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General >> Project Goliath - The History of The Sling >> Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
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Message started by JerrySlinger on Oct 11th, 2009 at 10:49pm

Title: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by JerrySlinger on Oct 11th, 2009 at 10:49pm
Does anyone know if ancient Balearic slings tapered or were they the same width on the tension and release cord? I am curious why they are tapered like a whip and if they were always that style.

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by Aussie on Oct 12th, 2009 at 1:48am
In places where things are made according to a tradition there is often very little if any change evenover centuies. So It is likely that "ancient" Balearic slings were the same as they are today. However as slings are made from natural materials it is unlikely there are any slings around more than a century or so old. Of course that's a guess so it may be way out.

Tapering the release cord gives two advantages. Firstly the end behaves more like a whip and gives a louder crack on release. Secondly, due to less weight, there is less jarring of the hand as the released sling snaps straight making it more pleasant to use.

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by JerrySlinger on Oct 12th, 2009 at 2:43am
The only problem I see with tapering is that it weakens the sling. In war time I would want the most durable weapon possible. Also I don't see why a loud crack on a war sling is an advantage. Except for intimidation there may be times when you might not want to give up your position to the enemy with loud cracks. I really became curious to this question after seeing T.J. Potter's Balearic style sling which isn't tapered http://www.seekyee.com/Slings/gallery/bal1.htm and it doesn't appear tapered in wikipedia either http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Balearic_Slinger.jpg . I have very little knowledge as to how slings were used in war so I am very curious.

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by TN.Frank on Oct 12th, 2009 at 8:43am
Don't know if they taper their release cords or not but on my 6 strand slings I pretty much have to taper the release cord. Once I fold over the finger loop I'm dealing with 12 strands that I have to braid so things can get pretty messed up if you're not careful.  After the pocket I'll normally work back about 3" and cut one out of the heard, then go another 3" and cut the second, then 3" and the next one and work my way back until I've got 3 strands left. Then I'll braid them back a few inches and tie em' off. I can then tie a knot where I'll need it for my thumb and finger to hold onto the release cord.  If nothing else it makes the slings look a lot better and cuts down on air resistance when you sling.

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by curious_aardvark on Oct 12th, 2009 at 8:53am
I'm with aussie - given the serious slinging traditions still going on, I'd say they're the same today as thy've always been.

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by xxkid123 on Oct 12th, 2009 at 4:28pm
well tapering has the added advantage of not hooking to the direction of the throw. this slows the release cord and makes the shot of mark. paleoarts has a sling with a tab, but he trained wit hit and knows how to sling wit hit right. but when i used it my throw was way off

and, they aren't using cheap nylon crap made from flexible god knows what. they're using strong naturally harvested fibers that will be nearly impossible to break.

loud cracks wouldn't help or not- most slingers weren't for skirmishes and quick silent hit and run. a javelin would be better for that.

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by winkleried on Oct 12th, 2009 at 11:12pm
With my experience using Balearic style sling for a while, (You can check out my pics of my braided Balearic style slings) doesn't agree with your first sentance. All of my tapered slings will handle heaver weight rocks ( 1-200 grams) if I increased the size of my pouches to the full 17cm they would handle 500 g rocks all day long.

I tend to sling 50 to 200 gram rocks out of my balaric style slings. Most of them are landscaping rocks I pick up at one of the local hardware stores.

I have never had any of my tapered braided slings give under load. Can't say the same for my leather pouches. All the braiding I do is with Jutte and Sisal I purchase from hardware stores. For the slings I enter in Historical Arts and Science competitions I use hemp twine I pick up at Wal-Mart for those. And I also do sling with those display models, same thing.

Have to remember that in the ancient armies there wasn't a lot of the sneak and peek that you see today, and trust me by the time ya hear those loud crack the stones are only seconds away from landing.



JerrySlinger wrote on Oct 12th, 2009 at 2:43am:
The only problem I see with tapering is that it weakens the sling. In war time I would want the most durable weapon possible. Also I don't see why a loud crack on a war sling is an advantage. Except for intimidation there may be times when you might not want to give up your position to the enemy with loud cracks. I really became curious to this question after seeing T.J. Potter's Balearic style sling which isn't tapered http://www.seekyee.com/Slings/gallery/bal1.htm and it doesn't appear tapered in wikipedia either http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Balearic_Slinger.jpg . I have very little knowledge as to how slings were used in war so I am very curious.


Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by xxkid123 on Oct 13th, 2009 at 4:15pm
oh yeah, the most force that is on the sling is where the retention cord and pouch meets.

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by Timothy Potter on Oct 13th, 2009 at 11:52pm
I would guess that the Balearic slings were made without tapers at first, this being a more straightforward design, and that tapered release cords were developed after some time. At what point tapers were first used is more than I can say, but I see no reason that it couldn't have been in ancient times.

One thing to consider is that the sisal fibers used to make the nicely tapered Balearic slings today were used in ancient times, so the ancient slings likely would not have had as graceful a taper as they do today.

-Timothy Potter

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by winkleried on Oct 14th, 2009 at 1:03am
I am assuming Timothy that you meant to post that the Sisal fibers were not used in ancient times. Since Sisal is a 19th century development. It comes from a sterile member of the agave family and didn't really take off as a commercial fiber plant until the 19th century.

Traditional Balearic slings were made from Esparato, Black Tufted Rush, and Hemp. ( Or at least I can document those Fibers from historical sources)

Marc Adkins


Timothy Potter wrote on Oct 13th, 2009 at 11:52pm:
One thing to consider is that the sisal fibers used to make the nicely tapered Balearic slings today were used in ancient times, so the ancient slings likely would not have had as graceful a taper as they do today.

-Timothy Potter


Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by JerrySlinger on Oct 14th, 2009 at 5:53am
So why use sisal?

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by xxkid123 on Oct 14th, 2009 at 4:04pm
dunno ::)

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by JerrySlinger on Oct 14th, 2009 at 5:23pm
I have been looking for hemp and I can't find it anywhere..only jute and sisal. I wanted to make my next one out of hemp but made it out of mason line instead. I don't know if it is all in my head but I can throw a lot harder and further with my mason line sling then I can with my sisal ones which are all the same demensions.  I didn't taper the mason line sling because it the nylon is so slippery I don't think it will stay clean for long. But back to tapered fiber slings not being strong.. I hung one of my tapered sisal slings through the finger loop from my chinning bar the other day and was able to hang and swing from it and everything. I am 150lbs so it is pretty strong..In my search to find if their slings were tapered I read that the first ever armored boat was made because the Balearic slingers were able to sink boats from the shore with their slings. That's pretty amazing http://periodictable.com/Items/082.58/index.html

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by Thearos on Oct 14th, 2009 at 5:40pm
I think that's not quite right-- it was screens to protect the crews of rowers and marines on Metellus' ships (nicknamed "Balearicus" for his conquest of the islands), not to prevent Balearic slingers from sinking warships.

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by winkleried on Oct 14th, 2009 at 6:10pm
Wal-Mart Craft Section, Around the jewlry making supplies

That's where I get mine.

Marc Adkins


JerrySlinger wrote on Oct 14th, 2009 at 5:23pm:
I have been looking for hemp and I can't find it anywhere..only jute and sisal.


Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by mrboss on Oct 14th, 2009 at 6:31pm

JerrySlinger wrote on Oct 14th, 2009 at 5:23pm:
I have been looking for hemp and I can't find it anywhere..only jute and sisal. I wanted to make my next one out of hemp but made it out of mason line instead. I don't know if it is all in my head but I can throw a lot harder and further with my mason line sling then I can with my sisal ones which are all the same demensions.  I didn't taper the mason line sling because it the nylon is so slippery I don't think it will stay clean for long. But back to tapered fiber slings not being strong.. I hung one of my tapered sisal slings through the finger loop from my chinning bar the other day and was able to hang and swing from it and everything. I am 150lbs so it is pretty strong..In my search to find if their slings were tapered I read that the first ever armored boat was made because the Balearic slingers were able to sink boats from the shore with their slings. That's pretty amazing http://periodictable.com/Items/082.58/index.html


Unlike many of people, I can understand why they had to armor their ships from sling bullets.

