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General >> Project Goliath - The History of The Sling >> Use of slings in the High Middle Ages
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Message started by Chris on Mar 25th, 2004 at 12:44am

Title: Use of slings in the High Middle Ages
Post by Chris on Mar 25th, 2004 at 12:44am
We mostly talk about sling use in classical times, but the sling has been used since then (and is certainly still used today).  I was wondering if people knew anything about sling use in medieval europe, especially in the later periods?  It seems to be an era dominated by the bow and siege weapons.  

I started thinking about this after seeing this steel engraving by Artist J. Drummond.  It prominently features a staff slinger during a siege.  




Title: Re: Use of slings in the High Middle Ages
Post by David_T on Mar 25th, 2004 at 7:49am
Wow Chris,

Cool picture! Look at the size of that stone! :o I guess he is thowing it down from a wall so he has gravity to help but-- wow, that would make for a bad day at the office!


Title: Re: Use of slings in the High Middle Ages
Post by Johnny on Mar 25th, 2004 at 7:56am
That rock would really mess up your hair!
Super cool picture Chris, is it out of a book?
Johnny

Title: Re: Use of slings in the High Middle Ages
Post by Chris on Mar 25th, 2004 at 10:09am
It's a print you can order.  It's about the size of a piece of paper.  

Chris

Title: Re: Use of slings in the High Middle Ages
Post by Douglas on Mar 25th, 2004 at 12:44pm
I am not familiar with slinging in the later middle ages, but I have studied the earlier middle ages. There are two illustrations, one from an Anglo-Saxon manuscript and another from the Bayeux tapestry, both from ca 10th-11th century. They are both hunting fowl, and they both appear to be using an underhand cast (though it's hard to tell, they didn't have video back then). :)

Title: Re: Use of slings in the High Middle Ages
Post by srgs9 on Mar 25th, 2004 at 1:07pm
Now I have to go get some wood to make some staff slings. (I'm not going to sacrifice my trusty Jo for this experement). The more I mull it over the better the "man portable seige engine" sounds. :)

Title: Re: Use of slings in the High Middle Ages
Post by Ulrica on Mar 25th, 2004 at 3:38pm
One really can take a long look at that picture!
So many signs and meanings, I guess.
The man pointed at that cross; the hand pulling in the alarm clock; all smoke, the fear in that mans look who is leaning on the wall; the probably dead man on the floor, what is it beside that man? A book that has been hit by a stone?
.... and so on..

Is the slingstaff-man throwing the stones backwards?

Awake many feelings, that picture!

/Ulrica

Title: Re: Use of slings in the High Middle Ages
Post by english on Mar 25th, 2004 at 4:48pm
  It is a good picture, but I have always been taught to analyse source providence.  I very much doubt the engraver was at a battle somehow, and may have embellished.  However, it is a good picture, quite convincing, and evidence does seem to suggest knowledge of such weapons.  Anyways, I prefer the staff sling to the sling in some respects, particularly consistency of cast, amongst othe things.
  I am sure the sling was used in Europe during that time, certainly in the balearics, where it never died out, and hasn't yet.  It is probable that peasants and poachers would have used the sling for birds, because poaching was illegal, and owning a bow is quite conspicuous.  Also, a sling is easier to make.  I cannot really see the gentry using the sling, on account of the fact that it is not (let's be honest here) a very noble weapon.  I recall someone on this forum saying something about sling use in medieval battles, something about the battle of Najera.  That was in the fourteenth century, I believe.  So there is some use of the sling in battle in late medieval Europe, but it seems to be in Spain, or Spanish territory, and the Spanish seem to be closely connected to the sling.  Anyways, there must have been some use, but I guess it is like a .22 now; people use them for sport, but you would never use one in battle unless you had to, and they aren't much mentioned in many texts.

Title: Re: Use of slings in the High Middle Ages
Post by mgreenfield on Mar 25th, 2004 at 7:00pm
Ulrica, ....where's the alarm clock?  mgreenfield

Title: Re: Use of slings in the High Middle Ages
Post by Hondero on Mar 25th, 2004 at 7:14pm
Beautiful engraving of romantic style with the tipical artistic allowances of its gender, like that big stone, greater than a human head and that must weigh around  20 Kg., really unmanageable even with a staff-sling. Also that cord that looks like the release thong of a sling and that does not correspond to a staff-sling. But well, the artist does not try to describe exactly the weapon but to make an impression to a general public, and this scene is full of strength and get it.

There are a lot of literary references of the use of the sling in Midle Age and many engravings too, someone so beautiful like this in the Chronicles by Froissart, refered to the Najera batle in Spain, XIV century (you have good memory, english), in which appear some english long bows facing a slinger. I mentioned it in other thread.



Title: Re: Use of slings in the High Middle Ages
Post by Chris on Mar 25th, 2004 at 7:52pm
The engraving was made in the 1860's I believe, so the artist had no first hand experience.

Hondero, where is the slinger?  In the mid bottom right?

Chris

Title: Re: Use of slings in the High Middle Ages
Post by Hondero on Mar 26th, 2004 at 3:31am
Yes, he has a short sling in the right arm and a small shield with an arrow nailed in it in the left arm. Now I remember that I mention this engraving when we spoke about  slingers using shields or not.

Title: Re: Use of slings in the High Middle Ages
Post by Ulrica on Mar 26th, 2004 at 3:54am

wrote on Mar 25th, 2004 at 7:00pm:
Ulrica, ....where's the alarm clock?  mgreenfield


I can be mistaken, but I thought it was a kind of clock in the tower in the background, and from there itīs a roap to a hand in the smoke...

I thought it was some kind of alarm clock...

Or did I simply took the wrong word?? "Bell" maybe is better..
You know, my english is not the best, and yesterday I was so incredible tired...


/Ulrica


Title: Re: Use of slings in the High Middle Ages
Post by Johnny on Mar 26th, 2004 at 3:09pm
Ulrica
Looks like a bell tower to me.
Johnny

Title: Re: Use of slings in the High Middle Ages
Post by Ulrica on Mar 26th, 2004 at 4:48pm
Thank you Johnny.  :D


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