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Staff Slings? (Read 11236 times)
David Morningstar
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #15 - Jun 22nd, 2009 at 10:27am
 
I am not aware of any staff slings that predate the Romans.
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slingbadger
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #16 - Jun 23rd, 2009 at 5:53am
 
The Anabasis of Xenophon, where he is fighting the ancient Persians has the slingstaff being used in warfare.
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #17 - Jun 23rd, 2009 at 6:47am
 
slingbadger wrote on Jun 23rd, 2009 at 5:53am:
The Anabasis of Xenophon, where he is fighting the ancient Persians has the slingstaff being used in warfare.


Excellent Mr Badger, any idea what year that was? I think I am going to have to buy a copy of his writings to save asking questions on here to better read folks.
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David Morningstar
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #18 - Jun 23rd, 2009 at 7:03am
 
I have had a good search through the Anabasis and not found any staff slings....
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Thearos
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #19 - Jun 23rd, 2009 at 9:49am
 
No, there are no staff slings in the Anabasis (only Rhodian slingers, Persian slingers, etc).


Y. Garlan  has proposed, cautiously, to see a representation of a staff sling in a cup dating ca. 550 BC:

Garlan Y. - Études d'histoire militaire et diplomatique, VII & VIII. BCH 1970 XCIV : 625-635. • VII : La coupe à lèvres du Musée de Florence attribuée au peintre des Centaures ne figure pas comme l'a supposé F. Villard (cf. APh XXIV 345, 2 titre) un éphèbe courant, une besace et une massue à la main, mais un frondeur portant une fronde à bâton et un sac à projectiles. Nous aurions là le témoignage le plus ancien de cet instrument.

http://cefael.efa.gr/detail.php?site_id=1&actionID=page&serie_id=BCH&volume_numb...


The link gives you a picture (if you click through the whole article)-- also some nice pictures of slings by Leonardo da Vinci
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #20 - Jun 23rd, 2009 at 10:40am
 
Thearos wrote on Jun 23rd, 2009 at 9:49am:
No, there are no staff slings in the Anabasis (only Rhodian slingers, Persian slingers, etc).


Y. Garlan  has proposed, cautiously, to see a representation of a staff sling in a cup dating ca. 550 BC:

Garlan Y. - Études d'histoire militaire et diplomatique, VII & VIII. BCH 1970 XCIV : 625-635. • VII : La coupe à lèvres du Musée de Florence attribuée au peintre des Centaures ne figure pas comme l'a supposé F. Villard (cf. APh XXIV 345, 2 titre) un éphèbe courant, une besace et une massue à la main, mais un frondeur portant une fronde à bâton et un sac à projectiles. Nous aurions là le témoignage le plus ancien de cet instrument.

http://cefael.efa.gr/detail.php?site_id=1&actionID=page&serie_id=BCH&volume_numb...


The link gives you a picture (if you click through the whole article)-- also some nice pictures of slings by Leonardo da Vinci



Thanks for the find. Surely worth a discussion of its own.

Garlan's interpretation does not seem convincing to me. He gets caught by himself in his argumentation:

The weapon cannot be a club (or a whip) because it does not look like one and does not have the proper dimensions. It may be a staff sling. Well, it lacks the pouch that connects the two cords, and it does not have other staff sling characteristics, but that may be due to the fact that the picture was probably not copied from real life but from an "iconographic model" which may not have had any similarity with the real thing (a staff sling) anymore.

Based on an argumentation like this, the item could be anything, from a staff sling to a giant carrot.

To me, it looks like a scourge. Considering the vessel in the left hand of the person, it might also be a ritual object, maybe something like an aspergillum (did the Greeks use something like that?).
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Ferrugo numquam dormit.&&(Nigellus Iuvenis)&&&&

Noch weiz ich an im mere daz mir ist bekant
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slingbadger
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #21 - Jun 23rd, 2009 at 3:18pm
 
ANABASIS OF XENOPHON  Book III chpr14


   Slingstaffers are those that cast stones from slingstaffs. The staff is a pole, 4 feet long, attached to the middle is a sling of leather, which operated in both hands, almost like a mangonel

    Anabasis of Xenophon  Edward Spelman, trans. 1893.

 The actions of the Anabasis occurred around 401 BC.
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The greatest of all the accomplishments of 20th cent. science has been the discovery of human ignorance  The main difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has it's limits.-Einstein   I'm getting psychic as I get older. Or is that psychotic?
 
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David Morningstar
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #22 - Jun 23rd, 2009 at 3:40pm
 
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=IhQOAAAAYAAJ&dq=Anabasis+of+Xenophon+Edward+S...

I cant find the staff slings, or a Book III Chapter 14.
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Thearos
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #23 - Jun 23rd, 2009 at 6:08pm
 
That quote cannot be from Xenophon's Anabasis-- for one thing, he would not have said "like a mangonel" (not a Greek word). I've read the Anabasis in Greek several times, and can vouch that there is no mention of a staff sling. (The first known mention of a lead sling bullet does turn up there in Book 3— I copy the passage below)

Also: there is no Book 3, chapter 14: the usual way of quoting Xen. Anabasis is book, chapter, and section.

Finally: this quote reads like someone's commentary on a text.


