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General >> Project Goliath - The History of The Sling >> Achaean sling
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Message started by J on Sep 28th, 2021 at 12:50pm

Title: Achaean sling
Post by J on Sep 28th, 2021 at 12:50pm
Lets discuss. How do you think the Achaean sling was made?

''Et est non simplicis habenae, ut Baliarica aliarumque gentium funda, sed triplex scutale, crebris suturis duratum, ne fluxa habena volutetur in iactu glans, sed librata cum sederit, velut nervo missa excutiatur. Coronas modici circuli magno ex intervallo loci adsueti traicere non capita solum hostium vulnerabant, sed quem locum destinassent oris. Hae fundae Samaeos cohibuerunt, ne tam crebro neve tam audacter erumperent, adeo ut precarentur ex muris Achaeos ut parumper abscederent et se cum Romanis stationibus pugnantes quiete spectarent. ''

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by J on Sep 28th, 2021 at 1:42pm
One of the many translations gives me the following

'''...sed triplex scutale, crebris suturis duratum, ne fluxa habena volutetur in iactu glans...''
'''...but a triple pouch, hardened by frequent stitches, lest the loose strip may be rolled in the shot of a bullet...''

Lest the loose strip...are they talking about the release cord (=loose strip) here rolling into the way of the projectile or rather the projectile rolling into the release cord?

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by J on Sep 28th, 2021 at 1:48pm
The first sentence isn't too hard.

'''...Et est non simplicis habenae, ut Baliarica aliarumque gentium funda'''.
'''...not a simple strap/thong/whip, like out of the Balaeric Islands and that of other nations slings''.

The more I try to unpuzzle this translation the less I can think of it being a conventional sling design. He is specifically stating it's unlike the sling of both the Balearics and the other nations, who likely all used the conventional design (retention cord - pouch section - release cord = one long string) that is still the most popular to this day

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by J on Sep 28th, 2021 at 1:54pm
''...sed librata cum sederit''
''...but in balance when he shall give''




Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by J on Sep 28th, 2021 at 2:05pm
He does talk about glans or ''bullet'' but before that he was talking about how they trained with round stones from the beach.

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by Sarosh on Sep 28th, 2021 at 3:51pm
It is a very interesting passage.

Did the balearic slings looked the same as they do now?
were they braided fibers or leather straps? so we can understand what the writer compares

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by J on Sep 28th, 2021 at 4:58pm
''Habenae''

-reins (pl.)
-halter
-thong
-strap
-whip

All of these seem to imply a rather thick sling

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by J on Sep 28th, 2021 at 5:26pm
''ne fluxa habena volutetur in iactu glans..''
''lest the loose strip may be rolled in the shot''

Again we see the word ''habena'' which is a form of ''habenae.''. It makes sense
that a ''strip'' or rather flat and/or thick release 'thong' can interferes with accuracy as the ''bullet'' can roll into it causing deflection. I'd never pick my all leather slings or flat wide braided slings for slinging glands either.

Could it mean the Achaean sling was really just a conventional sling, with lets say, a 3 strip leather aussie pouch, with cords sewn to it? Round cords, compared to flat thongs. But what strikes me as odd is that I can't place this model of sling as being special, it must have been used by other nations right? It's not like the Achaeans invented cordage.


Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by Sarosh on Sep 29th, 2021 at 3:26am
my thought is if the balearics used wide leather strap slings or big cloth slings, then maybe achaeans used 3 narrow and thin leather straps sewn together, not side by side but one over the other, so they become less pliant.

or the achaeans used y slings.


AncientCraftwork wrote on Sep 28th, 2021 at 5:26pm:
Round cords, compared to flat thongs. But what strikes me as odd is that I can't place this model of sling as being special, it must have been used by other nations right? It's not like the Achaeans invented cordage.

it is just a text that survived, we don't know how attached to a design people were. He is talking about 100 slingers maybe there was even variation in the design of each individual.
But if a design is objectively superior it is going to be adapted by most, I think that becomes clear with lead ammo.

Maybe their superiority is in casting lead because not all slings are good for that. Overall I dont think the slings were extraordinary but the slingers.

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by J on Sep 29th, 2021 at 4:06am
it does lend itself to the Y-sling theory and it could be true. The problem with this is that there is just zero hard evidence, no historical findings I have seen that resemble this sling. There was one historical sling with a ring pouch and 4 cords but that is not a Y sling. I have seen conventional slings with 4 cords but the space between the two release cords is too narrow for most stones and it causes erratic behavior, sometimes they fly through the cords other times not. And here is not talked about ''quadruplex'' but ''triplex scutale''.

