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ancient slingers training? (Read 2748 times)
johan
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ancient slingers training?
Aug 2nd, 2017 at 4:07pm
 
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Liv.+38+29&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3...

Quote:
These men had been in the habit, as their fathers had before them, of practicing with their slings, with which they used to hurl into the sea the round stones lying on the beach. [5] In this way they gained a more accurate and longer range than the Baliaric slingers.


1)How throwing into the sea can make you better?(since there is no target for accuracy, and it's difficult to measure distance)

2)Why would it be better than throwing at land?

Quote:
[7] They used to send their stones through rings at a great distance, as targets, and were thus able to hit not only the head but whatever part of the face they aimed at.


3) Why use rings as targets?


in de re militari :
http://www.digitalattic.org/home/war/vegetius/index.php#b215
@THE DRILLING OF THE TROOPS

Quote:
The archers and slingers set up bundles of twigs or straw for marks, and generally strike them with arrows and with stones from the fustiablus at the distance of six hundred feet. They acquired coolness and exactness in acnon from familiar custom and exercise in the field. The slingers should be taught to whirl the sling but once about the head before they cast the stone.


bundles of twigs or straw seems to me as a better target than rings...

4)do you know any other sources on ancient slingers' training?

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Thearos
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Re: ancient slingers training?
Reply #1 - Aug 2nd, 2017 at 5:39pm
 
There also are the various references to Baleares teaching their children to sling by putting their food up in trees and asking them to shoot it down.

On the Achaians and their slinging, I would say

1. Slinging by the seaside: good consistent ammo, so teaches you good consistent shooting at full power and long distance (whanging with control, if you want)
2. Rings as target: pretty hard to hit, and any hit that's not perfect hits the ring and, um, makes it ring. So unlike the modern Balearic target where the "ping" announces the "diana", the hit on the central metal, the Achaians' target "pings" when the shot is not perfectly aligned.
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johan
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Re: ancient slingers training?
Reply #2 - Aug 3rd, 2017 at 3:22am
 
Thearos wrote on Aug 2nd, 2017 at 5:39pm:
2. Rings as target: pretty hard to hit, and any hit that's not perfect hits the ring and, um, makes it ring. So unlike the modern Balearic target where the "ping" announces the "diana", the hit on the central metal, the Achaians' target "pings" when the shot is not perfectly aligned.


have you played basketball without a net ? when you throw a perfect shot and the ball doesn't touch anything and passes throw the ring there is no feedback, other people watching from different angles may say that it passed by the side of the ring and you didn't score.

the rings are at great distance so it will be easier for the slinger to confuse an accurate throw with an inaccurate one.
with no feedback when you are accurate i don't see a reason to bother and make a ring instead of bundles of twigs.
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Morphy
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Re: ancient slingers training?
Reply #3 - Aug 3rd, 2017 at 9:28am
 
Ive been thinking about making a target with different materials to give different feedback depending on where the shot hits. Something like a thick wood target with a hole in it with a thick rubber swinging bullseye filling the hole. A hit on rubber would sound different than wood and you would instantly know if you hit the bullseye or not.

I agree that the ring seems counter productive at longer ranges.
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Re: ancient slingers training?
Reply #4 - Aug 3rd, 2017 at 10:53am
 
Maybe that's it. They said they would be training to hit particular parts of a soldiers face ("You should have seen the size of the one that got away!" but yeah...) so I'm guessing it would, in contrary to what they said (again "You should have seen the size..."), be used for shorter distances to practice accuracy. In war, from what I've understood, the sling was used on mass, slinging at a group of enemy soldiers so as long as it was in the right direction and at the right distance, accuracy beyond that wouldn't matter; you'll probably hit someone. Maybe the ring has just been inaccurately reported on as being for a "great distance" shot.
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Re: ancient slingers training?
Reply #5 - Aug 3rd, 2017 at 10:59am
 
That's all complete speculation by the way and I have nothing even close to evidence to justify it but it wouldn't be the first time a source from history was somewhat... inventive in it's depiction of reality.
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Thearos
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Re: ancient slingers training?
Reply #6 - Aug 3rd, 2017 at 2:37pm
 
Maybe, yes. But the source is Polybios (via Livy)-- an Achaian himself (albeit from Megalepolis in the Peloponnese, i.e. part of the Achaian League), with considerable military experience and interests-- he's the guy who describes the kestrosphendone (dart-sling) among other things; he also describes the use of slings against Kelts in Central Asia Minor in 189 BCE. So it's not "a legend", but an eyewitness, contemporary historian. Not to be taken as gospel but pretty serious guy.
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Re: ancient slingers training?
Reply #7 - Aug 3rd, 2017 at 3:16pm
 
