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Cestrosphendone (Read 163008 times)
Hondero
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Cestrosphendone
Jan 21st, 2004 at 2:30pm
 
Well, the time has arrived to talk about cestrosfendon (or cestrophendone in latin). The text of Livius mentioned by Matolay, relative to war betwen Macedonians and Romans, says thus:

“They suffered (the Romans) mainly from the cestrosphendones, a novel kind of weapon invented during the war. It consisted of a pointed iron head of two palms long, fastened to a shaft made of pinewood, nine inches long and as thick as a man´s finger. Round the shaft three feathers were fastened as in the case of arrows, and the sling was held by two thongs, one shorter than the other. When the missile was poised in the center of the sling, the slinger whirled it round with great force and it flew out like a leaden bullet. Many of the soldiers were wounded by theese and by missiles of all kinds. “


The weapon then had an iron point of two palms (15 cm) and a shaft of nine inches of the thickness of a finger. In the middle of the shaft there was three fins. The translation to english that I have got says that of the two thongs of different length; nevertheless the latin text of Livius says that in the middle of the sling there were two different “scutalia”. Again the famous word “scutalia” and the confusion that implies, because the translator interprets it like strap of the sling, whereas Livius literally says that in the middle of the sling were the two scutalia,  what suggest there were two different pouch to hold the dart between both. This interpretation is coherent with the one of the achaean sling, that would be formed by a triple pouch or pouch of three sewn pieces, like the text of Livius sugest speaking of "triplex scutalia". Well, semantics investigations aside, there we have the cestrosphendon that would be a dart of about 35,5 cm in length with three fins in the middle of its shaft. The dart would be holded between two small pouches of different form and whirled around in the the habitual way. One of the pouches would be a small leather circle to support the point and the other a loop to introduce the end of the shaft, over the fins. The dart would be held between the pouches not horizontal but with an angle and the thongs would be of differente lenght. I am going to try finding an image of the weapon, as it has passed some years since I was on it.
It is remarkable that the dart would have a weight ten times superior, at least, to a conventional arrow, possibly around 200 grams, and therefore its power of impact, together with its penetration, was terrible. Such a weight only could be thrown to great distance with a sling.

Hondero, and years ago cestrosphendoner Wink
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« Last Edit: Nov 7th, 2007 at 12:05pm by Hondero »  

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Whipartist
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Re: Cestrosphendon
Reply #1 - Jan 21st, 2004 at 3:24pm
 
Hondero,

Thanks that's very interesting.  I'm sure the power of such a weapon was incredible!  I'm looking foward to the picture if you can find one.  I think I'm understanding how it would work, but a picture would help to clarify, even if just a drawing.  Awesome.  Thanks!

                                 Ben
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Yurek
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Re: Cestrosphendon
Reply #2 - Jan 21st, 2004 at 4:10pm
 
Yes, Hondero, we ask you for a sketch. This is very interesting.

Jurek
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In the shape, structure and position of each stone, there is recorded a small piece of history. So, slinging them, we add a bit of our history to them.
 
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Re: Cestrosphendon
Reply #3 - Jan 22nd, 2004 at 8:15pm
 
Hondero,
Thanks for the fine explanation. Well, if the dart is held in loaded position before turn, would it be pointing its arrow downwards so that the heavy part is at the end of the turning radius?

In that case, would it be released with tail first? Because a normal small dart you can throw pointing at its target, but also by holding it in its tail pointing the opposite direction because it will turn itself during flight and hit the target arrow first anyway. I guess it’s the same with the cestrosphendon. I sure would like to see a drawing or something.  8)

What would be the average range of the described size dart?  Roll Eyes

Later, in the same Macedon war the Romans had to give up the siege of a town who's defenders used 'engines' throwing stones so precisely they could not get near the walls and a soldier standing on deck of a roman ship watching the siege from some distance was 'shot' dead by one. It seems these Macedon’s had great inventors them days.  Cheesy 
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Hondero
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Re: Cestrosphendon
Reply #4 - Jan 23rd, 2004 at 6:09am
 
Some drawings will save a pile of words.


...




The cestros sling:
...


The weapon works very well but it requires enough training until finding the launching suitable technique. If someone is encouraged to construct and to experiment with it, we will speak of the secrets of its use. The weapon is very powerful and according to the Greek text of Polibius in which Livius was inspired to describe it, the point was formed of two equal parts: one the point itself, that would be of massive iron and another one in tube form to fit the shaft. This imply a weight of around 150 grams or greater, similar to the one of a stone projectile of a military sling, that could be sent to great distance, around the 200 meters as Vegetius indicates speaking of the training of the Roman slingers. I can imagine the destructive effect of the dart penetrating even the armors and destroying members and enemy heads...  Shocked

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Yurek
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Re: Cestrosphendon
Reply #5 - Jan 23rd, 2004 at 11:31am
 
Hondero,

Thanks for the good pictures. They tell me all about how that device working. Great!

Jurek
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In the shape, structure and position of each stone, there is recorded a small piece of history. So, slinging them, we add a bit of our history to them.
 
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Re: Cestrosphendon
Reply #6 - Jan 23rd, 2004 at 3:30pm
 
....wow!   Looks like a nasty weapon to face on a battlefield!     x3 questions:

1/ How does the sharp iron dart point slip smoothly out of the small soft leather sling pocket?  Maybe it doesnt have to because the dart flips end-over-end on launch.

2/ Why is the dart shaft extended so far aft beyond the fins?  It seems like just enough shaft to be held in the small sling loop would be better, and give smoother launches.

3/ On spin-up, wouldnt the fins try to orient the dart point first in the sling?   

