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Diverse History of the Sling (Read 691 times)
Chris
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Diverse History of the Sling
Sep 7th, 2004 at 10:52pm
 
Just pulled some relevant information off of this page:
http://ejmas.com/kronos/NewHist0000-0499.htm

About 30,000 years ago:

Slings (or perhaps spear-throwers) appear in Iberia. Whichever they were (the two surviving artifacts are simply stag antlers carved in the shape of horses’ heads), they are early examples of compound weapons. (A compound weapon is, quite simply, one with parts.)

About 3000 BCE:

A limestone plaque from a Sumerian site called Nintu Temple VI show pairs of belted wrestlers, while a bronze cup or vase shows two standing wrestlers struggling for control. The wrestling was probably used for ritual purposes, as Sumerian soldiers normally waged war using slings, spears, and lances. (While bows-and-arrows existed, they were used mainly for hunting.)


About 2350 BCE:

Sharru-kin’s army consisted of a core of nine battalions stationed near Akad (Agade) supported by militia raised as the situation required. Akkadian regulars wore cloth kilts, leather jackets, and copper helmets, and were equipped with single-curved composite bows, bronze-tipped spears, and copper axes and knives. Around town, they also carried shields and rode chariots. The regulars left these chariots at home during rural campaigns, as the four-wheeled contraptions lacked suspensions and would have fallen apart if maneuvered at speed in rocky country. The Akkadian militiamen, meanwhile, wore sheepskin kilts, and were equipped with self-bows, wooden spears, and slings. They were paid in bread and beer, and their leaders were known as "cup-bearers."

About 1350 BCE:

Rock-throwing slings appear in Egypt funerary supplies. These slings were several feet long and were made of plaited linen. Their purpose was probably to scare birds from heavenly fields, as the story of David and Goliath notwithstanding, the military use of slings in the region was militarily uncommon until the seventh century BCE. The advent of military slings was owed in part to the development of aerodynamically efficient missiles made of cast lead. The weight of these projectiles was typically a couple of ounces, or 20 to 50 grams. Effective range was around 200 yards, while maximum range was around 400. Rhodians and Balearic Islanders were particularly famous for their skill with slings.

About 1015 BCE:

According to I Samuel 17:21-58, a Hebrew shepherd named David uses five stones and a sling to slay a Philistine named Goliath. David’s weapon may have been similar to the Palestinian tribal slings of the 1930s, which were about 30 inches long and made from woven wool. The slinger hooked his right forefinger through a loop while holding the other end with his finger, and then wound the sling as if it were the propeller on a rubber-powered airplane. With a two-ounce projectile, maximum range was about 200 yards, and effective range was about 60. The general belief that Goliath was a giant is probably owed to confusion with I Chronicles 11:22-23, where Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, slew an Egyptian who was seven and a half feet tall using the Egyptian’s own spear. II Samuel 21:19 adds that Goliath carried a spear "like unto a weaver’s beam. " However, this was Goliath the Gittite, and his killer was Elhanan, son of Jarre-Oregim. Goliath the Gittite’s unusual weapon may have been a sling-launched javelin. (Although sling-launched javelins were unusual in Judea, they were used in Thessaly and there were Hellenic mercenaries throughout the Mediterranean world.) Maximum range for sling-launched javelins is over 200 yards, but due to the size of the projectile, effective range was about 30.

337 BCE:

The Carthaginians introduce Balearic and Rhodian slingers into their armies. The slingers’ weapons consisted of a small pouch attached to two strips of sinew about 18 inches long. The slingers whirled these strips about their heads once, and then released one of the two strips of sinew. While rocks could be fired, prepared projectiles included metal darts and the small lead balls that the Normans called boulettes. Maximum range was about 200 yards. Inside 20 yards, they could kill deer or unarmored men. Nevertheless, slings (and bows, for that matter) were disliked by most aristocratic officers, probably because they were the tools of farmers and goatherds instead of the tools of heroes.

About 1438:


By gradually conquering his neighbors, the Ninth Inca, known as Pachakuti ("The Transformer"), makes the Cuzqueño culture the dominant culture of south-central Peru. (The word inka is a Quechua word meaning "sovereign" or "aristocrat." Inca is its Spanish spelling.) Pachakuti’s army was a national levy based on age-sets. Its conscripts found themselves working on public works more often than they found themselves fighting. Whether working or fighting, the conscripts were lead by a cadre of professional soldiers, and organized into groups of tens, hundreds, and thousands. Military training included participation in royal hunts and free-for-all fights. There were also martial dances. Different social classes had different martial dances. During the aristocratic dances, for instance, the men passed a gold chain from hand-to-hand, while during the common dances, the men hopped and jumped. Inca hand-held weapons included copper-headed spears, stone-headed maces, and wooden clubs lined with flint or cold-hammered tin bronze. Ranged weapons included bows, slings, spear-throwers, and bolas. The latter were made of three stone balls joined by a cord. There were one and two ball variants of these weapons, with two balls used for bringing down small game, and one ball used during duels. Engineers used avalanches to disrupt or destroy armies on the move, and built stout masonry walls. Other physical defenses included llama-hide tunics stuffed with cotton batting, leather helmets, and wickerwork shields. Magical defenses, meanwhile, included witchcraft, prayer, and blood sacrifices. While llamas were the usual sacrificial victims, people were sometimes sacrificed on special occasions. Although the Incas had no writing, their communications were excellent. Messages were sent using knotted cords or tapestries. Post-runners carried these messages at an average rate of over six miles an hour, no mean feat in a land where the altitudes range from 11,000 to 14,000 feet.