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by Thearos on Oct 14th, 2009 at 6:45pm
Here's the reference-- in Strabo

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Strabo/3E*.html

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by mrboss on Oct 14th, 2009 at 10:51pm

Thearos wrote on Oct 14th, 2009 at 6:45pm:
Here's the reference-- in Strabo

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Strabo/3E*.html


Thats a totally different thing. Besides, why were animal hides used as protection from sling bullets? As if its guaranteed to stop a sling bullet.

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by Aussie on Oct 15th, 2009 at 12:29am
Actually they would be very effective at stopping sling stones that weren't too sharp. It works on the judo principle of yielding and dispersing the force slowly. Try hanging up a piece of old carpet or something like that and slinging at it. Provided it's not stretched tightly it will just move back and absorb the energy. The same stone slung at your typical, unyielding, deserted factory wall will smash a hole in it because the impact happens over a much shorter time so the force is much greater.

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by JerrySlinger on Oct 15th, 2009 at 12:47am
according to this http://periodictable.com/Items/082.58/index.html  they were  using lead football shaped projectiles to sink boats.

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by Aussie on Oct 15th, 2009 at 1:02am
Big "maybe" to that one. The English had trouble sinking Spanish ships with cannon balls. Perhaps the enemy were zipping around in Zodiacs.

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by Thearos on Oct 15th, 2009 at 4:51am
JerrySlinger: that's not a source, that's just someone posting a misunderstood or misrembered thing. How does the author of your reference know that the Balearic slingers sank war galleys with slings ? He doesn't give an ancient source. Don't take with caution-- don't take at all.

I have given you a (I think the only) ancient source: the ancient author Strabo. He talks of leather screens across the decks: stones (rather than lead, I think ? Not sure what the situation is in the C2nd BC, but Diod describes the balearic slingers throwing stones) raining on the ships, at fairly long range, and bouncing off the screens.  

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by Thearos on Oct 15th, 2009 at 4:59am
The source is obviously Strabo, just not quoted: te giveaway is a mention of the goatskin on the arm. In Strabo, this is not a "bag", but a skin to act as a shield-- your reference has distorted this into a bag. So the reference to "armoured" ships is to the stretched leather screens (I haven;t got the Greek, but it must be something like parapetasmata) to protect the decks.


Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by TOMBELAINE on Sep 16th, 2019 at 10:28am
You said : " war sling... sling"
Is there a difference between a war sling and a peace sling ?
And which ?
I think : this question isn't soo easy !

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by Curious Aardvark on Sep 16th, 2019 at 4:26pm
war slings would be longer.

'peace' slinging in the balearic islands mainly consists of target shooting at 20&30 metres.

War slinging would have mainly been at much longer distances, so the slings would have been longere.

It's said that a balearic slinger would carry three different length slings, for different distance slinging.

The longer slings would most likely have been for smaller ammo as well.
Plenty evidence that they used lead glandes (I have an historic lead glande from ibiza) so the pouches would have had to be smaller and the slings more flexible.

So, yeah - not a hard question to answer :-) 

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by TOMBELAINE on Sep 17th, 2019 at 11:25am
Yes,
You said : "It's said that a balearic slinger would carry three different length slings, for different distance slinging".
So, why the longer for war and not the two others ?
Is absolutely necessary to shoot at a great distance in a battle ? I think not. During the fray, some shoots can help the infantry. :-/

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by Curious Aardvark on Sep 17th, 2019 at 2:27pm
obviously all three would be available for war.

different missiles and different distances.

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by TOMBELAINE on Sep 18th, 2019 at 10:14am
Ok with you, Curious Aardvark. The most important is the missile. Only after, you can choice the best sling for a good shoot.
You can choice big stones to break wooden shields or lead to injure infantry for exemple. But I think they used their usual slingstones. Perhaps another for a specific usual.
So, they adapted to combine with their habits and the tactics.
I am not sure the balearic slings of today are the same. Perhaps but 2000 years do a big difference.
Just my idea because I don't know the past.

Title: Re: Were ancient Balearic war slings tapered ?
Post by funditor on Oct 3rd, 2019 at 9:24am
I do not think that they were tapered, at least not to a degree as they are nowadays. The closest depiction concerning culture, space and time difference is a sling of the Etruscans that is concerning the overall shape similar to the Balearic construction style nowadays, with three threads in the pouch, and also seems not to be tapered, but has a small pommel at the end.

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