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slings in Alexander's army. (Read 6643 times)
slingbadger
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slings in Alexander's army.
Jan 7th, 2007 at 2:50pm
 
I have recently acquired The History of Alexander, bu Rufus.
  It talks about one of the first battles between Alexander's army and the army of Darius III of Persia.
  Darius army had 6000 slingers and archers in front of it.
  It doesn't say how many slingers Alexander had.
The ironic part about is that most of the slingers in Darius's army were Greek mercenarys
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Mordechaj
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Re: slings in Alexander's army.
Reply #1 - Jan 7th, 2007 at 5:02pm
 
it's not the first time that the greeks have fought in a persian side, against other greeks (greek-persian wars), either as mercenaries, or as vasals without much choice.

only, in this given example it's a bit LESS ironic, because alexander was an enemy conqueror too, ang greeks again didn't have much choice in that matter...
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Re: slings in Alexander's army.
Reply #2 - Jan 15th, 2007 at 7:20am
 
alexander wasn't greek - he was macedonian. Even today macedonians object to being called greek.
In fact the term 'Greek' is relatively new. The country was divided into city states and your allegiance and nationality was first to your city state and second - if at all - to those who spoke the same language (about the only common connection).
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slingbadger
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Re: slings in Alexander's army.
Reply #3 - Jan 15th, 2007 at 3:33pm
 
Another interesting fact is that Philip of Macedon was allegedly the first commander to use lead glandes. This is from the battle of Olynthus. Also, he is traditionally pictured with an eye patch. Any guesses on how he put out his eye?
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The greatest of all the accomplishments of 20th cent. science has been the discovery of human ignorance  The main difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has it's limits.-Einstein   I'm getting psychic as I get older. Or is that psychotic?
 
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Re: slings in Alexander's army.
Reply #4 - Jan 16th, 2007 at 3:12pm
 
uhm... he slung an lead glande high up in the air and cought it with his eye? Huh Cool
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Re: slings in Alexander's army.
Reply #5 - Jan 16th, 2007 at 3:36pm
 
slingwizzy wrote on Jan 16th, 2007 at 3:12pm:
uhm... he slung an lead glande high up in the air and cought it with his eye? Huh Cool


That's what I first thought, too. Smiley But it would have killed him.
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wanderer
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Re: slings in Alexander's army.
Reply #6 - Jan 16th, 2007 at 10:08pm
 
Strange cooincidence... I found the following web site a week or so ago. Rather boringly it claims that the injury was due to an arrow at the seige of Methone. However I hadn't realised that Phillip's body had been found - maybe...

     http://www.rn-ds-partnership.com/reconstruction/phillip.html
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Re: slings in Alexander's army.
Reply #7 - Mar 3rd, 2007 at 7:34am
 
Hey, great link. Now we know what Philip looked like.
I doubt Philip II was the first to use lead glands though.

In Xenophon's Anabasis (400 BC), he has some Rhodian lead slingers..
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Re: slings in Alexander's army.
Reply #8 - Mar 3rd, 2007 at 4:02pm
 
There were no "Greeks" at this time, but Athenians, Corinthians, Spartans etc, who disliked each other heartily. It was only in times of great need (such as during the Persian wars) that they forgot their hostilities and worked together. It was Alexander who laid the groundwork for a Hellenic identity.
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Re: slings in Alexander's army.
Reply #9 - Mar 7th, 2007 at 7:12am
 
yeah - what I said :-)
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Thearos
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Re: slings in Alexander's army.
Reply #10 - Feb 28th, 2009 at 8:36pm
 
A rejoinder, two years later, from a professional Classicist (and keen but bad recreational slinger)

