General >> Project Goliath - The History of The Sling >> Battle Sounds

Message started by Chris on Apr 27th, 2005 at 1:24am

Title: Battle Sounds
Post by Chris on Apr 27th, 2005 at 1:24am
An interesting quote from Xenophon about his Rodian slingers:

"The order passed to his own men was: "Wait till you are within sling-shot, and the shield rattles, then sound the paean and charge the enemy."

I may be interpreting wrong, but "shield rattles" implies to me slingers peppering the enemy before the infantry charged in.  

If I'm right, that a pretty fascinating description.  Imagine a line of slingers sending a horizontal hail into an approaching force.  And imagine the sound of men being wounded, lead projectiles hitting wooden shields and metal armor...  

It would probably sound a lot like the sound bit in Jordan's movie, but x100:

It would be quite a sound (and sight) I'm sure.


Title: Re: Battle Sounds
Post by MammotHunter on Apr 27th, 2005 at 8:24am
Oh man, that is a hell of a mental image, scores of slingers rushing upon the enemy, sending a hail of lead and shot into their ranks. The enemy raising their shields in confusion, and then turning, screaming as the sound of horse's hooves charging down on them starts getting REALLY close. I think though when Xenophon talks about shields rattling, he's talking about the enmies shaking or waving their shields and striking them with something to makes sort of a THUNK THUNK THUNK sound sort of like a train. If you've ever watched Zulu, I think you'll get what I mean. I know tribes and people from all over the world employ this tactic, and in the right conditions, you can sometimes psych the enemy out into thinking there are far more of your forces than there really are. Do it in an open valley, and the echo can more than quadruple your numbers to the enemy.

Title: Re: Battle Sounds
Post by Celtic_Rebel on Apr 30th, 2005 at 11:26pm
Yea, that is a pretty freaky situation to be in the middle of. This would be the situation in battles between the Romans, the celts, the greeks, and the Germanic and Romanian tribes. Picture this:
There is a single line of Roman legionarres, facing alarge wedgeformation of Celtic chariots.Each chariot has one driver, and one slinger or archer on theback. Behind the chariots are several celtic warbands, each making a horrifying sound by blowing their horns, yelling to intimidate the romans, and taking their spears or swords and banging them against their sheilds. Archers and slingers fire volley after volley,and the romans answer this with several return volleys of arrows and greek fire. The skirmish would continue, and the celtic chariots would circle around the roman formation tormenting them before hand-tohand combat  began.

These battles would occur on very large scales, sometimes each army would have as many as 100,000 men.In one batlle in Southern Mercia, the romans suffered 70,000 casualties (not too sure about how much the other side lost. Sling a rock at a piece of loose sheet metal and multiply that noise times 200,000.

Title: Re: Battle Sounds
Post by slingbadger on Aug 28th, 2006 at 1:40pm
 Iv'e seen large scale fighting in the SCA Pennsic Wars
(15,000 of our close friends together to bash each other) When shield walls are made, the fighters lock shields and advance. As they do, the shields bounce against one another. That could create a shield rattle too.

Title: Re: Battle Sounds
Post by Mordechaj on Aug 28th, 2006 at 4:15pm
that, or intentional banging of one's weapons on his own shield, in order to produce bigger noise than oponents do.

(btw, old thread trap worked ;) )

Title: Re: Battle Sounds
Post by Slinger_Man_Dan on Sep 6th, 2006 at 4:34pm
         This may be an old thread, but it is also an interesting topic, so let me throw in my "two cents worth."   ::)                                
         I have done a good bit of RevWar ( American Revolution ) re-enacting. As many of you may know, the flintlock muskets of the 1700's were fired in massed volleys. Thus individual accurracy was largely irrelevant. I have often wondered if a similar approach was used by the slingers of antiquity. A slinger could be trained in just a few days if accurracy is not needed, and I think you'll agree that if, say, a thousand slingers let fly simultaneously, the effects in the "beaten zone" ( the target area ) will be significant. There certainly would be a rattling sound!!   :o                                   .......Dan

Title: Re: Battle Sounds
Post by siguy on Sep 7th, 2006 at 8:39pm
i know i am late here, but you don't even need a few days to teach a person how to sling for power, forgetting accuracy.  i taught a couple of neighborhood kids how to sling with nearly as much power as myself in about an hour, with another couple of hours to practice.  they were able to throw nearly as powerfully as i, though their range would most likely fall short of mine because they haven't refined their form.  

Title: Re: Battle Sounds
Post by bigkahuna on Sep 25th, 2006 at 10:04pm
Re: Battle Sounds, did anyone else notice that in the film Gladiator, the sounds they used for the Germanic tribesmen were actually the sound track of the Zulus from the movie of the same name?

Title: Re: Battle Sounds
Post by Stringman on Nov 6th, 2006 at 2:43am
In some battles the sound might be due to more than the practical sounds of physical conflict.. For sheer velocity and range one would want a polished unadorned surface.   Yet some of the old glans may have been designed to produce a buzz on being slung.   For example the cast lead one with  design on the side  pictured in the gallery looks like it would almost certainly buzz.  I don't think one would throw away lead just to scare wildlife from animals/crops when a rough rock would do the job, so doubt it was made for that.   But in or prior to battle, or when beseiging...    imagine a few thousand slingers all throwing buzzers!.  Is this an early example of psycological warfare?

Title: Re: Battle Sounds
Post by Leeds_Lobber on Nov 25th, 2006 at 12:12pm
The Shield Rattles in the Anabasis I always thought was the sound of the enemy bringing their shields up from marching order into a battle line - in other words the shields rattling off each other as they formed up.

But its an interesting idea. Shield-carrying Persian Infantry by then  would either be Meliphoroi or Kardakes (a sort of imitation Hoplite we think) so bashing their shields with their spear-butts like in Zulu would be a perfectly reasonable way of doing things, as a morale-boosting exercise.

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