At the same time it could be that the Achaean sling was simply a conventional sling but with a more dedicated pouch and cords. It is likely. The problem I have with this is that it hardly can be considered unique because we have such slings from many nations and places all around the globe. 

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by Sarosh on Sep 29th, 2021 at 4:59am
if he is describing a Y sling then his description is inadequate.
if he is describing a phi sling then the sling surely is not special
if he describes a sewn leather as said above then the description seems more suitable because maybe no one else sew his sling's cords

P.S.: sewing sling cords might not make a sling extraordinary but to the eye or to someone who is used to other common types then he may find it important to notice

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by TOMBELAINE on Sep 29th, 2021 at 5:10am
Who is the author of this text ?
I'm agree with Sarosh.
Your reasonning is based on your assertion that the balearic sling was the same of today. Which is just an unverifiable assumption.
Habena may be made with leather. Like this one.
fronde_espagnole.jpg (37 KB | 78 )

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by J on Sep 30th, 2021 at 6:34am
I think either are possible. He could also be describing this problem of the stone getting caught in the release cord, a problem which Achaeans seem to have solved one way or another (using the better sling techniques we know to prevent this kind of event,  or by using a  Y sling.)

gettyimages-147105608-2048x2048.jpg (292 KB | 64 )

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by Curious Aardvark on Sep 30th, 2021 at 7:55am
Hmm, so Achaean, basically Greek.
As with pretty much all Latin texts the problem is with the translation.

And it's just occurred to me that I do know an Oxford graduate Latin scholar.

I'll have to get Isobel's email from her mum and drop this across.

With it being Greek, it could be anything, they had every material and technology available in the ancient world.

Where's this quote actually from ?

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by TOMBELAINE on Sep 30th, 2021 at 10:20am
I agree with all of you.
The important thing is to work on the subject. Translation, analysis and hypothesis.
Of course, the assumptions are unverifiable. Therefore do not believe them. But this work makes it possible to deepen our reflections.

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by Archaic Arms on Sep 30th, 2021 at 2:35pm
I agree with some others that a form of Y sling is being described, but I also believe spiral spin is an important quality for a sling that is used in warfare. Fortunately, in my experiments I discovered that Y slings can be used to spiral stones effectively like 'normal' slings, while maintaining the almost instant release of the Y sling principle.
Could be miles away from the historical sling, but here we go...
I think the pouch could perhaps be a triangle of leather (perhaps multiple layers?) with a very tight running stitch going along through the pouch to make it as inflexible as possible. The three 'thongs' are attached on the corners, with two cords being the release cord and one being the retention. The pouch also has a small triangular hole which would effectively hold both round stones and glandes, the latter being released so that they stably fly point-first.
Here's a quick little drawing:
note- there are numerous other ways this rendition could be executed.
Achaean_sling_idea_1.jpg (39 KB | 66 )

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by J on Sep 30th, 2021 at 2:37pm

Quote:
I agree with all of you.
The important thing is to work on the subject. Translation, analysis and hypothesis.
Of course, the assumptions are unverifiable. Therefore do not believe them. But this work makes it possible to deepen our reflections.


Yes a lot of assumptions on my part.

Assuming they were describing the problem of the stone getting deflected by the release cord.
I and plenty others here know how to solve this problem of the conventional sling with adjustments to technique and grip without changing the core tenants of the design, so I can believe they were using a normal sling just with better a understanding of technique, pouch angle and spins while possibly utilizing a more efficient design.

A lot of Greek slinger depictions give me the impressions they used real cords instead of thicker braided or leather strap designs.
And many Greek slinger depictions also show the wide grip in the hand being utilized.
So these things could back that theory up.
And if we assume the Greek style actually existed, then using solely one quick rotation also seems to solve all problems of cord twist and and the infamous 'loss of pouch orientation control' in my experience. Which then prevents this aweful effect of the projectile running down the release cord from ever happening.

At the same time I could believe they were using a Y-sling.

