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General >> Project Goliath - The History of The Sling >> Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
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Message started by Thearos on Aug 9th, 2014 at 5:20am

Title: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Thearos on Aug 9th, 2014 at 5:20am
The topic line says it all. I've not seen these discussed in the forum. The quote is from Vegetius 3.14

Funditores sunt qui fundis lino uel saetis factis - has enim dicunt esse meliores - contorto circa caput brachio dirigunt saxa.

Slingers throw stones by turning their arm around the head: they use slings made of linen or "sae tae" (these are said to be the best).

Saetae means "coarse, rough hair"-- so wool tufts ? goat hair ?

Add Virgil Georgics 1.309
tum figere dammas,
stuppea torquentem Balearis verbera fundae,

Winter is the time to "strike down does, by twisting the flaxen thongs of the Balearic sling".

"Linen" or "flax" I assume means slings plaited or braided from long flaxen fibres. "Hair" slings must mean something like Tibetan or Andean slings.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Thearos on Aug 9th, 2014 at 5:21am
Striking down does-- this is for Jaegoor.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by jlasud on Aug 9th, 2014 at 6:48am
:D nice quotes
Saetae =dreadlocks :D
jk... They didn't have paracord though..

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Bill Skinner on Aug 9th, 2014 at 8:21am
Could it have meant horse hair from the manes and tails?

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Thearos on Aug 9th, 2014 at 9:44am
Yes, absolutely !

saeta (sēta ), ae, f. etym. dub..
I. Prop., a thick, stiff hair on an animal; a bristle (class.; usu. in plur.; cf. villus, pilus).
A. Plur.
1. Absol., Lucr. 5, 786; “of a boar,” Ov. M. 8, 428; cf. 2, B. infra; “of a porcupine,” Claud. Hystr. 6; “of the fish aper,” Ov. Hal. 59; “of a goat,” Verg. G. 3, 312; “of a cow,” id. A. 7, 790; “of a horse,” Amm. 29, 2, 4; Val. Fl. 6, 71: “ita quasi saetis labra mihi compungit barba,” Plaut. Cas. 5, 2, 48.—
2. With gen.: “saetae leonis,” Prop. 4, 9, 44.—
B. Sing.: “saeta equina,” Cic. Tusc. 5, 21, 62: “nigrae saetae grex (suum),” Col. 7, 9, 2; cf. Verg. A. 7, 667.—

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Mark-Harrop on Aug 12th, 2014 at 7:00am
Thats the problem with ancient translations…

Maybe he meant a porcupine quill sling.  ;D

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Thearos on Aug 12th, 2014 at 8:39am
Unhelpfully snippy and snide comment removed by author

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Mark-Harrop on Aug 23rd, 2014 at 9:43am
Yeah, but you still don't know what they really meant.

Have you ever tried a porcupine quill sling?


Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Thearos on Aug 23rd, 2014 at 1:54pm
Saeta doesn't mean quill, it means that quills look like thickly planted hair. I.e. saeta can be used for all kinds of thick animal hair (horse, lion, boar). Common sense recommends wool, here. 

So any reenactor who wants to look like a Roman slinger should get a simple, tawny goat-hair or thick woollen sling.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Caldou on Aug 23rd, 2014 at 2:15pm
Or made of flax, wich is possible even if it's not the top quality material ;)

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Thearos on Aug 23rd, 2014 at 2:54pm
(What is flax usually used for ? It's linen, right ? Clothes, ropes ? I remember that you have to make linen fibers "rot", "rouir" in french)

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Caldou on Aug 24th, 2014 at 3:25am
Yes, you have to ret (retting is the action of letting the fibers rot in running water) flax, but also hemp or even nettle and many other vegetable fibers to separate said fibers from the "bark"

And you can use it for clothes, ropes, slings...

