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Makron cup (ca. 490) (Read 22488 times)
Thearos
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #15 - Oct 5th, 2009 at 7:39am
 
Well, Erica Simon thinks it's about fighting against horse-archers, early fifth century-- it can only be the Persian Wars.   I feel slightly wary about this, but I see two people reaching this conclusion indepedently...

Outside banqueters is fairly standard theme on these cups (which were, after all, meant for bquets !)
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #16 - Oct 6th, 2009 at 5:21am
 
At any rate, it's clear that at least in this particular case, having a good understanding of weapons certainly makes the job of assessing the artifact easier. I think there's no such thing as too much background knowledge.
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Thearos
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #17 - Oct 6th, 2009 at 8:11am
 
Yes, knowledge of Realien helps (e.g. ship rigging, shape of ploughs, clothing-- it's naturalistic art, and puts value on accurate representation of the world, within conventions and ideology. But also seeing what's on the cup-- for instance, trying to understand the representation of movement and pose, rather than misinterpreting the pose and then saying it's all fanciful.
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Curious Aardvark
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #18 - Oct 7th, 2009 at 10:34am
 
Animal hunting arrows tend towards broader barbed heads. For shooting at people with armour you would want a smaller tip better suited to penetration, could still be barbed but like the rest of the diagram the arrows just look wrong for the situation.
Also metal was valuable - so mass produced battle arrows have smaller pointier heads for 3 reasons. 1) it's better for armour penetration and arrow balance, 2) it's cheaper and easier to make the arrows, 3) small pointed head arrows fly further.

For hunting you'll be much closer to your prey and want an arrow  that will do as much damage as possible - plus you stand a good chance of getting it back so hunting arrows would have broader more expensive heads. No armour to contend with - so again broad heads better.

I know you really like this cup thearos. But all I see is an artist who's never set foot on a battlefield, never seen a slinger working, has probably only ever seen hunting arrows and is designing for the popular market.
There is just no aspect of the image that looks like an authentic slinger reloading in the midst of battle.
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Thearos
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #19 - Oct 7th, 2009 at 3:19pm
 
A few points.

Arrow-heads. Ancients used all kinds of arrow heads in war-- bodkin-like (socketed and tanged), leaf-shaped, three-finned (perhaps the most common), and barbed. The evidence for the latter: archaeological finds (for instance from the battlefield of Thermopylai-- pic. below), and medical writers describe the delicate operation of removing arrow-heads with barbs from human flesh (you need wire, or even feather quills to place on the barbs). Conclusion: barbed arrow-heads on the Makron cup are realistic.

The slinger. I would put it the following two propositions:
a. The possibility that the painter, Makron, had seen an ancient slinger: non-nil.
b. The possibility that you, in your current incarnation, have seen an ancient slinger: nil.

You earlier wrote the following:
"Just totally impractical to hold your stones like that (...) His starting balance is all wrong.  (...) 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 ar    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."

I must say, this needs clarification. As I wrote earlier: the Makron cup shows a man with his weight on his back, right leg. He is preparing for a helicopter-style shot. The photograph from the Baleares gives you a parallel for the pose, including the upturned hand. The enemy is on right. If you think his weight is forward, and he is preparing for a trebuchet (nice expression), then you're actually reading the cup the wrong way round, I think.

So I don't think it's fanciful, but quite a good representation of a slinger. The context is the banquet: young aristocratic men drink wine (represented on the outside). The inside of the cup ? Through the wine, the drinker sees a bearded head, spear heads, a body in motion. As he drinks, the image grows sharper: a despised slinger. Yet, shown clearly, in his calm skill, as he fights-- an image which challenges any aristocratic prejudice. 
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Thearos
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #20 - Oct 7th, 2009 at 5:21pm
 
Arrowheads from Thermopylai. Most are tanged spikes; some are leafs, some are three-finned; one is barbed (barbs broken). National Archaelogical Museum, Athens.
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #21 - Oct 7th, 2009 at 5:25pm
 
Thearos wrote on Oct 7th, 2009 at 3:19pm:
As he drinks, the image grows sharper: a despised slinger. Yet, shown clearly, in his calm skill, as he fights-- an image which challenges any aristocratic prejudice.  


Cool I like the idea.
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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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Thearos
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #22 - Oct 8th, 2009 at 11:08am
 
Those arrows, of course, are mostly not Greek, but shot by Persians at the Spartiates at Thermopylai; excavated there, I think in the 1920s (on the hill of the last stand of Leonidas' men). Small bronze tanged spikes.

The most famous archers in Greece were Cretans-- who used big, barbed bronze arrow-heads, found all over the E. Med.

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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #23 - Oct 8th, 2009 at 12:30pm
 
Quote:
The possibility that you, in your current incarnation, have seen an ancient slinger: nil.  

lol true true.
But I have done an awful lot of slinging. And have a better than average idea what was involved.

The man is facing away from the direction the sling missile will eventually go. If you strike that position with your front leg bent and your back leg straight all the weight is on the front leg. This is wrong.
It's not the same position as the balearic as this guy is plainly not loading his sling he's supposed to be preparing to throw - you load the sling looking forward, not behind your back with your head screwed all the way round. So stance is wrong for that.

