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Makron cup (ca. 490) (Read 19978 times)
Thearos
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Makron cup (ca. 490)
Oct 3rd, 2009 at 8:14pm
 
Just to repost some images. This is an Attic red-figure cup, with banqueting youths on the outside and a slinger in the tondo inside, by the painter Makron, dated to ca. 490 BC. Slinger, arrows, chiton and jack, cloak, bag with stones.
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Thearos
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #1 - Oct 3rd, 2009 at 8:15pm
 
And this is a picture of a Balearic slinger from 1962: on pic. 1, he's preparing his shot. I think that's the pose on the Makron cup: amidst flying arrows, he's calming adjusting his shot, with a long sling and big round stones.
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Mr. Boss
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #2 - Oct 3rd, 2009 at 8:36pm
 
If that's a long sling then I must be the king of the universe. No offense toward you but still.
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Thearos
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #3 - Oct 3rd, 2009 at 9:05pm
 
I have two "usual" slings: one a bit shorter than me, one a bit longer than me (unfolded). The shorter one I aim simply by lifting the pouch before my eyes. The longer one I have to prepare, with my right hand above my head, and the left hand grasping the pouch, downwards-- the same position as the Balearic guy. That's what I meant; I also imagine that a "war sling" (to use T. N. Frank's expression) would be longer, stronger, and involve throwing bigger stones than usual, or even comfortable.
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Fundibularius
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #4 - Oct 4th, 2009 at 8:57am
 
I may be wrong, but I guess that most of us and other sling users around the world normally use slings which are only a bit longer than their extended arm. So, in comparison with the majority, the sling shown in the photo by definition IS a rather long sling. And thus, mrboss, you ARE the king of the universe. Congrats!

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Noch weiz ich an im mere daz mir ist bekant
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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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David Morningstar
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #5 - Oct 4th, 2009 at 10:08am
 

I dont think anything can be read into the pose, he is very obviously posed to fit into the confines of the circle.

I am really not liking the bag either. Its going to slide up and down his arm in a really irritating way. If you want the ammo bag there, pass the strap across the body from the other shoulder and it will stay put.
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Thearos
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #6 - Oct 4th, 2009 at 1:13pm
 
Of course, if you want to fit a slinger within a circle, you can easily, as on the staters of Aspendos. That's why I still think Makron is showing a slinger carrying out a precise gesture, the same as seen on the photograph of the Balearic slinger in 1962, and which I instinctively do when slinging "long"-- pulling on the cords with the pouch in one hand, and hence the other hand above my head.

Next time I'm slinging, I'll try with a bag of stones in the crook of my arm.
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Aussie
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #7 - Oct 4th, 2009 at 5:26pm
 
It's an illustration on a piece of crockery not a diagram in an instructional manual, so some artistic license has to allowed for. I think that David's comment that the picture has been somewhat stylised to fit the circular shape is quite reasonable. The precarious balance also emphasises action. The ammuntion bag is perhaps in an impractical position, but again, it's merely meant to show that he would have one, full of stones and ready for action.

Prior to high speed photography actions which are just too quick to follow were often not well understood. Artists resorted to various tricks to emphasize action which to modern eyes look strange or clearly wrong. Have a look at typical 18th and 19th C English hunting scenes. The horses are always shown in weird full extension poses which a galloping horse never adopts in reality, but they do convey the mood of a full speed chase.
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Thearos
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #8 - Oct 4th, 2009 at 5:48pm
 
Look at the arrows.
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #9 - Oct 4th, 2009 at 6:43pm
 
Under enemy archer attack presumably. Not sure if his leg is pierced or the arrow is merely behind. What do you think?
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funda_iucunda
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #10 - Oct 5th, 2009 at 4:10am
 
Great finding, Thearos! Now we know that they used bags for stones. Some time ago we had discussions here whether ancient slingers used bags or just put the projectiles in a fold of their clothes,  what is a very cumbersome method. This picture is a claer evidence!

@ Aussie
The slinger doesn't look pierced. He looks quite healthy concentrating on his next shot. I guess that the picture shows him in the stage of loading a stone into the pouch. Therefore it is not possible to say in which style he will throw.

funda iucunda
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #11 - Oct 5th, 2009 at 4:15am
 
I smailed a little bit too fast. The two javelins stuck in the earth next to the slinger seem to be his weapons. So, are we allowed to suppose that slingers have been not allways too poor to buy more expensive weapons? However shield and other armour are missing. Due to time of the work (B.C.490) and the clothing he does not look like a peltast.

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Thearos
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #12 - Oct 5th, 2009 at 5:08am
 
I don't know much about arrows, but since (in my view) this is a good, sensitive representation of a slinger (esp. as concerns pose), I wonder if the arrows are accurately shown-- barbed, wide head; short length; "round" fletching, big notch-- reminds me of the arrows that would go with a reflex bow.

E. Simon, who published this cup, thinks it shows a man fighting horse archers, because of the angle of the arrows-- which frankly I can't understand. In any case, foot archers also could use reflex bows (contacts with the Skythians). Greeks were surprised when they met people who shot long arrows (in the Anabasis, the Greeks take such arrows and make them into javelins).

Looks like a man in the "metaichmion", the no man's land, before battle starts. Arrows fly, but fall short. Coolly, he fishes a stone out of the pouch hanging on his left arm, passes it to his left hand (which already holds the pouch), then stretches the sling out with left hand down and right hand above his head, grip upwards (shown on the cup); next he will aim, swing and release a big stone at his archer enemies. "The slinger is slavish, the slinger is a coward", is what people say; here, the slinger fights his skirmishing fight with his opposite numbers, and it takes skill and courage to execute the gestures in the firing line.
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #13 - Oct 5th, 2009 at 5:43am
 
Thearos,

Not really an active archer so missed the significance of the detail in the arrows you were looking for. However did notice the heads were barbed and have since noticed the wide nocks which would be consistent with horse mounted archers. Also wondered about the javelins presumably stuck into the earth to be used when the enemy came close enough for them to be effective.

Could it be that this cup is a commemorative of some battle where Greeks repelled Eastern mounted invaders?

Aussie
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #14 - Oct 5th, 2009 at 7:22am
 
The more I think about it, the more probable it seems to be a commemoration of a special historical (or mythological) event to me. What about the context? Do the banqueting youths on the outside give any clue?
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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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