Thanx!     ....wonder how far Jurek could chuck one of these 200g darts?

mgreenfield
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Re: Cestrosphendon
Reply #7 - Jan 23rd, 2004 at 5:21pm
 
mgreenfield,

I'm afraid I could't send the dart very far I have no practice with it. It seems to be not easy in using, more difficult than the sling, I suppose.

Jurek
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In the shape, structure and position of each stone, there is recorded a small piece of history. So, slinging them, we add a bit of our history to them.
 
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Hondero
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Re: Cestrosphendon
Reply #8 - Jan 24th, 2004 at 2:01pm
 
Mgreenfield, very good questions. The small pocket is leather, but I didn´t say it was soft leather as in a conventional sling, but at the contrary it must be hard leather and using the tanned surface to hold up the point. If not, the point will be trapped in it when throwing and the dart would fly in an erratic way, as you have imagined. The litle pocket must be dished too, as it is evident.  Nevetherless, this is the main problem with cestrosphendon, and to avoid the possible driftage they used (in my guess) the long  shaft that exceded the loop: it direct the dart correcting the deviations in the throw. But after  having experienced a lot, I eventually have adopted a shorter dart with the fins almost at the end, as you say, and to avoid the driftage I use a litle piece of dished metal stuck in the pocket ( exactly a litle original Roman coin  Smiley).
In any case, is basic the lenth of the dart between the pocket and the loop to be as shorter as posible to avoid the entangling of the cords in the turning around.

This morning, encouraged by the chat, I´ve found my last cestros, forgotten from two years in the box of funny weapons. I went to a near field and have thrown it several times enjoying it very much. Eventually, in a longer throw, I´ve lost it. It´s the destiny of all cestros  Undecided.

Hondero
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Re: Cestrosphendon
Reply #9 - Jan 25th, 2004 at 12:30am
 
Hondero, ....thanks the note re my x3 questions.   It the thing lots harder to manage than a usual sling, ...like Jurek thinks it might be??   The Cestrophendon is attractive because it provides a fool-proof solution to the problem of keeping the projectile headed point first as it flys.     mgreenfield
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Re: Kestros
Reply #10 - Jan 31st, 2004 at 10:46am
 
What a coincidence!  I haven't worked on my slinging research for two years, began thinking about it last night, and this morning found this forum almost by accident only to find a new thread on my favorite topic, the Kestros (I prefer this shorter name).

I worked up a number of bolt shapes (including one that looks much like the sketch above) based on the Livius and a few others descriptions, too. My sling interpretation is different, though. I have successfully tossed a Kestros with impunity, but need to braid a longer sling and wait for the snow to melt before trying it out (I wouldn't want to lose it in the snow).

I have the advantage that a buddy of mine Prof. Vern Foley is a History of Technology professor at Purdue. Vern helped me with the history and translations. He's an expert in ancient weaponry and has 5 articles in Scientific American. I've also talked with the Royal Armourie in England. They are familiar with the Kestros mystery, too. http://www.armouries.org.uk/

My feeling is that any interpretation isn't authentic unless 1. you find an ancient artifact to verify it (unlikely). Or, 2, your intrerpretation performs as well as the original. So, until I can toss one fast and long I won't know if my interpretation is correct or not. I'll post more when I learn more, probably around March when the local soccer field is greening.  Dan
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Re: Cestrosphendon
Reply #11 - Jan 31st, 2004 at 11:01am
 
Dan ....dead nuts right on re your items 1 & 2 in last paragraph.     Same w regular sling & I look fwd to your March postings!   Greening in March??   Must be nice.   Closer to end-May here.          mgreenfield
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Re: Cestrosphendon
Reply #12 - Jan 31st, 2004 at 2:35pm
 
My friend Dan, is pleasant to find you here. You will remember me from the Slinging forum in Yahoo groups, that has come down little by little. I am Jesús Vega and in that forum I used the nick of Hondahondero or Tribal. I remember the other colleagues of the forum in epoca 2001-2002 in which I was there, like Thom Richardson, Nikolas Lloyd, Ed Somervail, etc. It was other time and the forums disappear but the slingers follow on. Sometimes I have thought to write to the dying forum so that people went to this one, that being younger it is in the heat of euphoria, but it seems to me  incorrect thinking in Ed Somervail, the owner of the forum. It´s a pleasure you´ve arrived here and to count with your valuable contribution in the subjet of the sling. I remember that lately there we were speaking about the Cestrosphendon or cestros, or Kestros in its Greek root. I warn you that I am an expert cestrosphendoner, so don´t  put me in doubt which I say, ha ha ha.

Saludos and welcome
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« Last Edit: Jan 31st, 2004 at 4:40pm by Hondero »  

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Re: Cestrosphendon
Reply #13 - Jan 31st, 2004 at 3:51pm
 
Hello, Hondero!  I wondered if that wasn't you when I read your posts. Yes, the old forum is slow lately. This one is very active and has so many people! This is wonderful news for the advancement of this sport and hobby. 

You mentioned Thom Richardson. He was my contact at the Royal Armouries as no doubt you will recall. Thom has an interest in the Kestros mystery.

I remember that you were also working on a Kestros and had developed a working model. I'm glad you have continued to develop proficiency with it. I look forward to comparisons when I finish my testing this spring. yours, Dan
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Hondero
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Re: Kestros
Reply #14 - Feb 1st, 2004 at 8:46am
 
Quote:
I have the advantage that a buddy of mine Prof. Vern Foley is a History of Technology professor at Purdue. Vern helped me with the history and translations.



It looks very interesting, that help. I always have missed in any translation that joint between Latin and weapons knowledge. I´d like to know his interpretation of Livius text and that of Polibius, the only ones I think does exist about cestros.
Well, I read somewere that the cestros is depicted in some odd Greek vases, but till now I´ve found nothing in differents online collections, such as Perseus. May be someone is encouraged to find it.

Hondero
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