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Hubrecht on Balearic slingers (Read 4022 times)
Thearos
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Hubrecht on Balearic slingers
Apr 24th, 2009 at 11:18am
 
Hubrecht A. V. M. - The use of the sling in the Balearic Isles. BVAB 1964 XXXIX : 92-93. • Le tir à la fronde, pour lequel les Baléares étaient célèbres dès les Guerres Puniques, s'exerce encore de nos jours de la façon décrite par les auteurs anciens.

(to give the summary from the bibliographical database l'Annee Philologique)

Bulletin van de Vereeniging tot Bevordering der Kennis van de Antieke Beschaving.

Mostly summary of what's known re. Balearic slingers. Met bricklayer on modern Ibiza who mentioned that "most men on the island have some bility with the sling, acquired in their youth. Apparently the shepherds use it to keep their sheep together. On inquiry I learned that a trained sligner could hit an onject a square meter in size at a distance of 200m. As a rule, the slings used today are made from esparto grass, plaited to a lenght of about two meters with a split in the middle for the round stone which is used as a projectile. There is a loop at one end which is hooked over the little finger of the right hand; the other end is held in the same hand. The sling is then whrled round with an underhand movement and let loose after three or four turns"
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Fundibularius
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Re: Hubrecht on Balearic slingers
Reply #1 - Apr 24th, 2009 at 5:12pm
 
Good find. Very interesting!

Seems like the ancient tradition had been kept alive, at least until the arrival of mass tourism.
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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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Re: Hubrecht on Balearic slingers
Reply #2 - Apr 24th, 2009 at 5:56pm
 
Bear in mind that, "can hit a square metre at 200 m" doesn't mean they do it every time. The standard Balearic competition target consists of a black circle of 50 cm diameter on a white square of 120 cm. sides. They normally sling at a max range of 65 paces. Hits on the black score 4 points, hits on the white score 2.  Scores at shorter distances are 2 and 1 point respectively. There are a couple of clips showing their competitions on YouTube.
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Thearos
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Re: Hubrecht on Balearic slingers
Reply #3 - Apr 25th, 2009 at 4:42am
 
Could you, or anyone here, imagine hitting a 1 sq m. size target at 200 m ? From other posts, it seems that distance (with controlled shots, obviously) and target accuracy are two different skills


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Re: Hubrecht on Balearic slingers
Reply #4 - Apr 25th, 2009 at 7:46am
 
It may be a little exaggerated, yet I believe that some of the people on the Balearic Islands who had been taught to use the sling by their fathers and had all the theoretical and practical skills from an unbroken chain of many generations before - exactly the knowledge we are trying to rediscover here - could have had slinging capacities far superior to any champion nowadays.

As has been discussed here before, they, in contrast to us, also had a lot more time and space (and necessity) to practise before tourists and tourist industry conquered the islands, gave them new jobs, some money and more comfortable living conditions, but also estranged most of them from some very valuable traditions, at least in our (slingers') eyes...
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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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Re: Hubrecht on Balearic slingers
Reply #5 - Apr 25th, 2009 at 8:50am
 
For me personally no, as 200m is a bit beyond my max range using stones, although I could probably achieve it VERY OCCASSIONALLY with lead glandes. But for anyone to hit such a comparatively small target at that range is really largely a matter of luck.

Allow me to once again use the comparison with rifle shooting. All precision shooting (rifle or not) is a composite of two factors being the inherent accuracy of the weapon and the ability of the shooter to accurately aim and discharge the weapon. For example if a rifle is held in a vice so that it cannot move and is repeatedly loaded and fired at a distant target the bullets will not all strike exactly the same spot. If enough shots are fired we will be able to see a group or pattern. The size of this group is a measure of the inherent accuracy of that particular rifle, so if shooting at a target smaller than that group there is no way of guaranteeing that you will be able to hit it, ie. it's a matter of pure luck.

On top of the weapon's inherent accuracy is the question of the shooter's individual ability ie, how well can he replicate the exact conditions from shot to shot. Of course no one is perfect so this error must be added to the error inherent in the weapon so now the target must be bigger than the sum of these errors. In simple terms if the rifle is capable of 1" and the shooter is capable of 2", the target must be bigger than 3", otherwise hitting it is only a matter of luck on any given shot. (BTW in most cases the rifle is a good deal more accurate than the person using it.)

A sling follows exactly the same principles as the rifle. In other words, how inherently accurate is the equipment and how well can the slinger replicate the conditions fom shot to shot? If we were to build a slinging robot which could sling like a human but exactly the same each time, what sort of a dispersion would we get? Fascinating question. Anyone out there willing to fund the research? But of one thing we can be sure, the dispersion would be much greater than with out vice-held rifle, especially if slinging imperfect stones.

Even in comparatively recent times a rifle shooter who could keep all his shots down to 1 minute of angle was considered a very good shot. This means hitting a 1" square at 100 yds every time. Average shooters could expect perhaps 5 minutes of angle. To hit a 1m square at 200m would require an angle of dispersion of less than 20 minutes of angle, only four times the dispersion angle of a reasonble rife shooter. But now instead of using an accurately machined firearem with super quality, supersonic ammunition, precision sights and shooting off a rest, we are trying to do the feat with essentilly a piece of cord, stones of uncertain weight, size and ballistic coefficient, and no sights at all just feel and experience. A bit unrealistic I would think.