Copy paste the latin quote in google to get all the background informations

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by Archaic Arms on Oct 1st, 2021 at 6:51am
Another idea:
A bit like an 'Etruscan' sling, but the central strand joins the braid on top (to provide a much narrower 'runway' for the projectile, reducing friction). An additional effect can be gained by making the central shorter than the strands next to it, so while in the loaded position it sits comfortably under the projectile between the split, when the sling opens the central cord lifts the projectile out.
Note - due to the way a sling opens, the belly section of the sling has to be rigid and inflexible in order for this principle to function. (stiffened with stitches perhaps? ;))
central_cord_principle.JPG (27 KB | 71 )

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by funditor on Oct 7th, 2021 at 2:22pm
Is the latin passage by Vegetius?
Talking about greek slings, why not ask greek Authors ;)
There is another passage in the Anabasis by Xenophon.
There he talks about the retention cords made from νευρα which can mean a lot of things. Probably not vegetable origin though. Might be nerve strings, or sinew. I could well imagine sinew hammered and torn into thin fibers, and corded or braided or both is thin, though and flexible, like a bowstring. The basic protein is collagen, which is also the main protein in maby other tissues. My construction suggestion is thus a intestines twisted and dried, commercially available as tennis string. Main Protein is collagen. Ethnographically Yamane slings cords in south Chile are made of Walrus guts.  As a pouch simple leather pouch like Vindolanda sling. Goes off as hell. Very light. And quite silent. 30 g bicobic clay bullet like Pförring  or Carnuntum 200m easy. Would work great with lead bullets.
The pouch could be braided or corded with sinew fibers as well I guess...

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by Sarosh on Oct 7th, 2021 at 2:42pm

funditor wrote on Oct 7th, 2021 at 2:22pm:
There is another passage in the Anabasis by Xenophon.

rhode and achaea would probably have different traditions and I think there is 300 year difference between the events.

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by J on Oct 10th, 2021 at 5:23am
I so far don't seem to have a problem with putting a spiral spin on my Y-slings granted I can control the orientation. The spin rate is reduced but more consistent per throw I think.

That said I don't think the orientation of the stone in the pouch required for such a release gives the quickest release, but
it can be done. Yesterday I threw some small oval stones very far with my Y-sling placing them in the pouch so they would spiral with the correct orientation, I couldn't see them anymore, they were
flying point first.

I think pointy biconicals wouldn't work the best in the Y-pouch for spiralling but dull ovals can be slung point first.
I've tried such stiff pouches that don't cradle the projectile, on both the conventional and the Y-sling, I don't like it.

I agree that point first flight has significant advantage for increasing range. But it is for overstated importance at close distances. Here a direct release I think is of much greater value. The target isn't going to care on what axis the 200g stone is spinning.
150+g stones also also much less affected by magnus effect.

Doing this inline spin however, with a conventional sling, can result in dangerous deflections by the release cord and a lot of wear,
and a spin rate on stones that is so high that I can not think it it makes sense anymore.  The Y-sling solves this problem, in fact this sling is a result of seeking a solution to this problem of the projectile being fouled by the release cord when throwing inline. So I would say the Y-sling is definitely superior to a conventional sling when the users desires to throw with an inline spin. Only when a spiral spin is correctly utilized and put to practice, I think the conventional sling can still hold an edge over the Y-sling in certain areas.



Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by NooneOfConsequence on Oct 28th, 2021 at 10:01am

AncientCraftwork wrote on Oct 10th, 2021 at 5:23am:
I so far don't seem to have a problem with putting a spiral spin on my Y-slings granted I can control the orientation. The spin rate is reduced but more consistent per throw I think.


Try the wet tennis ball method with a y-sling. You can easily observe the direction of spin, and you can also count the spins per frame to estimate the rate of spin.
F47321DA-B9D4-4B77-827D-6DEE6D709A36.jpeg (92 KB | 66 )

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by thabaill on Mar 6th, 2023 at 6:18pm

Archaic Arms wrote on Sep 30th, 2021 at 2:35pm:
I agree with some others that a form of Y sling is being described, but I also believe spiral spin is an important quality for a sling that is used in warfare. Fortunately, in my experiments I discovered that Y slings can be used to spiral stones effectively like 'normal' slings, while maintaining the almost instant release of the Y sling principle.
Could be miles away from the historical sling, but here we go...
I think the pouch could perhaps be a triangle of leather (perhaps multiple layers?) with a very tight running stitch going along through the pouch to make it as inflexible as possible. The three 'thongs' are attached on the corners, with two cords being the release cord and one being the retention. The pouch also has a small triangular hole which would effectively hold both round stones and glandes, the latter being released so that they stably fly point-first.
Here's a quick little drawing:
note- there are numerous other ways this rendition could be executed.


