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General >> Project Goliath - The History of The Sling >> Early MediŠvel Slings and Ammunition
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Message started by quixoticgeek on Oct 24th, 2011 at 8:32pm

Title: Early MediŠvel Slings and Ammunition
Post by quixoticgeek on Oct 24th, 2011 at 8:32pm
I have been doing some research on slings from the early medieval period (900-1200), and have found a few examples of slings (namely Hedeby and York). But what I haven't found yet is any details of the ammunition, especially in the later part of the above period.

When used in battle, and especially in sieges as a staff sling, would people have principally used stones as ammunition, or would lead based projectiles like those used by Romans, have been used? Are there any archaeological finds of projectiles?

Thanks

Julia

Title: Re: Early MediŠvel Slings and Ammunition
Post by Aussie on Oct 24th, 2011 at 10:00pm
Greetings Julia and welcome to the site,

Some of our more historically minded members may be able to give you more specific answers but AFAIK staff slings were used primarily to launch larger, heavier stones especially over battlements at besieging troops below.

The chief advantage of leaden projectiles is that they retain velocity better and so go further than equivalent weight stones. Hence they are best suited to hand slingers shooting at a still distant enemy as hand slingers will generally shoot a good deal further than staff slingers albeit with lighter, less destructive ammunition.

Regard,

Aussie

Title: Re: Early MediŠvel Slings and Ammunition
Post by David Morningstar on Oct 25th, 2011 at 2:37am
No lead bullets are found after the Romans. Ordinary stones were the ammo used. Have you seen the slinger on the Bayeux Tapestry?

Title: Re: Early MediŠvel Slings and Ammunition
Post by curious_aardvark on Oct 25th, 2011 at 6:45am
in early medieval times the bow had pretty much wiped the sling out in europe.
Staff slings were mostly used in naval encounters - few tapestries show this.

But for just about everything else military bows were the weapon of choice.  

Title: Re: Early MediŠvel Slings and Ammunition
Post by David Morningstar on Oct 25th, 2011 at 9:15am
Crossbows, specifically. England's use of the Longbow was very unusual for the period. Staff slings were also much used for siege warfare, being a cheap and easy way to give anyone a ranged attack.

Title: Re: Early MediŠvel Slings and Ammunition
Post by timann on Oct 25th, 2011 at 1:25pm
The Norvegian book Kings Mirror from around 1200 tell the kings warriors, among other weapons, to practice slinging stone missiles with hand- and staff slings.
It also mentions staff slings among weapons practical in naval warfare.
timann

Title: Re: Early MediŠvel Slings and Ammunition
Post by Fundibularius on Oct 25th, 2011 at 2:00pm

Curious Aardvark wrote on Oct 25th, 2011 at 6:45am:
in early medieval times the bow had pretty much wiped the sling out in europe.
á


I don't think so. There are several threads with pictures in this forum which discuss the sling (and the staff sling) in use in war throughout the Middle Ages, from the Bayeux Tapestry (11th c.) slinger to the Liber ad honorem Augusti (12th c.; alongside with the bow) to the Battle of Nßjera (14th c.).

e.g. slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1274713581/11

The ammo generally seems to be rocks.

Title: Re: Early MediŠvel Slings and Ammunition
Post by Jaegoor on Oct 25th, 2011 at 3:21pm
Mac Bible, Bellifortis usw

Title: Re: Early MediŠvel Slings and Ammunition
Post by slingbadger on Oct 26th, 2011 at 6:45am
Glandes were last mentioned in the 1st cent, AD, but that does not mean they weren't  used after that. Stones were the prefer ed choice in the Middle Ages, although, for slingstaffs, their  equivalent  of grenades were used. They were small ceramic jars, filled with flaming materials, or sometimes hot lime. Konrad Keyser's  Bellafortis mentions the Finns using jars containing red hot iron filings. Sometimes the stones were also heated. Ah, the good old days of Chivalry.

Title: Re: Early MediŠvel Slings and Ammunition
Post by Mauro Fiorentini on Oct 26th, 2011 at 6:58am
Hallo Julia,
I'll tell you how was the situation here in Central Italy: crossbows were mainly used during sieges, followed by bows, beginning from ca. 1050.
Crossbows rapidly increased their proficience, and became the most used weapons of their time, from about 1200 onwards.
Bows were still used during sieges, but were prefered for field battles.
Staff slings were rarely used, because they were soon supplanted by siege machines such as catapults, ballistas and trebuchets.
That's why there're few findings about staff slings, and some of them are round balls of sandstone, used as ammunition, with a diameter of about 10 - 15 centimeters and a weight of a kilo or two.
That's the situation in Central Italy during a slightly more recent period than the one you're studying; it's somehow uncertain, because we've got few chronicles, and dating findings is sometime difficult.

For example, my town was besieged and conquered in 800 b.C, by North African pirates, but we don't know much about this event.
It was then besieged again in 1174 by Emperor Frederick Redbeard and Venice fleet, and we've got 3 or 4 books about this siege, written by both the contenders, which even tell us the name of Venice's main ship.
It was also conquered by the Church in 1340, a castle was built to submit the town, but a successful rebellion caused the destruction of the castle, and we've got so many information about that to know that 2 siege machines were used - we even know the name they gave to them!

Should you need any more help, feel free to pm me.
Greetings,
Mauro.

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