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Slings against Caesar (Read 10353 times)
Fundibularius
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Re: Slings against Caesar
Reply #15 - Mar 25th, 2009 at 5:29pm
 
Really impressive siegeworks even, if Caesar did not exaggerate the dimensions a bit - but why should he?

Cattle raids, that's what it may have been. And mutual abduction of women, probably. Caesar himself sees these Celto-Germanic ("Belgian") tribes as the least civilized in all of Gaul as they live farther away from the blessings of the Mediterranean world and closer to the Germans than the "proper" Celts in Gaul. At least they were not completely uncapable to learn a lesson or two - and teach them back to the Romans.

At least in some parts of the region formerly known as Eburonia there still lives a tradition for the celebration of the beginning of May. It (symbolically) includes  "buying" or "paying ransom" for a girl. Furthermore, the unmarried men put up a large decorated maypole in the center of their own village, protect it at night and/or go out to try to cut down the poles of other villages without being beaten up by the guards. This "training" which, needless to say, is accompanied by intensive consumption of beer, goes way back, everybody there is sure. Eburone heritage still alive? Guess I'm drifting too far off now... Shocked

Oh yes,the slingstones at Maiden Castle; I had forgotten about them. I'm not sure if there is any archaeological proof of the sling in the Gallia omnis divisa in partes tres, or in its Belgian part at least - in spite of written records like Caesar which give testimony of its use. But I'll try to have a look.

At least with some older archaeological sites - that means sites that were excavated before the 1960s or before Korfmann's famous sling article - there may be the problem that archaeologists then did not recognise slingstones as such but took them for round pebbles lying around (if they did not have perfect spherical shape or had been arranged in orderly heaps). You don't see what you don't know.
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Ferrugo numquam dormit.&&(Nigellus Iuvenis)&&&&

Noch weiz ich an im mere daz mir ist bekant
einen lintrachen  slouch des heledes hant
do badet er in dem blvote  des ist der helt gemeit
von also vester hvte  daz in nie wafen sit versneit.
 
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Curious Aardvark
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Re: Slings against Caesar
Reply #16 - Mar 28th, 2009 at 10:18am
 
Quote:
(I have a feeling that, for one thing, being made of organic matter, leather or fibre, they wouldn't last).

Hmm, well given that cloth from mummies is generally in good nick and that many leather artifacts have been found from roman times and before - you're not really thinking clearly on that point. It does -of course - depend on conditions.
But a number of slings have certainly been found in ireland.

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Re: Slings against Caesar
Reply #17 - Mar 28th, 2009 at 11:20am
 
I have done a pretty good net trawl for Irish/Celtic slings and found no reference to surviving artefacts.


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Thearos
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Re: Slings against Caesar
Reply #18 - Mar 28th, 2009 at 12:09pm
 
A quick reaction. Cloth from mummies (and generally organic matter) survives in Egypt (also Syria, Israel), because of the peculiar conditions there (dry, hot). Roman leather from Windisch / Vindonissa (army camp in Switzerland) survived because of peculiar conditions there (anaerobic and acid soil); the same applies for the wooden tablets from Vindolanda. Leather etc also survives in bogs. Wood survives under water But generally, organic matter doesn't fare terribly well-- the *survival* of cloth, papyrus, etc, is what's surprising.

C-A: can you give an example of these Irish slings you mention ? Best would be a precise reference to an excavation report; a reference to a book or synthetic article (where references to primary finds can be found) will do. But a statement such as "have certainly be found" needs substantiating. (Otherwise, I can say "the Loch Ness Monster has certainly been seen").

As I said earlier: the literature (e.g. Thom Richardson, article reproduced on this site) mentions ONE surviving sling, from Egypt, for the ancient world (with an intricately woven pouch and braided cords). Out of how many million slings made, braided, assembled, etc. ? But examples from Western Europe would be welcome: I very much doubt that any were found in graves, but could imagine leather slings surviving in bogs (like the leather lace around the neck of the Celtic prince found, strangled, in peat: Lindow Man), or in the Siberian toundra, or in a glacier. But we need precise examples !
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Re: Slings against Caesar
Reply #19 - Mar 28th, 2009 at 1:04pm
 
Thearos wrote on Mar 28th, 2009 at 12:09pm:
As I said earlier: the literature (e.g. Thom Richardson, article reproduced on this site) mentions ONE surviving sling, from Egypt, for the ancient world (with an intricately woven pouch and braided cords).


Then I can increase your knowledge of ancient slings by 200%!

There is another one from Egypt in Manchester Museum which I have seen and photographed, we have a thread on it here: http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1140984986/46#46

Also there was one found in Nevada:

Quote:
http://www.pipeline.com/~jburdine/index.html

I found an article (American Antiquity vol.18, No. 2 October 1952 "A Prehistoric Sling from Lovelock Cave, Nevada; Heizer and Johnson) from University of Nv. In Reno that covered a sling  fragment found in Lovelock cave, Nevada on the partially mummified body of a 6 y/o male dating from about 272-792 B.C. It was made from Apocynum cannabinum, aka Indian hemp.