Hi

I see not a extremely big difference between an Y sling and this one (tematlatl) but with a bit enlargued holes.



Also is has a three part pouch strenghtened by several stitches. And when the relese strap is released if the stone or sling bullet scapes by the hole without touching the string it would be dischargued like shot from a bowstring.

The stone pouch must be made just as the stone placed on it is kept under the plane of the rest of the sling when you release the strap.

It would be much like the Y sling but in my opinion more elegant and less cumbersome and strange.

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by thabaill on Mar 6th, 2023 at 6:35pm
There are also bows and crossbows made specially for casting stones or clay balls (bodoques).

https://dungeoncompendium.blogspot.com/2016/01/tecnologia-medieval-o-bodoque.html








https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Besta_de_bodoques

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by joe_meadmaker on Mar 6th, 2023 at 7:07pm

thabaill wrote on Mar 6th, 2023 at 6:18pm:

Archaic Arms wrote on Sep 30th, 2021 at 2:35pm:
I agree with some others that a form of Y sling is being described, but I also believe spiral spin is an important quality for a sling that is used in warfare. Fortunately, in my experiments I discovered that Y slings can be used to spiral stones effectively like 'normal' slings, while maintaining the almost instant release of the Y sling principle.
Could be miles away from the historical sling, but here we go...
I think the pouch could perhaps be a triangle of leather (perhaps multiple layers?) with a very tight running stitch going along through the pouch to make it as inflexible as possible. The three 'thongs' are attached on the corners, with two cords being the release cord and one being the retention. The pouch also has a small triangular hole which would effectively hold both round stones and glandes, the latter being released so that they stably fly point-first.
Here's a quick little drawing:
note- there are numerous other ways this rendition could be executed.


Hi

I see not a extremely big difference between an Y sling and this one (tematlatl) but with a bit enlargued holes.

Also is has a three part pouch strenghtened by several stitches. And when the relese strap is released if the stone or sling bullet scapes by the hole without touching the string it would be dischargued like shot from a bowstring.

The stone pouch must be made just as the stone placed on it is kept under the plane of the rest of the sling when you release the strap.

It would be much like the Y sling but in my opinion more elegant and less cumbersome and strange.

If the projectile was small enough that it could pass through the hole of the pouch, then the sling you posted would effectively be working similar to a Y-pouch.  But it still really isn't one.  A Y-pouch can release any projectile with essentially no interference from the pouch or release cord(s).  And you don't need to worry about the projectile passing through a hole cleanly.  There are definitely pros and cons to the Y-pouch.

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by thabaill on Mar 6th, 2023 at 8:30pm
I agree. The key is to make the sling in such way you can throw stones of a reasonable big size. Not only lead bullets which are usually considerably smaller than the stones used for a sling.

But I think it would fit the description translated by Livy of the sling used by teh Achaeans. As sadly the original one given by Polybius is lost.

I also thought at first of a different design when I read Livy. But I must make one and test if it works. I think the problem is that the stone or sling bullet in a single strap sling rolls on the release string and get a marked Magnus effect and also lose speed due to friction. So we must look for a design that avoid such Magnus effect or get a little rifling spin, and or also avoid most, if not all, the friction on the release string.

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by AncientCraftwork on Mar 7th, 2023 at 5:04am

thabaill wrote on Mar 6th, 2023 at 8:30pm:
I agree. The key is to make the sling in such way you can throw stones of a reasonable big size. Not only lead bullets which are usually considerably smaller than the stones used for a sling.

But I think it would fit the description translated by Livy of the sling used by teh Achaeans. As sadly the original one given by Polybius is lost.

I also thought at first of a different design when I read Livy. But I must make one and test if it works. I think the problem is that the stone or sling bullet in a single strap sling rolls on the release string and get a marked Magnus effect and also lose speed due to friction. So we must look for a design that avoid such Magnus effect or get a little rifling spin, and or also avoid most, if not all, the friction on the release string.


I've experimented with such designs as you are talking of above and personally had no luck with them.
There is a very simple way to reduce the magnus effect with conventional slings, without having a slip-through pouch y-sling, which is simply increasing flexibility of the sling pouch, so that it opens more easily, and by reducing the weight, size and thickness of the releasing cord. A light and efficient conventional sling with thin round flexible cords and a lightweight flexible leather pouch is a world of difference compared to slinging with a thick leather strap or belt or a sling with heavy stiff cords.