I'll give you the arrows, dodgy looking as they are Wink. (actually looking at the photo - all the arrows in the photo are narrow headed so even the arrows on the cup bear no actual resemblance to those in that picture, which presumably were contemporary to the cup.)
So On the evidence you've presented I'm sticking with my conclusion that those are not realistic arrows either Smiley

And you said yourself - made for aristocrats - who will rarely see a slinger up close - so wouldn't necessarily know the intricate subtleties of slinging (I happen to know them very well).

It's a nice piece but it's just not a picture you can draw concrete conclusions from about slinging styles or practices. It just ain't Smiley

It might be meant to show how crap the slingers were on the other team: 'hey look at this idiot on my cup, hasn't got a clue - no wonder we stuffed those boys last year.'
This is an equally valid inference to draw as yours - probably better as it fits the facts. Wink
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David Morningstar
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #24 - Oct 8th, 2009 at 1:34pm
 
Curious Aardvark wrote on Oct 8th, 2009 at 12:30pm:
[quote]
The man is facing away from the direction the sling missile will eventually go.


No, he is throwing to the viewers right. No wonder you think its all wrong!
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #25 - Oct 8th, 2009 at 4:17pm
 
Agree with you David. If he's opposing the archers he's got to be slinging to our right. Other than that he's bent over it looks like it will be a normal Greek style start to me once he straightens up.

PS (Had to break off to drive daughter to school)

There may even be the implication that slingers outrange archers as the arrows are all on the ground and  appear to have barely reached him.
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Thearos
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #26 - Oct 8th, 2009 at 5:44pm
 
I think he's loading his sling, seating the stone and making sure it's centred. The pose is a bit dynamic, but the gesture is unmistakeable. Occam's rasor works here: you can either see this as a realistic representation of a slinger preparing, with arrows being shot at him, or a fanciful representation of a slinger, with arrows being shot at him from behind. The first solution is simpler. Otherwise, you might as well say of the photograph of the Balearic slinger that his  pose is all wrong: he's not looking where he's going to sling, his weight is on his front leg, and he's preparing to do a crazy trebuchet-like throw-- no, he's preparing to sling in front of him.

Aussie: yes, I thought that too-- that arrows fall short, but the sling will hit hard and true.
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #27 - Oct 11th, 2009 at 7:46pm
 
lol okay the artistically impressioned and utterly unrealistic arrows (going by the picture of genuine arrows) are at the front.
Okay that makes slightly more sense. And gives you a sort of half fig8 throw that might be marginally effective.

Now all that needs explaining is the stone pouch & arrowheads.

It's a commercial picture not an accurate battlefield depiction.
The artist probably knocked out half a dozen a day. It just needed to be eye catching, not accurate.

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Thearos
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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #28 - Oct 12th, 2009 at 9:12am
 
As above: Cretan arrow heads are wide and barbed (quite widespread). Persian arrowheads small spikes. The Thermopylai finds illustrate both types (you have to look carefully). And as i mentioned, there are mentions of barbs in medical writers (how to remove). So arrowheads are fine. 

I tried slinging that way, with a pouch in the crook of my arm. It works fine. Perhaps better than having something around the body. I slung helicopter style, fishing the stone out with right hand, and passing it to left hand (gripping pouch). Straighten out the sling, then rotations and throw; left arm holds the bag out of the way. Repeat and rinse.

No way to say, but (to repeat myself again), vase painters usually represent things with some degree of accuracy: shields (outside and inside, especially the porpax), helmets, swords are spot on. So are ploughs, sails, pots, knives, chopping blocks, shoes, doors, etc-- as we can judge from the archaeology. Why not slings ? So back to the thread's topic: Greek slingers, with small tactical loads on the arm, not big pouches on hip. Hence aimed shots in the skirmishing line, not blizzards of shots.


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Re: Makron cup (ca. 490)
Reply #29 - Oct 12th, 2009 at 9:25am
 
It's a lot of inference from a simple picture - and barbs tend not to be great birdwinged devices as depicted on the cup.

The arrows are an obvious exaggeration of a true arrow - so why believe the rest ?

In most illustrations sling pouches are slung over a shoulder and hang at the side. Far more practical and considerably more evidence that it was usual practice.

And I still don't see how you can draw any tactical inference you do from this diagram.

The amount of ammunition held is irrelevant to the amount used. No archer carries all the arrows they will shoot during a battle with them. They get reloads. As slingers would most likely have done.
Also - cup again - those are large stones, probably around the 6-8 oz mark. The vast majority of recovered sling glandes are in the 1.5-3 oz range.
This guy is not a long range sniper he's either slinging for barrage effect (large stones hitting armour shatter quite spectacularly into shrapnel) slinging blind over an obstacle - again heavier larger missiles would be better for this. Or slinging downwards from a point of fortification - another situation where larger heavier missiles woud be useful.
As seen in the defenders cache at danebury.

Were he a skirmish sniper he would most probably be using shaped glandes for penetration and distance.

All of this is of course reliant on the cup accurately depicting a slinger in battle and the actual ammo he used. Wink
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« Last Edit: Oct 12th, 2009 at 10:35am by Curious Aardvark »  

Do All things with Honour and Generosity: Regret Nothing, Envy None, Apologise Seldom and Bow your head to No One  - works for me Smiley
 
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