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Mark-Harrop on Aug 24th, 2014 at 9:39am
Porcupine quills can be plaited..so I wouldn't rule it out. They might make a very durable sling material or perhaps a covering for the natural fibre that could withstand abrasion much better than plant fibre or animal hair.
To the untrained eye, it would appear to be made of porcupine quills alone.
Sadly, they would have decomposed over time so any good examples would have been lost.

The crested porcupine was common in Greece, and quills could be gathered by simply throwing a blanket over one. 

Can't rule it out, it makes a lot of sense. Ystrix I believe they called them. I hear they taste OK too...

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Mark-Harrop on Aug 24th, 2014 at 9:42am
Balearic slings are made of flax?

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Thearos on Aug 24th, 2014 at 4:11pm
Now note something important here: linen slings are braided from long fibres, something like the slings I make. But slings made out of "saetae" are not braided from wool yarn or thread (too stretchy) but are made out of clumps of animal hair-- matted or spliced or felted.

A few questions:

--does anyone know HOW to make a sling like that ? Has anyone made one ?

-- does the movement involve twisting ? If so, the "well-twisted wool" slings of Homer might be this sort of thing.

--does anyone know of examples of such slings from Europe or the N.East ? (as opposed to Peru or Tibet).

-- WHY is a sling of matted animal hair better than braided fibres ?

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Thearos on Aug 24th, 2014 at 4:54pm
I want to hear from someone who has slung with both traditional animal hair sling and plant fibre slings.

And from someone who can teach me how to make an animal hair sling.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Thearos on Jan 14th, 2015 at 5:02pm
While answering question by Lusitani, I note that the oft-quoted passage by Strabo, 3.5.1, mentions slings of rush, hair (presumably animal, *triches* in Greek) or sinews in the Baleares.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Nov 3rd, 2019 at 10:35am
Hello.
It's funny. Video in french
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hq9TWDx5SLk
I can't say more because I don't try.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Sarosh on Nov 3rd, 2019 at 2:04pm
the sling cords are braided or twisted? is it clear from the text?

there are many ways to do it:
1) fibers twisted to cords, like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ISfNZAja3I or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DG26XDPpB8
and then those cords further braided or twisted
2)fibers to braid , like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pO4ERyUXdYU
3)fiber to thread with drop spindle(like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7R0Lb1qA7kE or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUeYJKOYrSk ) and then twisted to cords(by hand or any other way https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVAA57SwM88 ) and then braided or twisted to sling cords

I would prefer to have to braid with cords rather than fibers for consistency and speed. so my preference by order would be 3, 1, 2 . with the 3rd way you can possibly use any kind of fibrous material.

linen vs wool I'm curious which one would be more resistant to sea water.
linen is used for bowstrings for it's high strength/mass , I don't know much about wool.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Nov 4th, 2019 at 6:25am
Thearos said :
"Slingers throw stones by turning their arm around the head: they use slings made of linen or "sae tae" (these are said to be the best).

Saetae means "coarse, rough hair"-- so wool tufts ? goat hair ?"
With the video, I explore "saetae". If the slings made of saetae are really the best ( for Végétius), I think it can be interesting to use this way.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Nov 5th, 2019 at 3:56am
Yesterday, in a shop, I buy a ribbon of felt (1.99 euro) and I make very quickly a sling. I think this felt is more or least synthetic but for a first approach, it's suffisant. 1.99 euro !!!  :)
This morning, I test with a ball of tennis and a few bad-shapped stones. I am pleasantly surprised. It's a good sling.
Are there members who tried slings with felt or a shape of ribbon ? Thearos already asked this question.
DSCN4351.JPG (893 KB | 21 )
DSCN4352.JPG (851 KB | 23 )

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Nov 5th, 2019 at 3:58am
Sorry for the size of the photos !

