The Archery Library
Old Archery Books, Articles and Prints
Home > Books > An Essay on Archery > Chapter IX: of Quivers.
Chapter IX
Of Quivers117

ALL thofe nations who have made ufe of the Bow, have found it neceffary to adopt fome method of carrying their Arrows, without engaging the immediate attention of their hands. The Quiver, therefore, has been in general ufe; and we have reafon to believe its invention fpeedily followed that of the Bow and Arrow. We find in Genefis, that it was a concomitant of the Bow at the time of Ifaac. "Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy Quiver and thy Bow, and go out to the field, and take me fome venifon" This paffage clearly points out the high antiquity of the inftrument in Afia; and there is no reafon to fuppofe that in the other parts of the world its invention has been much pofterior to that of the Bow. We are ignorant of the form, conftruction and materials of which Quivers were made in the time fpoken of by Mofes; but the bark of trees, or the fkins of animals, feem to be the things moft likely to have been adopted for that purpofe. Thofe found among favages at this day, are for the moft part formed from the materials I mention. Some of them are ornamented with elegant and curious workmanfhip, ufually compofed of the teeth of wild beafts, or fifh, and intermixed with fhells, or feathers.

The Quivers of the ancient Greeks, like: thofe of many other nations, were made of fkins, or leather. They were of various forms and fizes. Sometimes round, fometimes fquare, open at the top, or clofed with a lid; each of which kind may he perceived among figures of theGrecian warriors.118 This part of the warlike drefs was carried ufually on the back, the upper end of the Quiver juft riling above the right fhoulder. It is for this reafon Diana and Apollo are reprefented as carrying their Arrows in this manner. There is a figure from the Juftiniani Gallery, and two from that of Verfallies, copied in the forty-fecond Plate, Vol. I. of the Ant. Expt. of Montfaucon, all of which are beautifully arrayed in the manner fpoken of. Thefe Quivers are all pictured without any covering to them; but we find from Homer, that the Greeks fometimes had a lid to protect their Arrows.119

By fome the Quiver was ufed, not only as a cafe to convey their Arrows in, but alfo as a kind of Rofary, by which the events of every day were regiftered. On retiring to reft, the Scythian threw a fmall ftone into a Quiver placed near his couch, and if he had fpent the day in comfort and to his fatisfaction, he chofe a white pebble; but if in trouble, a black one; at death, the Quiver was reverfed and the ftones counted, and the perfon was efteemed to have fpent an happy or unhappy life, in proportion as the number of the white or black ftones predominated.120

Some of the Ethiopians are reported to have made ufe of no Quiver, but carried their Arrows ftuck round their heads like Radii—as whimfical and inconvenient a method as they could have chofen, if it was really their cuftom.121

The Quiver is faid to have been made by fome nations from the fkin of a lane Serpent.122

The Normans not only conveyed their Arrows by the Quiver, but ufed it alfo as a drum, to affift the clamour they ufually raifed at the opening of a battle.123

The Coryto, or Corytus, was another kind of cafe ufed by many nations, in order to carry their Bows in. It appears to have been made on the fame general principal as the Quiver, and I judge it to be about the fame length, becaufe in every reprefentation, it appears to admit half the length of the Bow.

I have not been able to find any verbal defcription of this part of the ancient Archer's drefs, nor have I ever feen one of the more modern ones.

In a figure of Tamerlane riding, which is drawn in pg. 15 Chron. Turcicorum, the method of carrying the Corytos, with the Bow in it, when on horfeback, is fhewn.—It is feen on a medal belonging to Mr. L'Abbé de Fontenu, copied by Montfaucon, Pl. 25, T. 4, and in the plate at pg. 157, of Suetonius, publifhed by Pitifcus, in quarto.—There are feveral of them likewife on the medals in Dr. Hunter's Mufeum.—See Hunter's coins by Combe, P. 3, F. 20, LI, 26,&c.

It is remarkable that in all the figures of this Bow-cafe, the Bow is reprefented as put into it ftrung.124