origin of the sling is unknown. It seems to have developed
independently worldwide. The concept is simple enough.
Once people started throwing rocks (or other simple
projectiles) as weapons, the sling was introduced as
an extension of the arm for greater mechanical advantage.
There are many references to slings in historical documents.
Most people know the story of David and Goliath. The
Romans were the first civilization to effectively use
slingers in large formations in their armies, but they
were used by the Sumerians , Assyrians, and Egyptians
as well. As bows and arrows were expensive to supply
to thousands of troops. Slings were used to give Roman
reserve troops a cheap long-range weapon. They used
(American) football shaped lead projectiles that could
supposedly pierce armor.
general, the sling is a hard weapon to master, and because
of this, few armies used the sling to the same extent
as the bow or crossbow (when the were developed). Slings
were used outside of the military as hunting weapons
as well. There are documents describing bands of hunters
killing big game with slings. Often they would use rocks
from riverbeds, as they were more spherical and smooth.
The slings' use as a weapon started to dwindle in the
Middle Ages because of advances in bow and crossbow
design. The longbow and crossbow became increasingly
accurate, out-ranged the sling, and provided more accuracy
for less training. With the advent of firearms, non-gunpowder
weapons became obsolete.
the memories of simpler times faded away, people started
using these older weapons as hobbies, as you can see
with the popularity of archery today. Slinging remains
a popular pastime in many countries today, especially
in Mediterranean and Pacific islands. The last official
use of the sling in war was by the allies in World War
I to lob grenades.