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Thearos on Nov 7th, 2019 at 10:36am
Just a felt strip, cut to shape ? I wondered how the felt was strong enough not to break under the stresses of slinging (maybe braided strips) but this seems to work

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Nov 8th, 2019 at 7:07am
Thearos, your question is good. My example is synthetic, and it is not the reality. It is just a first approach.
This morning with a hairdresser for pets, (I don't know the word), I have got coat of dogs. I shall make a small peace of felt and if possible, I shall cut a pouch. My idea is understand and learn the technic. It's the second approach.
After, if I like this job, I try a felt strip like my example.
Of course, I say you the follow-up.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Nov 8th, 2019 at 7:12am
My English is not good.
It isn't "peace of felt" but "piece of felt".

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Thearos on Nov 10th, 2019 at 4:07pm
I wonder if it is a long strip of felted material (saitae, tufts of wool or hair, matted to make felt), making up a tough, unbreakable continuous strip, broadening in the middle to make a pouch

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Nov 11th, 2019 at 4:12am
Yes. It's my idea.
Because I don't understand how to make a rope with short coat. With long hair, I understand.
Because felt is an excellent material. Tough and unbreakable.
Because my first test with synthetic felt is ok. I think is a good concept.
It is prove nothing except if this felt sling is possible or not.
Just my think.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Nov 13th, 2019 at 3:03am
My first prototype.
It's also the first time I make felt, so there are some structural deflects.
Coat of dog, nettle and dried clay. The look is  :)
Is Vegetius' idea a sling with only a felted pouch or all the sling ? Why this question ? Because, when the work dries, it's possible to shape it.
I think do another pouch with wool to see the difference.
feutre_A1.jpg (363 KB | 13 )

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Nov 14th, 2019 at 9:20am
Intereresting ! A german friend said me this morning that she knows a grandmother who makes pull with hairs of her dog in Germany.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WudYZNzyfnQ
Linen, wool (sheep, dog or others) or felt. All these materials are possible. So, I think we will not know exactly what is sling with saetae for Vegetius.
But I think it's interesting to search the subject.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Jan 2nd, 2020 at 7:06am
This sling is not nice but I tested it with an ammunition of 75 grammes.
The pouch is made with felted wool of sheep.
The straps are made with 6 strands of the brown wool. I plaited 6 strands and after I felted the braid.
This sling is solid enough to throw the ammunition.
There are two differences with the tibetan sling. The strands are felted and the pouch is made only with felt.
I think the pouch is too large and it isn't good when the wind blows.
DSCN4367.JPG (117 KB | 6 )

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Thearos on Jan 2nd, 2020 at 8:45pm
Homemade felt from thick tufts of animal hair-- wow ! And even made into a sling. So this IS an alternative to the vegetal fibres braided into long strands !!!

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TheJackinati on Jan 3rd, 2020 at 12:23pm
Hell, I might have to give this a go.

I've been meaning to do some felting for certain ancient/medieval hats, and if I ever get around to it I would certainly have off-cuts that would make a convenient sling pouch.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Thearos on Jan 4th, 2020 at 1:29am
I assume felt is better than even braided wool, because it doesn't stretch = better preservation of energy

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Jan 9th, 2020 at 6:27am
My felt is elastic. Perhaps, there are different qualities. So, my feeling is a sensation of a soft throw. Pleasant.
Others tests are necessary. I'll spin wool, felt the strands and plait a "balearic" sling.
A long time !  :-? :-?

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Jan 26th, 2020 at 10:29am
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GF6CsoLVEoA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-Cf0QuYSsQ
Two links (part 1 and part 2) to spin wool. It's in french but the pictures are enough to understand. The music of middle-age is good. I'm sure you can find others sites with your language.
Actually, I spin wool and about 20 meters are probably necessary for my job.
This work is probably the "Well twisted wool" of Homère. Just my think !