[EDIT]

Another sling! From King Tut, no less. http://slinging.org/wiki/index.php?title=Famous_Historical_Slings

I will do a bit on the Wiki about the other Lahun sling once that part of the museum reopens in April.
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Re: Slings against Caesar
Reply #20 - Mar 28th, 2009 at 1:09pm
 
My understanding is becase they have not been positively identified as slings, slingbadger is more up on this than I am, based on his work to get the Southampton artifact reclassified.

There are a couple of leather artifacts that have been discovered in Dublin, that may have been slings or maybe not, All that were found was what could possibly be sling pouches.

Here is a private e-mail Badger sent to me when I was collecting information for a class on slinging for a local SCA function

"3 slings have been found from the Fishamble street site in Dublin Ireland. They are currently housed at the national Museum of Ireland in Dublin. They have a distinctive, elongated diamond shape. Dating shows that they are from c. 920-1060 AD. The Museum ID# are E180:7033 E190:6006 E190:7007

Very similar styles have been found in other sites throughout the British Isles In Glouchester, one with decorative holes was associated with a 4th cent. dig. 8 pouches of this design, with slits, have been found at 16-22 Coppergate, in Jorvik (York) These date from the 10-13th cent.

Quita Mold (yes, thats her name) Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo Scandinavian and medieval York York Archeological Trust.
My repro sling on this is 6 inches (15.24 cm) long by 2 wide (5.08 cm). I am not sure if those are the proper measurements, as the pictures had no scale. There are 4 slits on it,      "      

Going into my Class notes, here is a small portion of what I have

Now another sling design that could have been used is the Cortaillod (La Tene) sling although we only have one picture and a few paragraphs of text on it when it was first discovered. It dates from around (900 BC/BCE)

This is the oldest known european sling. It was excavated at the Cortaillod site near Lake Neuchatel in modern Switzerland around 1875. Unfortuanately this is all we know about this particular sling. The photo above is the only known evidence of it existing.

The actual text reads as follows:
“The cup or what is called the strap, of a sling made of platted flax cords, was found here,and is drawn on the lower part of plate CXXXVIII. This unique specimen will be described in the chapter devoted to the manufactures of flax and bast.”

Once you go to that particulr chapter the text continues;
“Fig. 2 represents one side of what is called the strap of a sling. It was made by plaiting flax cords togather. A portion of the string to which it was attached is shown on the right of the figure (1)”

     Footnote 1 yields;
     “"Qui fundis ex lino vel setis factis (has enim dicunt esse[?] meliores) contorto circa caput brachio dirigunt saxa-Vegitus De Re Militari Lib iii cap 14-[Tr.]”


Then there are the various Vindolandia artifacts where we have at least one sling pouch, possibly two, that were found near the roman fort in Northern Britian


Marc Adkins



David Morningstar wrote on Mar 28th, 2009 at 11:20am:
I have done a pretty good net trawl for Irish/Celtic slings and found no reference to surviving artefacts.



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Re: Slings against Caesar
Reply #21 - Mar 28th, 2009 at 1:24pm
 
Both of the Lahun slings are questionable due to dating issues, Yes they were found in Lahun Egypt, but there is the possibility that they are of later manufacture than what they are classiifed as. It was discussed in a thread on this forum. Both of these slings may actually be Roman era........

Both of them do bear some resemblance to the Cortaillod sling though and these were dated to 900 BC/BCE but ther has been no actual carbon dating of these artifacts Sad

The Lovelock sling artifacts have been carbon dated and dates from 1222 BC/BCE

As I said earlier: the literature (e.g. Thom Richardson, article reproduced on this site) mentions ONE surviving sling, from Egypt, for the ancient world (with an intricately woven pouch and braided cords). Out of how many million slings made, braided, assembled, etc. ? But examples from Western Europe would be welcome: I very much doubt that any were found in graves, but could imagine leather slings surviving in bogs (like the leather lace around the neck of the Celtic prince found, strangled, in peat: Lindow Man), or in the Siberian toundra, or in a glacier. But we need precise examples ! [/quote]
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Re: Slings against Caesar
Reply #22 - Mar 28th, 2009 at 3:26pm
 
Wow. I stand corrected.

So the Flinders Petrie Museum sling and the Manchester sling were found in the same place (they look v. similar). The Irish finds are Mediaeval leather.

What's the reference where the La Tene sling is from ? The lake has produced some wooden artifacts (including an ancient dugout, I think)-- and it might still be in the local museum (Neuchatel).



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Re: Slings against Caesar
Reply #23 - Mar 28th, 2009 at 11:28pm
 
Yeah to the best of my knowledge both the Petrie and the Manchester sling were discovered in the same place.

It was discussed in length here

http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1140984986;start=all

Only thing I have found on the Cortaillod sling is a few 19th century references to it. I had to really dig in order to get a 19th century drawing of what it is supposed to look like.

There was a very brief discussion of it here
http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1222969771

It probably is gathering dust if it hasn't rotted away in the Neuchatel museaum. I would love to see a photograph of it.

