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Ancient Irish weapons (Read 4551 times)
David Morningstar
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Ancient Irish weapons
Oct 25th, 2008 at 6:10am
 
http://www.libraryireland.com/SocialHistoryAncientIreland/I-III-4.php

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Handstone.--Among the missive weapons of the ancient Irish was the handstone, which was kept ready for use in the hollow of the shield, and flung from the hand when the occasion came for using it. Handstones were specially made, and were believed to possess some sort of malign mystical quality, which rendered them very dangerous to the enemy. The handstone was called by various names, such as cloch, lia, lec, &c.

Sling and Sling-stones.--A much more effective instrument for stone-throwing was the sling, which is constantly mentioned in the Tales of the Táin, as well as in Cormac's Glossary and other authorities, in such a way as to show that it formed an important item in the offensive arms of a warrior. The accounts, in the old writings, of the dexterity and fatal precision with which Cuculainn and other heroes flung their sling-stones, remind us of the Scriptural record of the 700 chosen warriors of Gibeah who could fight with left and right hand alike, and who flung their sling-stones with such aim that they could hit even a hair, and not miss by the stone's going on either side (Judges xx. 16).

The Irish used two kinds of sling. One, which was called by two names teilm and taball [tellim taval] consisted of two thongs attached to a piece of leather at bottom to hold the stone or other missile: a form of sling which was common all over the world, and which continues to be used by boys to this day. The other was called crann-tabaill, i.e. 'wood-sling' or 'staff-sling,' from crann, 'a tree, a staff, a piece of wood of any kind'; which indicates that the sling so designated was formed of a long staff of wood with one or two thongs--like the slings we read of as used by many other ancient nations. David killed Goliath with a staff-sling. Those who carried a sling kept a supply of round stones, sometimes artificially formed. Numerous sling-stones have been found from time to time--many perfectly round--in raths and crannoges, some the size of a small plum, some as large as an orange, of which many specimens are preserved in museums.
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Aussie
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Re: Ancient Irish weapons
Reply #1 - Nov 2nd, 2008 at 6:45pm
 
Funny how the writer almost as an afterthought inserts the notion that David used a staffsling in his famous encounter with Goliath. Pity he doesn't give any evidence to support his claim. This notion that David used a staffsling surfaces every now and then but the general concensus of opinion is that staffslings are slower to deploy, less accurate and more suited to siege type situations. Sure Goliath berates David for facing him armed with a "stick", but does that mean the staff and the sling were the same thing?
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Re: Ancient Irish weapons
Reply #2 - Nov 2nd, 2008 at 8:02pm
 
  1 Samuel 17:40 states that david had both a staff and a sling:
"He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook , and put them in the shepherd's bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.

  It doesn't seem to imply that the staff and the sling were combined, and I haven't read anything infering that staff slings were in regular use by shepards of that time anyway.
  I'd noticed that little comment about David using a staff sling before, but I got distracted before I could comment on it Wink
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Re: Ancient Irish weapons
Reply #3 - Nov 2nd, 2008 at 9:47pm
 
One man staff slings may have a slower rate of fire, but accuracy is at least as good as a plain sling at all common ranges, and farther with a staff.  They're good for heavy weights (1/2 kilo upwards), true; but equaly good with lighter bullets.

I agree that historical shepherds often, if not nearly always, had both a staff and a sling; but IMHO did not employ them together as a staff-sling.

I feel the staff-sling was primarily a military weapon, perhaps a crew-served (ie a loader and a slinger who could trade off) "medium to heavy weapon system".  A pre-medieval combination of grenade launcher/mortar/bazooka if you will.  Two men could carry a significant load of heavy ammo, and fire nearly as quickly as a single slinger.