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Lithera on Jan 30th, 2020 at 7:12pm
I have made a few wool slings from both twisted yarn, and felting yarn, and they work very well. However, there is one vital thing to bear in mind, which is that these slings are only good if they have been heavily stretched while they dry. I do this by soaking the finished sling in water, and then tie the release cord to a bucket full of heavy things, and lift the bucket and sling by the finger loop, which I slip over a hook on the garage ceiling.
The whole sling is then evenly stretched, and once dry, the wool sling has similar elasticity to rope (no perceivable stretch).
The heavier the weight used to stretch it, the less elastic it will be.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Kick on Jan 31st, 2020 at 2:21am
That's a good thing to know. I have been wanting to use wool but haven't known how to combat the elasticity.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Jan 31st, 2020 at 7:05am
Thank you Lithera.
I'll do like you say.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Feb 3rd, 2020 at 6:22am
1) Wool of sheep 100% bio and nature  :-[
2) After washed with cold water and carded with brushers for pets.  :)
3) Spinned with spindle like the links.

My german friend has the sheeps and she decides to make a great sweater with this method.  :) The weight of the sweater is about 2 kilos.
It's an interesting experience for her.
DSCN4373.JPG (188 KB | 9 )

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Feb 17th, 2020 at 10:00am
my spinned wool is not very elastic but after I felt the braid, the wool is very elastic.
So, I will test the sling 2 times. Before I will stretch the sling and after to feel the difference.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Feb 17th, 2020 at 2:44pm
Sorry for my English. The good text is :

My spinned wool is not very elastic but after I felt the strands, the wool is very elastic.

:-? :-?

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Feb 19th, 2020 at 5:54am
Hello,
If you search : fulling on Wikipédia, you find an article about the treatment of wool in history.
To do my sling,I make strands with hot water and urine.
The video is to show the result with my wool.
http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?action=downloadfile;file=DSCN4380.MOV (3381 KB | 25 )

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Feb 26th, 2020 at 8:21am
My sling is finished.
Like said Way Of The Sling ( not Lithera like I said before, with my excuses), I decided to stretch it 2 days with five kilos. Five kilos are not suffisant. I have a small elasticity still. I think ten kilos the next time.
My idea was that I needed six strands of three meters. My sling is too short. 1,04 meter.
My first test with it is ok. Next week, I will test on a beach to work the range.
probably,I will make another with correcting my errors.

DSCN4382.JPG (377 KB | 7 )

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Way of the Sling on Mar 28th, 2020 at 12:31pm
Recently performed some more experiments with wool slings, and I found a way to make them work really well.
First, tightly braid a wool sling using yarn. (I like 2 ply twist as its fast and can be done tightly)
Once complete, stretch it in the way I described above.
The next step is to dip the whole thing into liquid beeswax, take it out, and rub off all of the excess beeswax with a glove. I then like to stretch it again before the beeswax cools so that the cooled beeswax prevents the wool from 'relaxing' back.
The resulting sling is very abrasive resistant, quite light, inelastic, flexible, comfortable, 'grippy' (no release knot needed), and its handling characteristics don't change even if dunked in water.
Wool is now my favourite sling material when made this way.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Mar 29th, 2020 at 11:44am
Hello.
I am in late with my second sling.
I am interested by beeswax. Good idea. Thanks.  :) :)

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Way of the Sling on Apr 4th, 2020 at 12:02am
I was thinking that perhaps Vegetius was referring to something like horse hair rather than wool. Horse hair would be quite durable I imagine, wouldn't absorb rain, would have a lot less elasticity + long fibres, and wouldn't be hard on the hands.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Apr 5th, 2020 at 5:40am
It's possible, Way of the Sling.
Two possibilities.
1) Another technic to throw with an "more or less elastic" sling. Why not ?
2) Another hair of animal. In this case, I don't think horse because a horse is expensive, not for shepperd. But goat.
Why ? Because, people made rope with hair of goat, like this link in french
https://books.google.fr/books?id=c03K6_WOhOIC&pg=PA43&lpg=PA43&dq=corde+en+poil+de+ch%C3%A8vre&source=bl&ots=VtjHqVkYHo&sig=ACfU3U0p1a2X2PThSXC0q7ORoRtNOEDEcw&hl=fr&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiVuqSKts7oAhWHlhQKHb9rBcUQ6AEwDXoECAsQNQ#v=onepage&q=corde%20en%20poil%20de%20ch%C3%A8vre&f=false
A very good postcard page 43