The downside of these slings is that they don't make good selling. It means that the simple slings that can be made in 5 minutes with some scrap leather and bits of string out perform the ones that take 40 hours to braid. And a lot of us have invested so much time in perfecting those braiding skills. And a thick beefy sling looks more powerful and aesthetic and makes a big noise. But the opposite is true regarding power in my experience.

Going slimmer and slimmer has its limit too, due to durability issues and tangling issues. I am finding that around 2-3mm round braids to be the optimal for my type of slinging. There are some including me who experimented with stiff retention cords and very light release cords to control the pouch angle. Or stiff retention and release lines and flat braids, But I am discovering that this is fighting the machine. A sling gets its strength from rotation. Let the sling be a sling. And, no such design elements such as stiff cords and flat braids are required to control the pouch angle either. Here is where reloading without overly twisted cords, and proper utilization of technique and the wrist (not too much, not too little.) comes into play.

Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by thabaill on Mar 8th, 2023 at 4:24pm

AncientCraftwork wrote on Mar 7th, 2023 at 5:04am:

thabaill wrote on Mar 6th, 2023 at 8:30pm:
I agree. The key is to make the sling in such way you can throw stones of a reasonable big size. Not only lead bullets which are usually considerably smaller than the stones used for a sling.

But I think it would fit the description translated by Livy of the sling used by teh Achaeans. As sadly the original one given by Polybius is lost.

I also thought at first of a different design when I read Livy. But I must make one and test if it works. I think the problem is that the stone or sling bullet in a single strap sling rolls on the release string and get a marked Magnus effect and also lose speed due to friction. So we must look for a design that avoid such Magnus effect or get a little rifling spin, and or also avoid most, if not all, the friction on the release string.


I've experimented with such designs as you are talking of above and personally had no luck with them.
There is a very simple way to reduce the magnus effect with conventional slings, without having a slip-through pouch y-sling, which is simply increasing flexibility of the sling pouch, so that it opens more easily, and by reducing the weight, size and thickness of the releasing cord. A light and efficient conventional sling with thin round flexible cords and a lightweight flexible leather pouch is a world of difference compared to slinging with a thick leather strap or belt or a sling with heavy stiff cords.

The downside of these slings is that they don't make good selling. It means that the simple slings that can be made in 5 minutes with some scrap leather and bits of string out perform the ones that take 40 hours to braid. And a lot of us have invested so much time in perfecting those braiding skills. And a thick beefy sling looks more powerful and aesthetic and makes a big noise. But the opposite is true regarding power in my experience.

Going slimmer and slimmer has its limit too, due to durability issues and tangling issues. I am finding that around 2-3mm round braids to be the optimal for my type of slinging. There are some including me who experimented with stiff retention cords and very light release cords to control the pouch angle. Or stiff retention and release lines and flat braids, But I am discovering that this is fighting the machine. A sling gets its strength from rotation. Let the sling be a sling. And, no such design elements such as stiff cords and flat braids are required to control the pouch angle either. Here is where reloading without overly twisted cords, and proper utilization of technique and the wrist (not too much, not too little.) comes into play.


You are completely right. Any fast made sling with a piece of leather and two stings works perfectly. But I would like to experiment and solve the mystery  ;D


Title: Re: Achaean sling
Post by thabaill on Mar 26th, 2023 at 6:13am
I wonder how ancient Greek slings were made.

I remember I have read here they used braided wool.

Et est non simplicis habenae, ut Baliarica aliarumque gentium funda, sed triplex scutale, crebris suturis duratum, ne fluxa habena volutetur in iactu glans, sed librata cum sederit, velut nervo missa excutiatur.

This is a Google translation

And it is not of a simple band, like the sling of the Balearics and other nations, but of a triple scutum, hardened by frequent stitches, so that the loose band does not roll about in the throwing of a bullet, but when it sits balanced, it shakes like a mass of strings.

What I understand from this is that the pouch for the stone was made of three bands or braids. Like a Phi sling. But if you sew them to form a flat wider spot it actually wouldn't be different from any other common sling.

So a possible interpretation of the text is that they made something like a rail or channel when they sewed the "triplex scutale" where the stone could be placed along instead crossed sideways like in most slings.

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