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Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best) (Read 4763 times)
Thearos
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Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Aug 9th, 2014 at 5:20am
 
The topic line says it all. I've not seen these discussed in the forum. The quote is from Vegetius 3.14

Funditores sunt qui fundis lino uel saetis factis - has enim dicunt esse meliores - contorto circa caput brachio dirigunt saxa.

Slingers throw stones by turning their arm around the head: they use slings made of linen or "sae tae" (these are said to be the best).

Saetae means "coarse, rough hair"-- so wool tufts ? goat hair ?

Add Virgil Georgics 1.309
tum figere dammas,
stuppea torquentem Balearis verbera fundae,

Winter is the time to "strike down does, by twisting the flaxen thongs of the Balearic sling".

"Linen" or "flax" I assume means slings plaited or braided from long flaxen fibres. "Hair" slings must mean something like Tibetan or Andean slings.
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« Last Edit: Aug 9th, 2014 at 7:39am by Thearos »  
 
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Thearos
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Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Reply #1 - Aug 9th, 2014 at 5:21am
 
Striking down does-- this is for Jaegoor.
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Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Reply #2 - Aug 9th, 2014 at 6:48am
 
Cheesy nice quotes
Saetae =dreadlocks Cheesy
jk... They didn't have paracord though..
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Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Reply #3 - Aug 9th, 2014 at 8:21am
 
Could it have meant horse hair from the manes and tails?
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Thearos
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Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Reply #4 - Aug 9th, 2014 at 9:44am
 
Yes, absolutely !

saeta (sēta ), ae, f. etym. dub..
I. Prop., a thick, stiff hair on an animal; a bristle (class.; usu. in plur.; cf. villus, pilus).
A. Plur.
1. Absol., Lucr. 5, 786; “of a boar,” Ov. M. 8, 428; cf. 2, B. infra; “of a porcupine,” Claud. Hystr. 6; “of the fish aper,” Ov. Hal. 59; “of a goat,” Verg. G. 3, 312; “of a cow,” id. A. 7, 790; “of a horse,” Amm. 29, 2, 4; Val. Fl. 6, 71: “ita quasi saetis labra mihi compungit barba,” Plaut. Cas. 5, 2, 48.—
2. With gen.: “saetae leonis,” Prop. 4, 9, 44.—
B. Sing.: “saeta equina,” Cic. Tusc. 5, 21, 62: “nigrae saetae grex (suum),” Col. 7, 9, 2; cf. Verg. A. 7, 667.—
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Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Reply #5 - Aug 12th, 2014 at 7:00am
 
Thats the problem with ancient translations…

Maybe he meant a porcupine quill sling.  Grin
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Thearos
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Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Reply #6 - Aug 12th, 2014 at 8:39am
 
Unhelpfully snippy and snide comment removed by author
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« Last Edit: Aug 23rd, 2014 at 1:55pm by Thearos »  
 
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Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Reply #7 - Aug 23rd, 2014 at 9:43am
 
Yeah, but you still don't know what they really meant.

Have you ever tried a porcupine quill sling?

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Thearos
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Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Reply #8 - Aug 23rd, 2014 at 1:54pm
 
Saeta doesn't mean quill, it means that quills look like thickly planted hair. I.e. saeta can be used for all kinds of thick animal hair (horse, lion, boar). Common sense recommends wool, here. 

So any reenactor who wants to look like a Roman slinger should get a simple, tawny goat-hair or thick woollen sling.
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Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Reply #9 - Aug 23rd, 2014 at 2:15pm
 
Or made of flax, wich is possible even if it's not the top quality material Wink
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Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Reply #10 - Aug 23rd, 2014 at 2:54pm
 
(What is flax usually used for ? It's linen, right ? Clothes, ropes ? I remember that you have to make linen fibers "rot", "rouir" in french)
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Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Reply #11 - Aug 24th, 2014 at 3:25am
 
Yes, you have to ret (retting is the action of letting the fibers rot in running water) flax, but also hemp or even nettle and many other vegetable fibers to separate said fibers from the "bark"

And you can use it for clothes, ropes, slings...
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Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Reply #12 - Aug 24th, 2014 at 9:39am
 
Porcupine quills can be plaited..so I wouldn't rule it out. They might make a very durable sling material or perhaps a covering for the natural fibre that could withstand abrasion much better than plant fibre or animal hair.
To the untrained eye, it would appear to be made of porcupine quills alone.
Sadly, they would have decomposed over time so any good examples would have been lost.

The crested porcupine was common in Greece, and quills could be gathered by simply throwing a blanket over one. 

Can't rule it out, it makes a lot of sense. Ystrix I believe they called them. I hear they taste OK too...
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Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Reply #13 - Aug 24th, 2014 at 9:42am
 
Balearic slings are made of flax?
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Re: Vegetius (and Virgil) on sling material: linen or wool (wool best)
Reply #14 - Aug 24th, 2014 at 4:11pm
 
Now note something important here: linen slings are braided from long fibres, something like the slings I make. But slings made out of "saetae" are not braided from wool yarn or thread (too stretchy) but are made out of clumps of animal hair-- matted or spliced or felted.

A few questions:

--does anyone know HOW to make a sling like that ? Has anyone made one ?

-- does the movement involve twisting ? If so, the "well-twisted wool" slings of Homer might be this sort of thing.

--does anyone know of examples of such slings from Europe or the N.East ? (as opposed to Peru or Tibet).

-- WHY is a sling of matted animal hair better than braided fibres ?
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