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Syrian and Arabian special slingers at Masada (Read 3052 times)
the_warrior_yeti
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Syrian and Arabian special slingers at Masada
Jul 22nd, 2009 at 3:49pm
 
I saw a show recently on the Military Channel about the Roman siege of Masada. It was a very interesting show describing how they built the ramp (in 3 weeks as opposed to 3 years) and so on, but by far the most interesting part was to see an Arab or Syrian slinger. They were talking about the siege and finding projectiles in specific locations, including piles of round river stones at the base of the ramp and on top. Apparently the Romans had acquired Syrian and Arabian slingers into their ranks and these were supposedly specialists. Then they showed I assume a Syrian or Arabian man demonstrating the sling. His father had taught him to sling and he was a natural at it. Unfortunately they only showed a small clip. Anyone see this show before or know more about that history?
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David Morningstar
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Re: Syrian and Arabian special slingers at Masada
Reply #1 - Jul 22nd, 2009 at 4:10pm
 

Whoa! Yes, the Romans hired slingers from various places into auxiliary units.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auxiliaries_(Roman_military)

I'd love to see that guy slinging.
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the_warrior_yeti
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Re: Syrian and Arabian special slingers at Masada
Reply #2 - Jul 24th, 2009 at 11:01pm
 
Hey David. It looked like he was a very good slinger. I got really excited at that part of the show. He was wearing a dark green turban and so forth, and had a somewhat long, simple string and pouch sling. He used an overhead "helicopter" with a windup and was nailing the target consistently. I'm wondering what made them specialists as opposed to other cultures. Perhaps they use it in herding?
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Re: Syrian and Arabian special slingers at Masada
Reply #3 - Jul 25th, 2009 at 4:59am
 
the_warrior_yeti wrote on Jul 24th, 2009 at 11:01pm:
. I'm wondering what made them specialists as opposed to other cultures. Perhaps they use it in herding?


That would be my guess too. I did some more ferreting and I reckon the show was 'Battlefield Detectives', but I cant confirm that.
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Re: Syrian and Arabian special slingers at Masada
Reply #4 - Nov 6th, 2009 at 5:56am
 

WIN! The slinging is a very short segment right at the join of parts 4/5 and 5/5 here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dP__mEnzq8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cYtmxwUZwk

The slingstones are rounded river pebbles the size of a large egg, three to four fingers long. 'Huge numbers' of them were recovered at the site.

The slinger is and old man, and learned to sling as a boy. He is using what I would call a textbook helicopter style: arm right back, a few flat overhead spins and an overarm throw. The accuracy and power is very impressive. Fast flat shots leaving big dents in a man-sized metal sheet with several hits to the painted 'head' circle. The range is about 10 or 15 yards. I cant tell anything about his sling except that it is about three feet long loaded.

Conclusion: This guy is a great slinger, the real deal.

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Re: Syrian and Arabian special slingers at Masada
Reply #5 - Nov 6th, 2009 at 6:31am
 
Another show on Masada shows that the Isrealites in Masada also had slings. There is a passage in Josephus' Jewish Wars that back it up, apparently.
  Considering the height of Masada, I would not want to be on the receiving end of them.
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Re: Syrian and Arabian special slingers at Masada
Reply #6 - Nov 7th, 2009 at 11:35pm
 
That style is pretty much what I've seen the beduins use.
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