I found the information in the following books

The Lake Dwellings of Switzerland and Other parts of Europe Volumes I & II by Dr. Ferdinand Keller 1878

Marc Adkins


Thearos wrote on Mar 28th, 2009 at 3:26pm:
Wow. I stand corrected.

So the Flinders Petrie Museum sling and the Manchester sling were found in the same place (they look v. similar). The Irish finds are Mediaeval leather.

What's the reference where the La Tene sling is from ? The lake has produced some wooden artifacts (including an ancient dugout, I think)-- and it might still be in the local museum (Neuchatel).




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Re: Slings against Caesar
Reply #24 - Mar 30th, 2009 at 7:42am
 
Cortaillod is the subject of a series of monographs (Cortaillod-Est). One is on L'Homme et la pierre, man and stone-- and published a few possible slingstones, which F. Keller also mentions in an 1856 list of sites. No reference to the sling in any of these recent monographs, however.

I haven't looked at the book by Keller you quote, but by its date, the find must date to the years of "harvesting" of such lakeside sites by fishermen, to sell antiquities. The recent excavations have revealed wood, "a piece of string" (i.e. twisted fibre skein), and even basketwork.

Date: labe bronze age, 1010-850 BC.

For what it's worth
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Re: Slings against Caesar
Reply #25 - Mar 30th, 2009 at 8:02am
 
thanks guys - I knew they'd been found just couldn't remember how  I knew Smiley

There was definitely a thread about irish grave goods and slings - but buggered if I could track it down Sad
Ah - that's right, there was a quote from one of the celtic legends stating that a chieftain was buried with his slings.
Definitely a thread on the forum somewhere.

As far as leather surviving goes - there was an excavation of  aroman rubbish dump in london in the last few years (saw it on a telly program) and they found components of a leather water wheel as well as various other leather goods !
Leather is very tough and can survive in a variety of different conditions for a long time.
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Re: Slings against Caesar
Reply #26 - Mar 30th, 2009 at 11:41am
 
The sling was first published by Ferdinand Keller in his "Pfahlbauten-Funfter Bericht", with illustration pl. 15, no. 4. I haven't seen this (it's in Antiquaries Soc. of Zurich journal), but saw the summary by Paul Vouga in a Swiss journal-- he speaks of a sling made of hemp (and pretty ragged too, by his description).
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Re: Slings against Caesar
Reply #27 - Mar 30th, 2009 at 5:48pm
 
Conclusion: Fundibularius is certainly right to say the Eburones used the sling (perhaps even principally, but certainly in combination with other missile weapons) to harry and outfight and wipe out the Roman legion and a half; the evidence is circumstantial, literary, and archaeological (in the form of sling projectiles; among the handful of archaeologically attested slings, none seem to come from the relevant period, Iron Age France).

What kinds of sling were used by Celtic, or Germano-celtic populations of ca. 54 BC ?  Roman-era finds suggest leather straps and cup, as do mediaeval British and Irish finds; the Cortaillod sling (in the right area, but nearly a millenium earlier, and belonging to a different culture altogether) suggests the possibility woven vegetal fibre.

How's that for a summary ?
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Re: Slings against Caesar
Reply #28 - Mar 30th, 2009 at 9:45pm
 
Like I posted my source was saying flax, so lets shake hands here and leave it at it was a vegtable fiber Smiley

Marc Adkins

Thearos wrote on Mar 30th, 2009 at 11:41am:
The sling was first published by Ferdinand Keller in his "Pfahlbauten-Funfter Bericht", with illustration pl. 15, no. 4. I haven't seen this (it's in Antiquaries Soc. of Zurich journal), but saw the summary by Paul Vouga in a Swiss journal-- he speaks of a sling made of hemp (and pretty ragged too, by his description).

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Re: Slings against Caesar
Reply #29 - Mar 30th, 2009 at 9:54pm
 
I have been trying over the last few years to see if there was any sort of Cyber presence on a rumored early sling found in switzerland. Yes it's the Cortaillod sling.

I even ran a few JSTOR searches looking for it. But that was back when I worked for a institution that had access to it. course it would have helped to have known the name of the sling...............

for the record it has only been in the last six months or so that I have found anything at all on it and started the Cortaillod Sling thred in this subsection of the forum. So any and all knowledge on this early sling could be found a whole lot easier.

yeah the text did date to the early findings of the site and was filled with plates of drawings of all the artifacts they harvested from it.

Marc Adkins


Thearos wrote on Mar 30th, 2009 at 7:42am:
Cortaillod is the subject of a series of monographs (Cortaillod-Est). One is on L'Homme et la pierre, man and stone-- and published a few possible slingstones, which F. Keller also mentions in an 1856 list of sites. No reference to the sling in any of these recent monographs, however.

I haven't looked at the book by Keller you quote, but by its date, the find must date to the years of "harvesting" of such lakeside sites by fishermen, to sell antiquities. The recent excavations have revealed wood, "a piece of string" (i.e. twisted fibre skein), and even basketwork.

Date: labe bronze age, 1010-850 BC.

For what it's worth

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