-- There was a clear concept, by the Classical period, of "the Greeks". The word is not in Homer (only "Achaians" and "Argives"), but Archilochos (ca. 630 BC) already mentions "the dregs of all the Greeks". At the end of Herodotos Book 8, there is a definition of "the Greeks": those who speak the same language, worship the same gods, share the same customs. In Herodotos, 4, the Skythian king Skyles is said to go to a Greek city and indulge in the Greek lifestyle, away from his subjects. On all this, see M. I Finley's essay on Greek identity (which did not need a nation-state to express itself); or the recent work by Jonathan Hall. The alliance of 480 aganst the Persian was called the Greek alliance; in 432, the Spartans voted to go to war "to free the Greeks", etc. Greek consciousness quite compatible with squabbling among Greek city-states (often with persian money: for instance, the Spartans took persian money, in 407 BC and also in 392 BC: D. Lewis, Sparta and Persia).

-- The Macedonians probably did speak Greek (O. Masson, in Oxford Classical Dictionary, third edition), but with a different pronunciation; they did worship the same gods as the Southern Greeks; they have a place in the  Greek mythological and legendary landscape (an eopnymous hero turns up in a fragment of Hesiod). They should probably be called Greek; with the proviso that Athenians did call them non-Greek, and that they had a strong regional identity that set them apart from southern Greeks. The modern citizens of the post-Yugoslav nation state, whose capital is Skopje (Republic of Macedonia, or Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), are not the descendants of the ancient Macedonians, but Slavic-speaking descendants of populations who moved into the northern area of historical Macedonia in the seventh century BC, with a national identity which emerged in late Ottoman times.

-- lead sling bullets: apart from the Cypriot early Iron age examples (Hala Sultan Tekke), the earliest mention is indeed Xenophon Anabasis 3.18 (I think), for Rhodians; the earliest securely dated example is probably the sling bullet in the name of the Persian satrap Tissaphernes (C. Foss, Journal of Hellenic Studies 1975), then various mid C4th ones (including the famous Olynthos ones, to which add those found at Stageira and Poteidatai, now in Polygiros museum). Note that Tracey Rihll, The Catapult (2007), 104-7, argues that ALL lead bullets are made for the catapult-- which I think excessive.

I hope this is useful
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David Morningstar
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Re: slings in Alexander's army.
Reply #11 - Mar 1st, 2009 at 3:38am
 
Thearos wrote on Feb 28th, 2009 at 8:36pm:
Note that Tracey Rihll, The Catapult (2007), 104-7, argues that ALL lead bullets are made for the catapult-- which I think excessive.


Huh? Surely Xenophon's account of the retreat of the ten thousand rubbishes that claim immediately?

I will have some quetions for you re: the construction of the greek sling Smiley
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Thearos
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Re: slings in Alexander's army.
Reply #12 - Mar 1st, 2009 at 4:39am
 
Yes, the Xen passage is rather a problem, and the Tissaphernes bullet. I believe she has a lot of arguments that may indicate that at least some glandes where used by catapults (and Appian, Mithridatica, explicitlymentions them used by catapults during the siege of Athens). Acerbic review of Rihll on ajaonline.org

www.ajaonline.org/pdfs/book_reviews/112.1/04_Campbell.pdf

I must admit I haven't read Rihll, only gotten a summary from a colleague. Also there quite a lot of stuff (I hear) on sling velocities (pp. 101-2, or so I'm told)


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Thearos
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Re: slings in Alexander's army.
Reply #13 - Mar 1st, 2009 at 4:40am
 
Correct, in my earlier post, the spelling to "Poteidaia"
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Re: slings in Alexander's army.
Reply #14 - Mar 2nd, 2009 at 7:38am
 
Thearos wrote on Feb 28th, 2009 at 8:36pm:
Note that Tracey Rihll, The Catapult (2007), 104-7, argues that ALL lead bullets are made for the catapult-- which I think excessive.

Given the evidence, it seems indefensible.

I have read some of the reviews with interest, and I can't decide whether this is a worthwhile book or not.

Does anyone here have a copy, or any further opinions on it? I see several reviewers compare it with Marsden's "Greek and Roman Artillery", but one of them seeths that the physics side of her discussions are "nonsense".
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