Everything You Need to Know About Medieval Arrows
No matter how great the bow might’ve been, it was only as good as the arrows used with it. There were many medieval arrows for sale during the time, depending on what the user was doing and the kind of bow they were using.
The best medieval arrows were made from a straight shaft with feathers on one end, known as the fletching, and an arrowhead on the other. The fletching was used to so that the arrow would have a straight path, taking away the effects of the air and the spin of the arrow. Heavier medieval arrows required larger fletchings than larger arrows, but you couldn’t put one that was too big. It would increase the drag and slow as it passed through the air.
Bows, be they short bows or longbows, had arrows that would range from 70-90 centimeters, depending on the length of the bow used. Medieval arrow shafts were around one centimeter in diameter.
For crossbows, they weren’t arrows but were called bolts or quarrels. They were a lot shorter than standard medieval arrows, around 32-38 centimeters long. Bolts weren’t only used for war but were also used for hunting. They were commonly modified in this case, usually having a dull point or a bit of poison so that the animal would be stunned, not killed.
The Heads of Medieval Arrows
The part of the medieval arrow that changed most was the arrowhead, that changed to suit the purposes needed. Originally, arrowheads for battle were the same as the ones made for hunting. These were called broad-head arrows, and were around 5 centimeters wide, with a barb on either side. The medieval arrow would cut into the cloth or skin of the target, and the barb would make sure that it remained there so that the target was disabled.
Broad-head arrows couldn’t penetrate mail or plate armor and would bounce right off. They were still used, thanks to working against war horses and soldiers and light armor, but the need for a stronger arrowhead that could deal with the stronger armor appeared.
The new arrowheads were called bodkins. These medieval arrows lost the barbs, became longer and became narrower. By being narrower, it was easier for them to penetrate armor. There were two kinds of armors in use, ring mail and plate armor, and each had a specific bodkin.
Long bodkin points were usually 7 centimeters long and were made to penetrate ring mail, as it would pass through the rings and injure the soldier using it. Short bodkins were usually 5 centimeters long, but they weren’t as narrow.
These medieval arrows had a four-sided pyramid shape that would have an easier time punching through plate mail. Even if they didn’t break the armor, they would still cause a concussion that could break bones.
The arrow is just as important as the bow and needs to fit it properly. If you’re unsure about which arrow to get, or whether your arrow will be a perfect fit for your bow, read through our recommendations and reviews that will help you find the right choice for your needs.
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