Assuming a quite high average speed over the ground of 50 m/s for even the very best slingers the flight time for the projectile will be 4 seconds. It will have to be launched at an angle of 35 degrees and by the time it reaches the target it will be falling with a far steeper angle of probably 45 degrees or more. In other words the slinger doesn't even throw at the target but has to aim well above it and estimate the exact trajectory the projectile will take to land on it. During the time it is in the air the projectile is subject to any swirling breezes moving it off course. It's also spinning violently so is subject to Magnus effect which will also vary the trajectory. The longer the distance the greater the uncertainty in the way the projectile will behave and 200m shots would definitely be long range shooting. So unless they are using superb quality ammunition and have the perfect sling I really can't see even the inherent accuracy of the system allowing even the very best of slingers being able to reliably hit so small a target at that distance.

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Thearos
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Re: Hubrecht on Balearic slingers
Reply #6 - Apr 25th, 2009 at 11:37am
 
Could I be (I'm guessing) that Hubrecht heard something like "A good slinger can throw at 200m" AND "A good slnger can hit a target 1 sq m in area" (i.e. at a reasonable target range, say 65 m)-- and conflated the two statements ?
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Re: Hubrecht on Balearic slingers
Reply #7 - Apr 25th, 2009 at 4:25pm
 
That sounds possible. Or something like taking 200 "steps" or "feet" for metres (which might shorten the real distance by its halfth or two thirds). However, I still believe that the art of slinging on the islands then was even more impressive than it is today.
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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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Re: Hubrecht on Balearic slingers
Reply #8 - Apr 25th, 2009 at 6:16pm
 
Actually I am fairly convinced that in some areas there is a unbroken line of slinging from the punic wars to today. Now the disclaimer is I am basing this off of some translated texts and the translation my have gotten a bit "fuzzy"

Do ya have the rest of the article for us Balearicphiles ??????

Marc Adkins


Fundibularius wrote on Apr 24th, 2009 at 5:12pm:
Good find. Very interesting!

Seems like the ancient tradition had been kept alive, at least until the arrival of mass tourism.

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Re: Hubrecht on Balearic slingers
Reply #9 - Apr 25th, 2009 at 6:25pm
 
Winkelr.: the article is only 2 pp long. First part is really quite familiar: sling v. old weapon-- how used-- sources-- sources for Balearic slingers. Then he mentions his trip to the Baleares-- and ends with the quote I've given you.

I find Aussie convincing, but like to imagine that a very good slinger could have a good chance of hitting a target at 200 paces. After all, a man could hit a target with a bow at say 150 m ??
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Re: Hubrecht on Balearic slingers
Reply #10 - Apr 25th, 2009 at 7:01pm
 
Thearos wrote on Apr 25th, 2009 at 11:37am:
Could I be (I'm guessing) that Hubrecht heard something like "A good slinger can throw at 200m" AND "A good slnger can hit a target 1 sq m in area" (i.e. at a reasonable target range, say 65 m)-- and conflated the two statements ?


Any reasonable explanation is a possibility but I think the most likely is simply selective memory on the part of his informant. We all do it. We all remember and tell others about the wonderful shots when we hit a coke can right in the middle at 50m, first shot! But we fail to remember or mention the times when we missed an oil drum at 20m, or the fact that next time we were shooting at the coke can it took 20 shots before we even came close.

I have no doubt that the slinger Hubrecht saw/heard about did in fact hit the said target at the said distance - sometimes. But could he do it consistently, say 7 or 8 out of 10? I very much doubt it.
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Re: Hubrecht on Balearic slingers
Reply #11 - Apr 25th, 2009 at 7:48pm
 
Ok thanks

Marc Adkins

Thearos wrote on Apr 25th, 2009 at 6:25pm:
Winkelr.: the article is only 2 pp long. First part is really quite familiar: sling v. old weapon-- how used-- sources-- sources for Balearic slingers. Then he mentions his trip to the Baleares-- and ends with the quote I've given you.

I find Aussie convincing, but like to imagine that a very good slinger could have a good chance of hitting a target at 200 paces. After all, a man could hit a target with a bow at say 150 m ??

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Re: Hubrecht on Balearic slingers
Reply #12 - Apr 25th, 2009 at 8:01pm
 
Thearos wrote on Apr 25th, 2009 at 6:25pm:
Winkelr.: the article is only 2 pp long. First part is really quite familiar: sling v. old weapon-- how used-- sources-- sources for Balearic slingers. Then he mentions his trip to the Baleares-- and ends with the quote I've given you.

I find Aussie convincing, but like to imagine that a very good slinger could have a good chance of hitting a target at 200 paces. After all, a man could hit a target with a bow at say 150 m ??


Even though I am a passionate slinger and a fairly mediocre archer I freely admit that a bow is a good deal more accurate than a sling. Being both weapons of antiquity comparisons are natural but they are very different in the way they work.

A bow is an energy storage device; the archer draws the arrow back, takes aim along the arrow allowing for drop etc. and then releases with as little motion as possible so as not to disturb his aim whilst the bow accelerates the arrow, it does the work.

A sling is not an energy storage device; at least not in the same way as a bow. It allows the slinger to throw his stones at a much higher velocity than he would be able to by hand alone because the pouch travels on a bigger radius than the hand and so has a higher velocity and a longer path. (There's a bit more to it than that but trying to keep it to manageable size.) So now the slinger is trying to pick the exact moment to rlease his projectile at the worst possible time right when it's rotating most rapidly and constantly changing direction. Also he has no sighting mechanism at all, not even a rough arrow. No wonder accuracy is so difficult and requires constant practise.

BTW I am also less than convinced that even Henry V's archers could CONSITENTLY hit a man at 150m for the inherent accuracy reason's cited above. However their success ratio compared with slingers trying the same task would almost certainly be higher.
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