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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 | 4 )
DSCN4352.JPG (851 KB | 6 )

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 | 1 )

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.

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