These accounts are probably the most difficult for me to understand. How can a slinger hit a bundle of twigs at 600 feet with any consistency? Especially using the Byzantine style. How big was this bundle? Does it give any indication Thearos?
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Re: ancient slingers training?
Reply #8 - Aug 3rd, 2017 at 3:18pm
 
Well if he himself is an Achaian then could it be just boasting about the home team? It does seem strange to be talking
about pinpoint accuracy and then say "great distances". It would be very hard to even see someone's face but then I guess it depends on what counts as a "great distance". It's a really interesting source for sure.
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Re: ancient slingers training?
Reply #9 - Aug 3rd, 2017 at 4:07pm
 
couldn't it be a bad description of something they used daily?
or bad translation...
in the same passage there is a description of the achaean sling with three thongs which is said to be better than others, the description there is also problematic.
couldn't they draw things back then? Tongue

Morphy wrote on Aug 3rd, 2017 at 3:16pm:
How can a slinger hit a bundle of twigs at 600 feet with any consistency?


in modern society we'll probably never know.

what i understand is that they trained at human size targets at a stadion distance (185m), but they fought at closer ranges like 50m which means that they could pick parts of the body to hit
if you can hit something 0.5m big(shoulder to shoulder) at 185m
then theoretically you can hit something 13cm big at 50m with the same consistency

also we don't know what good consistency is good to them or the historian ,1/5?,1/10?,1/100????


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Morphy
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Re: ancient slingers training?
Reply #10 - Aug 3rd, 2017 at 5:30pm
 
  You might be right Parmenion. I know theres always more to learn with the sling so I try to keep an open mind. For what its worth my experience comes from approx. 25 years of slinging. Long time members know I am a target slinging addict. Ive done quite a bit of it, but thats another story and I dont want to make the mistake of an appeal to authority here.

My experience tells me that extremely long ranges tend to exaggerate difficulty more than can be calculated with a simple formula. Theres alot of things that come into play target slinging at very long ranges that you dont think about at say, 30 meters. One of many examples is elevation. Slinging at an imaginary point 6 inches above your target is infinitely easier than trying to imagine a point 10 feet above a target at extremely long ranges. Throw in cross winds and very slightly off kilter spins on the sling projectile and at long distances things get weird. I believe it has to do with approaching the physical limits of the human body. As you get close to it, even a little improvment becomes a monumental effort.

But who knows. I personally cant understand a person being able to hit a persons torso at nearly 200 meters with any kind of consistency. Maybe its possible, but its so much better than anything any of us have witnessed its tough to grasp.
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Re: ancient slingers training?
Reply #11 - Aug 3rd, 2017 at 6:49pm
 
I don't have nearly the same experience but I have to agree. It does start sounding a bit superhuman even with daily practice for many years.
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Thearos
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Re: ancient slingers training?
Reply #12 - Aug 3rd, 2017 at 7:59pm
 
That particular bit of the Greek historian Polybios is preserved in the Roman historian Livy, who occasionally misunderstood or mistranslated Polybios Greek; and of course, there always is the risk of textual corruption. So yes, something may well be wrong in the text; and yes, Polybios is extremely proud of Achaian military prowess (he also is very keen to argue that Achaian cavalrymen or Achaian generals are the best, and it's true that the Achaian Philopoimen sounds like a pretty terrifying guy).

The context, if I remember correctly, is that the Achaian slingers at the siege of Same absolutely crushed any attempts by the besieged to mount sorties-- the volume and accuracy of Achaian sling volleys were just too much
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Re: ancient slingers training?
Reply #13 - Aug 4th, 2017 at 6:16am
 
Morphy, the targets were written down as man sized, so it would depend on how tall they were. Still, assuming 6ft, hitting that target at 600 ft. is impressive. Not bad for people who were the lowest of the low in the army.

  You also cannot take everything written down as gospel. They may have exaggerated many parts to make themselves look good.
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Re: ancient slingers training?
Reply #14 - Aug 4th, 2017 at 6:55am
 
I agree. I think a combination of man-sized targets and a healthy amount of exaggeration makes sense.  Part of me wants to believe its true. It would be amazing to see something like that.
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