans deep, the feathers would be within it and would be spoiled because of it, especially if the arrows were made after the school of those who place the feathers as far as two digits from their nocks. The correct thing, therefore, is what we have described; namely, that it should reach to the lower limit of the feathers. Every archer should have his quiver of this length, that is, up to the feathers of his own arrows. The quiver therefore varies with the length or shortness of its arrows. It sometimes reaches three spans or more according to the Persian school who shoot obliquely because their arrows are long, reaching twelve handbreadths in length (which is four spans). They place their feathers touching the nocks. The quiver should also be lined inside and outside.

The manner of carrying the quiver consists in having its strap over the left shoulder and the quiver itself hung along the right side of the back with its opening on a level with the right shoulder. It will not interfere with you in all your movements and all your pauses and all your shooting. Never place it in front of you along your shoulder, for it will interfere with your draw and with your sitting down and walking and running and all your movements and all your pauses and all your shooting.

The bow itself is on the left side in a case made of wood. The length of the bowcase should be the length of the bow or less by half a span, and it is measured by the bow when it is strung. Sometimes the archer may place his sword therein, along with his bow.

If you use a belt it should have two hooks: one on your right-hand side and one on your left-hand side. The belt is worn over your clothes. You hang the quiver from the hook which is on the righthand side, with its top in front of you. The bowcase is hung from the left-hand hook. You secure them both firmly so that the top of the quiver will not tilt while you are running and let the arrows drop out, or the top of the bowcase also tilt and let the bow drop, especially when the case is shorter than the bow. Know ye also that the quiver of the expert holds twenty-five arrows. One should not, however, limit himself to that number in battle, but should carry others stuck in his boots up to the feathers and others stuck in his belt with their nocks level with his neck.

Every archer should also have an arrow picker, which consists of a stick a little thicker than the arrow and of about the same length. Into one end of the stick a slot is sawn to the depth of about a span. At the point marking the end of the slot a ring made of copper or sinew should be fixed with glue so that the stick will not split when it is used. Then the extremities of the slot are spread apart the thickness of the arrow, with the result that the slot, when placed on the ground, forms a triangle. An arrow can then be picked up by pressing this picker against it.

The archer should also have a pair of scissors for trimming the feathers and a file to enlarge the nock or sharpen the arrowhead whenever the need arises.

[NOTE: There now follow twenty-six pages which treat of betting, as governed by Moslem law. Most of the matter has nothing whatever to do with archery and the small part which has some relation, however remote, is concerned merely with legal questions as to how wagers should be laid.]

It is related that the Apostle was wont to be pleased with the man who had mastered swimming, archery and horsemanship. ‘Umar [the second caliph] commanded that children be taught those three accomplishments. Said he "Learn ye the Koran and archery; verily the best hours of the believer are those in which he remembers God."

Muhammad ibn-al-Mawwāz said: "There is no harm in employing a man to teach you archery, horsemanship, combat, sword warfare, jumping to the back of a horse, wielding a spear, protecting with shields, throwing the javelin, and shooting with catapults, as well as anything else which may be of use against the enemy."

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