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Way of the Sling on Apr 5th, 2020 at 12:21pm
I have done a reasonable amount of slinging with semi-stretched wool slings, and even though they are still slightly elastic, there is a 'wall' that they don't stretch past. Thus with 'heavy' stones, the 'light' elasticity doesn't seem to be an issue.
I know horse hair is expensive in today's world in part because of the high demand for it in the music industry, but was it also expensive in the ancient world? Even if it was, I suppose the material that "is best" isn't always cheap.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Caldou on Apr 5th, 2020 at 5:18pm
I can't remember who tried making a horse hair sling / cord (Teg, maybe ? ) but I can remember the comment : it's a real pain to work with !

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Apr 6th, 2020 at 7:19am
In the link I note, there is this passage :
"the goat provides its hairs for the navy, for the war machines and for the potter's turn" said Varron at the 1er century before Christ.
If I can find hair of goat, It is possible I try but it is not sure.
Do members know (or use) rope made with hairs of goat ?

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Teg on Apr 6th, 2020 at 9:28am

Caldou wrote on Apr 5th, 2020 at 5:18pm:
I can't remember who tried making a horse hair sling / cord (Teg, maybe ? ) but I can remember the comment : it's a real pain to work with !


I never made a full sling out of horse hair. I occasionally use it to reinforce things like mixed fiber/horse hair braids for crackers.

Pikaru once made a sling out of horse hair:
http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1172017416/4095

Other than that I've seen movies of gauchos making rope out of horse hair.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on Apr 23rd, 2020 at 6:39am
A french link translated of "history of Ovide". In an old french, it's funny.
For an abstract, Ovide said that, with hair of horse and goat, people made protects for soldiers. Like Middle-Age, to do padding jacket.

https://books.google.fr/books?id=HTcpdsgKg2wC&pg=PA42&lpg=PA42&dq=gr%C3%A8ce+antique+%2B+poils+de+ch%C3%A8vre&source=bl&ots=k-uUMvJHdB&sig=ACfU3U1OoTYRHnUyAxPmcOn90asCSzIUow&hl=fr&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjt26uy993oAhWG2BQKHaA-DuI4ChDoATAFegQIDBA6#v=onepage&q=gr%C3%A8ce%20antique%20%20%20poils%20de%20ch%C3%A8vre&f=false

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by Way of the Sling on May 19th, 2020 at 5:22pm
Finally found the solution to wool's extensive elasticity: https://www.nature.com/articles/124948b0

Recently tried it on one of my wool slings, and it does indeed remove all perceivable elasticity!
Unlike my previous method of wet stretching, when wool is steamed under tension, it will not return to it's original elastic state.
I have recently been experimenting to see whether sling elasticity is really an issue, and while I didn't really see any noticeable decrease in power, I did notice it is much more difficult to be accurate. Perhaps because different weight stones will cause the sling to stretch to slightly different lengths on release? Just a thought.

Could this be the 'key' to making wool 'best'?
Would love to hear your thoughts.

Title: Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Post by TOMBELAINE on May 26th, 2020 at 6:22am
I think : it's possible but it seems complicated for a simple sling.
After your interesting search, the problem becomes :
- is there a throwing tecnic to take advantage of the elasticity ?
- big slingstones or very short sling ?
- hair of others animals ?

I have searched on Internet for others animals.
Corsica is an island in France and in the local language, a rope (tyed and flat) in goat hair is : funa !!! :)
Fona is a sling in balearic island !!! :)
Today, I think Sae Tae is probably hair of goats.

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