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Strabo 8.3.33: sling shoots further than bow (Read 302 times)
Thearos
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Strabo 8.3.33: sling shoots further than bow
Oct 17th, 2017 at 7:20pm
 
Strabo 8.3.33, myth re Aitolians conquering Elis (C1st BCE source, based on Ephoros, writing in mid C4th BCE)

it was found that the two forces were evenly matched, Pyraechmes the Aetolian and Degmenus the Epeians, in accordance with an ancient custom of the Greeks, advanced to single combat. Degmenus was lightly armed with a bow, thinking that he would easily overcome a heavy-armed opponent at long range, but Pyraechmes armed himself with a sling and a bag of stones, after he had noticed his opponent's ruse (as it happened, the sling had only recently been invented by the Aetolians); and since the sling had longer range, Degmenus fell, and the Aetolians drove out the Epeians and took possession of the land...
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Parmenion
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Re: Strabo 8.3.33: sling shoots further than bow
Reply #1 - Oct 18th, 2017 at 2:29am
 
Thearos wrote on Oct 17th, 2017 at 7:20pm:
(as it happened, the sling had only recently been invented by the Aetolians)


something is wrong here or i don't understand.
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slingbadger
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Re: Strabo 8.3.33: sling shoots further than bow
Reply #2 - Oct 18th, 2017 at 7:18am
 
If you mean the part about the Aetolians inventing the sling, you have to remember that a lot of the ancient writings had some "heroic exaggerations" in them. People would write in things that made their people look good. There is a passage in the Aeniad where the hero slings a lead glande so hard and fast it melts in mid air. I would pay serious money to see a  person do that in real life.
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Re: Strabo 8.3.33: sling shoots further than bow
Reply #3 - Oct 18th, 2017 at 9:20am
 
slingbadger wrote on Oct 18th, 2017 at 7:18am:
There is a passage in the Aeniad where the hero slings a lead glande so hard and fast it melts in mid air.


i think there is an explanation on this. (i might have read this explanation somewhere in the forum)
the projectile hits armor, at the collision the projectile deforms and the kinetic energy is transformed into heat .
a lot of people being hit be glandes would have talked about this leading people to believe that a slung glande melts/heats mid air.

but a writing in mid C4th BCE how could they not know of other slinging cultures?
maybe they made some king of innovation?or just something wrong during translation and copying
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"Αιεν αριστευειν και υπείροχον έμμεναι άλλων", Iliad Z 208
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Re: Strabo 8.3.33: sling shoots further than bow
Reply #4 - Oct 18th, 2017 at 9:58am
 
slingbadger wrote on Oct 18th, 2017 at 7:18am:
If you mean the part about the Aetolians inventing the sling, you have to remember that a lot of the ancient writings had some "heroic exaggerations" in them. People would write in things that made their people look good. There is a passage in the Aeniad where the hero slings a lead glande so hard and fast it melts in mid air. I would pay serious money to see a  person do that in real life.


Bet apox has done it whistle
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Thearos
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Re: Strabo 8.3.33: sling shoots further than bow
Reply #5 - Oct 18th, 2017 at 10:29am
 
Ephoros writes in the C4th but the story is placed in mythical times (it's about the "return of the Herakleidai"). This trope is quite current in mythological telling ("X did not exist / had just been invented at the time"). For instance, Pindar's retelling of one of the myths about Castor and Pollux says that the pankration had not been invented. I think one of the myths in Plato's Symposium observes that wine had not been invented yet. etc.

So here, the idea is that the Aitolians are the inventers of slinging (Greek historiography is also obsessed with who invented what), before the time of the Herakleidai. Nonsense, of course, but that's par for the course.
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Re: Strabo 8.3.33: sling shoots further than bow
Reply #6 - Oct 18th, 2017 at 11:19am
 
I've heard it said that the Viking sagas that had people being cut in two with a single stroke of a sword and other somewhat unlikely feats of strength and skill being "Viking Hollywood" and I'm willing to bet a lot of cultures myths and legends and histories have something similar. "I tell ya, the one that got away was 10x as big!"
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Thearos
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Re: Strabo 8.3.33: sling shoots further than bow
Reply #7 - Oct 18th, 2017 at 11:48am
 
Anyway, I found it interesting that the story says that to be beat a bow you should take a sling
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Re: Strabo 8.3.33: sling shoots further than bow
Reply #8 - Oct 18th, 2017 at 12:07pm
 
yes, pretty good accuracy and power if he hit a man with a sling at the limits of the enemy's bow range .
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"Αιεν αριστευειν και υπείροχον έμμεναι άλλων", Iliad Z 208
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Thearos
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Re: Strabo 8.3.33: sling shoots further than bow
Reply #9 - Oct 18th, 2017 at 4:56pm
 
Yes, what does that mean in terms of range ? I mean one on one, what's a realistic bow-fighting distance ?
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Re: Strabo 8.3.33: sling shoots further than bow
Reply #10 - Oct 18th, 2017 at 5:13pm
 
180-200m

from traditional bowyers bible:
28" draw,67" bow,medium set,straight stave,500 grain (32 grams) arrow
lbs-range (yds)
40-148
50-166
60-186
70-210

recurves will outrange straight staves

similar to the practice range mentioned in de re militari
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"Αιεν αριστευειν και υπείροχον έμμεναι άλλων", Iliad Z 208
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Thearos
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Re: Strabo 8.3.33: sling shoots further than bow
Reply #11 - Oct 18th, 2017 at 7:07pm
 
I know this is a story, but should we imagine the duellists shooting at extreme range (the archer shooting at 180m but the slinger getting in 200m)-- or e.g. the slinger shooting down the archer as the archer is striding up to range ?

Because if they're both at say 70m, I'm not sure the slinger has the edge.
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Re: Strabo 8.3.33: sling shoots further than bow
Reply #12 - Oct 19th, 2017 at 2:47am
 
probably we'll never know, how close did the armies get before they perform the custom?
the slinger in this case has the edge since the archer doesn't know about the sling ,he expects the enemy to walk towards him and maybe waits for a clean shot. did the heavy armed opponent have a shield and good armor?
too many variables....
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"Αιεν αριστευειν και υπείροχον έμμεναι άλλων", Iliad Z 208
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Re: Strabo 8.3.33: sling shoots further than bow
Reply #13 - Oct 20th, 2017 at 1:47pm
 
For once, the heavily armored guy was the guy with the sling.   Grin
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Re: Strabo 8.3.33: sling shoots further than bow
Reply #14 - Nov 18th, 2017 at 7:45am
 
Arrow hits armoured guy in chest at max bow-range: -arrow bounces off armour- "Pfff!"

Stone hits armoured guy 2 in chest at max bow-range: -sound of wheezing-

Generally speaking, you'd want to get close to an armoured opponent if you are armed with a bow in order to have a good chance of penetrating through armour, especially in regards to more ancient bows, where I believe draw-weights tended to be around ~70-100 pounds, with thinner arrow shafts than in later periods (To the general exclusion of horse-archers, who tend to prefer lighter arrows even in later periods).

However, a stone against an armoured man who might not be wearing a padded garment... is going to have a bad day. With padding garments, it is harder to say.

So... an armoured slinger ought to be feared by bowmen, even if said bowmen were armoured! Wink
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