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Question: Does lack of weapons knowlege effect historians adversely



« Last Modified by: Curious Aardvark on: Oct 3rd, 2009 at 10:15am »

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Johnny Shumate's paintings (Read 15043 times)
TN.Frank
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Re: Johnny Shumate's paintings
Reply #30 - Oct 2nd, 2009 at 11:39am
 
You can't fold up a staff sling and stick it in your pocket and it'd be hard to carry more then a couple of em'. With a "standard" sling you can carry quite a few of em' and they're compact. That's probably why there were more of em' then the staff slings.  Just a thought. Roll Eyes
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Re: Johnny Shumate's paintings
Reply #31 - Oct 2nd, 2009 at 3:47pm
 
well it's easier to cut down a stick and notch it and later tie on some twisted rope then to make a sling for hand use
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Thearos
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Re: Johnny Shumate's paintings
Reply #32 - Oct 2nd, 2009 at 5:02pm
 
Pray note on p. 2 two photographs of a cup dating ca. 490 BC, and showing a slinger with a small "man purse". Among the doubtless fascinating discussion of the staff sling, this picture risks being lost-- it makes my point that Shumate's big deep pouch is probably not right.
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Re: Johnny Shumate's paintings
Reply #33 - Oct 2nd, 2009 at 6:51pm
 
That is the best depiction of a classical slinger I have yet seen. Again, the ammo is hung on the left arm as in Trajans column. Absolutely not the way I would have expected it, but we have to go with what we see. Thearos, thanks.

[EDIT] I am not seeing the throwing thongs on the javelins...?
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Re: Johnny Shumate's paintings
Reply #34 - Oct 2nd, 2009 at 6:56pm
 
Good, innit ? Glad you like it. The thongs are there, but in red paint, difficult to see on the crap pics I posted. Any comments on slinging style ?
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Re: Johnny Shumate's paintings
Reply #35 - Oct 3rd, 2009 at 4:41am
 
I reckon he's been posed to fit within the confines of the plate but apart from that its a very familiar Greek pose.

From my own experiences throwing biconical sling bullets in front of the high speed camera, I would say that he will not be throwing with the Greek style as we usually do it. That style, with its horizontal spin and overarm throw, will not give reliable point-first pouch orientations for release:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDTO1VYoMXw

A tiny tweak, which fits with the pictures we have of the cords alongside the head, is to angle the plane of rotation slightly so that the pouch is released at about shoulder height after a sidearm throw. This will always deliver a projectile point first with rifled spin:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdOIn5j2jR4
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Re: Johnny Shumate's paintings
Reply #36 - Oct 3rd, 2009 at 5:21am
 
V. interesting on how to throw lead bullets-- a whole art. But the cup here must show a man throwing round stones-- that's what he seems to have in his bag, and the date, 490, is nearly a century before the earliest reference to lead bullets (Xenophon, of course). It's true there are a few lead bullets found in C5th arch. contexts (I know of 2), but they might be anomalies (i.e, mistakes by excavators or in their records).
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Re: Johnny Shumate's paintings
Reply #37 - Oct 3rd, 2009 at 6:04am
 
Ah yes, he is slinging round stones. Any idea what the oldest clay biconical bullet is? Hamoukar bullets are teardrop shaped, and waaaaay older.

I have found this: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=NPBj5TIZA44C&lpg=PA80&ots=ZNuYjU5-UN&dq=clay%...

And also this, which has some experimental archaeology on p 166 that I have never heard of before:

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=P_Ixuott4doC&lpg=PA165&ots=bvDvGeF2MC&dq=clay...

[EDIT]

Wow, that second link is placing clay biconical bullets at 4000 BC! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubaid_period

So the biconical shape seems to be well established in the middle east long before the Greeks get going. Casting them out of lead would be a no-brainer, whenever it becomes cheap enough. For the Egyptians, this seems to have been around 500 BC http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/weapons/missiles.htm
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Re: Johnny Shumate's paintings
Reply #38 - Oct 3rd, 2009 at 7:12am
 
clay stuff, early enough.
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Re: Johnny Shumate's paintings
Reply #39 - Oct 3rd, 2009 at 9:59am
 
looks like artistic license.
Just totally impractical to hold your stones like that - and like david says the stance had been modified to fit the cup/coin/plate.