About 1440:


A Central Mexican priest named Tlacaelel popularizes the belief that the sun god would die unless he received a regular ration of human blood. This provides the ideology behind the Mexica-Tenochitlan, or Aztec, state. The Aztecs organized their armies in units of twenty. (Mexican mathematicians used base-twenty.) Twenty soldiers made a squad; twenty squads made a tiachcauh, or battalion; and twenty battalions made a xiquipile, or division. Their commanders and elite units were known as Eagle or Jaguar Knights, after their clan totems. All warriors normally painted their faces black, or a mottled red-and-white pattern, before battle. Aztec weapons included wooden swords edged with obsidian flakes that were sharper than Spanish steel, plus spear-throwers, bows and arrows, and slings. Their defenses included wooden helmets, hide-covered shields painted with clan totems, and knee-length tunics made of quilted cotton hardened by soaking in brine. (Many conquistadors also chose to wear this quilted armor after finding it was more comfortable than iron armor during hot weather.) Still, the Aztecs’ most potent weapon was the fear that their bloodthirsty rituals caused. The failure of these rituals to scare the Spanish out of their wits was one reason for the Aztec government’s fatalistic response to Hernán Cortés and his sixteenth century conquistadors.

While searching for gold in New Mexico (but finding mostly dust, corn, and beans), Spanish soldiers serving under Francisco Vásquez de Coronado fight the first recorded military action in the American Southwest. The Spanish won these and most prior fights. This is hardly surprising, since the conquistadors had swords, crossbows, arquebuses, and horses, while the Zunis and Hopis only had stone-throwing slings, wooden clubs, and self-bows. Nevertheless, the climate and terrain of the American desert usually equaled the odds considerably, and the most successful Spanish military tactic involved inviting the Indians to parley, then shooting them down with crossbows.

Chris
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lobohunter
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where be a rock and a
string there be a sling

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Re: Diverse History of the Sling
Reply #1 - Sep 8th, 2004 at 2:14am
 
wow chris great history lay out do mind if I copy and paste this for my own refernce
I really enjoyed the american refernces. I am wondering about absence of the romans?
any way thanks a lot chris this is a terrific site I have been looking for a site like this for years
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Re: Diverse History of the Sling
Reply #2 - Sep 8th, 2004 at 4:34am
 
I liked the Meso-America set parts.  The Spanish fights with the Hopi, Zuni, etc were mostly one sided because of the peaceful nature of the Pueblos - they never fought each other, and when the Apache began stealing their crops, they began their first war - and in that war, the "warriors" (mostly farmers) used hunting implements to kill the enemy because they had no specialised weapons, and they took four hairs from the head of every enemy killed as a ceremonial scalp.  For every enemy killed, the "warrior" had to undergo a 16-day fast in a sweat lodge.  So the Pueblo were hardly trained or willing to go to war.  And this is mostly the reason why I never empathise with the Conquistadors.
  I was wondering why there is confusion over whether the objects of 30,000 YA are slings or spear throwers.  I would have thought they would be different objects altogether.
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Re: Diverse History of the Sling
Reply #3 - Sep 8th, 2004 at 7:05am
 
"I Samuel 21:19 adds that Goliath carried a spear "like unto a weaver’s beam. " However, this was Goliath the Gittite, and his killer was Elhanan, son of Jarre-Oregim."

This is incorrect, Goliath had 4 brothers, you can read about the account in 2 Samuel 21:15-22 and 1 Chronicles 20: 1-8. "and Elhanan the son of Jair struck down Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam."

It is clear that David killed Goliath(1 Samuel 17), and Elhanan killed Lahmi, the brother of Goliath(1 Chronicles 20:5).

These are the Giants:
Ishbi-Benob    (killed by Abishai)
Saph      (killed by Sibbecai)
Lahmi    (killed by Elhanan)
6 fingered/toed giant(no name)    (killed by Jonathan,David's brother)
Goliath   (killed by David)

David collected 5 rocks, not only to deal with Goliath, but also his brothers!
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