Probably can't find any documentation to that effect, but if anyone finds anything, about staff sling operations, hollar!!
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Re: Ancient Irish weapons
Reply #4 - Nov 11th, 2008 at 6:20pm
 
Personally I belive that david used a hang sling do do his business, This arguement does come up from time to time and it seems to be Fueled by the refernce below. Not fun argueing the point against people who take that particular work literaly Sad

I am also Basing my arguements on An early 20th century reference that I Have ( Found it on Google Books). The notes that would be of intrest to this arguement are posted below.
The Shepard Song Notes (1907)
by Rev. Faddoul Moghabghab

Pg. 66 (pdf) Pg 46 (mans)

Shepherds always carry a sling with them, which they make from the wool of the sheep. They practice a great deal with these slings, so that after a few yearsthey become expert at using them. Davids's sling was of more service to him than any other weapon. He certainly must have been an expert, for he killed Goliath, the phillistine, with the first stone. The tribesman of Benjamin, most of whom were shepherds, were noted for thier accurate use of the sling. " every one could sling stones at an hair bredth and not miss ( Judges xx 16)

Pg. 67 (pdf) Pg. 47 (mans) to Pg. 68 (pdf) Pg.48 (mans)
Varients of the Rod or Nabbot

The shephers also carries a rod for defense, a weapon very helpful to him in times of danger. It is called "Dabbous" or "Dabassia" It is made from a stout stick of oak wood. At the end is a large ball covered with nails and pieces of iron. It is indeed a terrible weapon in his hands.
The Roman soldiers suffered greatly from the armies of Zenobia which carried such "dabbous"

Sometimes this rod is called "Nabbout", which differs from this "dabbassia" in that it's ball at the end is not a seperate piece, but is as it has grown. A shepherd occassionally pulls out small tree from the ground, and then cuts off all the roots that shoot out from the stem, leaving only a round ball. Thi she covers with nails in the same manner as the "dabassia"

I belive the Psalmist ment the "nabbout" when he said "rod" etc. because the hebrew word used for rod is "shebet", which expresses the idea of a rod springing out of the ground. This "nabbout" or "dabassia" must not be confused with the staff ("ikkaaz") which the shepards also carries with him. The staff is a straight, long can upon which he leans , and which also is usefull in managing the sheep.

Pg 125 (pdf) Pg. 93 (mans) to Pg. 126 (pdf) Pg. 94 (mans) Nabbot

The shepard always carries both a rod and a staff.As previously stated there is a distinction between them. The rod called "nabbout" or "dabassia" in Arabic, ia a club used for defense against the enimies of the sheep. he never strikes the sheep with this terrible rod. It was this rod that god used to punish the Egyptians; with the rod moses smote the rock in the wilderness, and water gushed forth. David, referring to his enemies, says " Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron"

The staff called " irkakz" is that on which the shepherd leans while walking. He also uses this long staff to punish the sheep when they go astray, and to extricate them when they are caught in the bushes. With this staff he makes the sheep to lie down, and to rise up. He sticks it into the ground, and over it places his coat to get a little shade from the sultry heat of the sun. therefore this staff is a necessity bothe for himself and his flock.

Marc Adkins

Aussie wrote on Nov 2nd, 2008 at 6:45pm:
Funny how the writer almost as an afterthought inserts the notion that David used a staffsling in his famous encounter with Goliath. Pity he doesn't give any evidence to support his claim. This notion that David used a staffsling surfaces every now and then but the general concensus of opinion is that staffslings are slower to deploy, less accurate and more suited to siege type situations. Sure Goliath berates David for facing him armed with a "stick", but does that mean the staff and the sling were the same thing?

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Re: Ancient Irish weapons
Reply #5 - Nov 12th, 2008 at 6:52am
 
How did we get from Ireland to David and Goliath? that has its own thread.
  What I want to know is did the Irish and Celts ever really have tathlums?  These were the brains of the enemy that had been soaked in lime. This would shrink and harden them to the point that they could be used as sling stones. There are a few references to the slinging of brainballs, but I've learned you sometimes have to take what is written in stories with a very large block of salt.
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