His starting balance is all wrong.
I suspect the artist had never actually seen a slinger in battle and just had a model (non-slinger) strike an interesting pose.
As common back then as it is today. Ever wonder why so many classical paintings with lots of figures show them all with very similiar features ?
One model used for them all.

Now I know historians like to put a lot of weight in decorative illustrations - but surely somewhere along the line you need to apply a little common sense, practical knowlege and physical reenactment ?

Just try this.
Grab a sling, and attempt to strike the pose in the picture (yes I just did).
It's doable but it puts your weight in a finishing position not a starting position, and as for the arm positions. About the only sensible thing you can do from such a pose is a simple straight arm overarm trebuchet style throw.
A bit like one slingbadger is fond of (accuracy is a bit hit and miss - fortunately  he managed to miss us lol) but without any of the power as the starting position is just so awful.

So given that the pose is utter nonsense - why should any weight be placed in how the sling pouch is being precariously balanced ?
Or for that matter it's size or contents ?

This is a serious question as a tremendous amount of 'knowlege' seems to be derived form pictures like this one.
Is the lack of skills on the part of historians responsible for really screwing up a large number of historical 'facts' ?

It's like reading a Dan brown book. If you don't know anything about the technical aspects of the book - it's a cracking good read.
If - on the other hand you know something about them - the books are complete and utter nonsense. Take the book angels and demons, as just one example. If you know even a tiny amount about wireless networking you know for a fact that the antimatter could have been pinpointed to within a few yards in about 20 minutes - max.

So is a lack of weapons knowlege/experience seriously skewing the way that historians report ancient weapons usage based on decorative and unpractical illustrations ?
Discuss Smiley
(try the pose first - then vote)
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Re: Johnny Shumate's paintings
Reply #40 - Oct 3rd, 2009 at 10:51am
 

What is odd about the way he's holding the sling (apart from his plate-constrained stance)? Its ready for a perfectly normal Greek throw.
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Thearos
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Re: Johnny Shumate's paintings
Reply #41 - Oct 3rd, 2009 at 11:00am
 
Two remarks-- no, make that three.

Yep, it's a picture. But it has to look right. I suspect ancient Greeks-- the man who made this, the men who drank out of the cup-- had some idea of what a sling and a slinger looked like.

Re-enactment is not useful. M. Mauss, the anthropologist, observed that French soldiers and English soldiers in WWI couldn't work with each other's tools-- it's a question of what you've been taught to be. Very rare the people who've learned how to sling from childhood now-- no argument from "my body can't do it, so it can't be done"

When I use a long sling and I'm preparing for the shot (I suppose I sling Greek style--  it goes above my head round three times, then release), I adopt something of this position. Next will be lifting left hand to eye hight, then rotations.
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Re: Johnny Shumate's paintings
Reply #42 - Oct 3rd, 2009 at 11:05am
 
Yep, I can do it that way. FWIW.
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Re: Johnny Shumate's paintings
Reply #43 - Oct 3rd, 2009 at 11:25am
 
Thearos wrote on Oct 3rd, 2009 at 11:00am:
I suppose I sling Greek style--  it goes above my head round three times, then release


What we are calling Greek style (with no historical reference, we just made it up) is done with no windup rotations. Multiple rotations above the head would be a Helicopter.

Greek: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fc_rAly4oLY

Helicopter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GXkmT7eJFo

Your three rotations are probably spot on:

http://virgil.classicauthors.net/Aeneid/Aeneid30.html

[Mezentius] when he spied from far, the Tuscan king
Laid by the lance, and took him to the sling,
Thrice whirl`d the thong around his head, and threw:
The heated lead half melted as it flew;
It pierc`d his hollow temples and his brain;
The youth came tumbling down, and spurn`d the plain.

Or:

http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Latin/VirgilAeneidIX.htm

Mezentius, dropping his spears, whirled a whistling sling
on its tight thong, three times round his head, and split
his adversary’s forehead open in the middle, with
the now-molten lead, stretching him full length in the deep sand.
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Thearos
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Re: Johnny Shumate's paintings
Reply #44 - Oct 3rd, 2009 at 11:46am
 
I'm ashamed to admit that's where I got the idea of the three rotations.

http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1240586300/6#6

The guy seems to be seating the stone in photo 1 (top of the page)-- perhaps that's what the man in the Makron cup is meant to be doing ?
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