After this, they breakfasted and crossed the river Zapatas, marching in regular order, with the beasts and mob of the army in the middle. They had not advanced far on their route when Mithridates made his appearance again, with about a couple of hundred horsemen at his back, and bowmen and slingers twice as many, as nimble fellows as a man might hope to see. He approached the Hellenes as if he were friendly; but when they had got fairly to close quarters, all of a sudden some of them, whether mounted or on foot, began shooting with their bows and arrows, and another set with slings, wounding the men. The rearguard of the Hellenes suffered for a while severely without being able to retaliate, for the Cretans had a shorter range than the Persians, and at the same time, being light-armed troops, they lay cooped up within the ranks of the heavy infantry, while the javelin men again did not shoot far enough to reach the enemy's slingers. This being so, Xenophon thought there was nothing for it but to charge, and charge they did; some of the heavy and light infantry, who were guarding the rear, with him; but for all their charging they did not catch a single man.
The dearth of cavalry told against the Hellenes; nor were their infantry able to overhaul the enemy's infantry, with the long start they had, and considering the shortness of the race, for it was out of the question to pursue them far from the main body of the army. On the 10 other hand, the Asiatic cavalry, even while fleeing, poured volleys of arrows behind their backs, and wounded the pursuers; while the Hellenes must fall back fighting every step of the way they had measured in the pursuit; so that by the end of that day they had not gone much more than three miles; but in the late afternoon they reached the villages.
Here there was a return of the old despondency. Cheirisophus and the eldest of the generals blamed Xenophon for leaving the main body to give chase and endangering himself thereby, while he could not damage the enemy one whit the more. Xenophon admitted that they were right in blaming him: no better proof of that was wanted than the result. "The fact is," he added, "I was driven to pursue; it was too trying to look on and see our men suffer so badly, and be unable to retaliate. However, when we did charge, there is no denying the truth of what you say; we were not a whit more able to injure the enemy, while we had considerable difficulty in beating a retreat ourselves. Thank heaven they did not come upon us in any great force, but were only a handful of men; so that the injury they did us was not large, as it might have been; and at least it has served to show us what we need. At present the enemy shoot and sling beyond our range, so that our Cretan archers are no match for them; our hand-throwers cannot reach as far; and when we pursue, it is not possible to push the pursuit to any great distance from the main body, and within the short distance no foot-soldier, however fleet of foot, could overtake another foot-soldier who has a bow-shot the start of him. If, then, we are to exclude them from all possibility of injuring us as we march, we must get slingers as soon as possible and cavalry. I am told there are in the army some Rhodians, most of whom, they say, know how to sling, and their missile will reach even twice as far as the Persian slings (which, on account of their being loaded with stones as big as one's fist, have a comparatively short range; but the Rhodians are skilled in the use of leaden bullets[2]). Suppose, then, we investigate and 18 find out first of all who among them possess slings, and for these slings offer the owner the money value; and to another, who will plait some more, hand over the money price; and for a third, who will volunteer to be enrolled as a slinger, invent some other sort of privilege, I think we shall soon find people to come forward capable of helping us. There are horses in the army I know; some few with myself, others belonging to Clearchus's stud, and a good many others captured from the enemy, used for carrying baggage. Let us take the pick of these, supplying their places by ordinary baggage animals, and equipping the horses for cavalry. I should not wonder if our troopers gave some annoyance to these fugitives."
These proposals were carried, and that night two hundred slingers were enrolled, and next day as many as fifty horse and horsemen passed muster as duly qualified; buff jackets and cuirasses were provided for them, and a commandant of cavalry appointed to command--Lycius, the son of Polystratus, by name, an Athenian.

IV] That day they remained inactive, but the next they rose earlier than 1 usual, and set out betimes, for they had a ravine to cross, where they feared the enemy might attack them in the act of crossing. When they were across, Mithridates appeared again with one thousand horse, and archers and slingers to the number of four thousand. This whole body he had got by request from Tissaphernes, and in return he undertook to deliver up the Hellenes to Tissaphernes. He had grown contemptuous since his late attack, when, with so small a detachment, he had done, as he thought, a good deal of mischief, without the slightest loss to himself.
When the Hellenes were not only right across, but had got about a mile from the ravine, Mithridates also crossed with his forces. An order had been passed down the lines, what light infantry and what heavy infantry were to take part in the pursuit; and the cavalry were instructed to follow up the pursuit with confidence, as a considerable 3 support was in their rear. So, when Mithridates had come up with them, and they were well within arrow and sling shot, the bugle sounded the signal to the Hellenes; and immediately the detachment under orders rushed to close quarters, and the cavalry charged. There the enemy preferred not to wait, but fled towards the ravine. In this pursuit the Asiatics lost several of their infantry killed, and of their cavalry as many as eighteen were taken prisoners in the ravine. As to those who were slain the Hellenes, acting upon impulse, mutilated their bodies, by way of impressing their enemy with as frightful an image as possible.
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Thearos
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #24 - Jun 23rd, 2009 at 6:14pm
 
Fundibularius-- Actually, I'm not convinced either by Garlan. I think a club with ribbons at the end; and the "handbag" is some kind of basket. It just doesn't look like a staff sling-- though interesting idea.
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #25 - Jun 24th, 2009 at 5:45am
 
Yes, it is, and the question remains if the staff sling existed somewhere sometime before the Romans. I tend to believe that it did, and that the Romans incorporated it and integrated it at large scale into their military system (like so many other things), as they generally were masters in adapting technology, not so much in inventing.

Just another wild guess: Staff slings are very practical for naval warfare and sieges, right? Could it be that the Romans adapted the weapon during the First Punic War from their enemy (like a lot of other marine technology)? I'm sure the Carthaginians as a sea power must have known about the advantages of a fustibal in a naval battle.
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Ferrugo numquam dormit.&&(Nigellus Iuvenis)&&&&

Noch weiz ich an im mere daz mir ist bekant
einen lintrachen  slouch des heledes hant
do badet er in dem blvote  des ist der helt gemeit
von also vester hvte  daz in nie wafen sit versneit.
 
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Thearos
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #26 - Jun 24th, 2009 at 6:34am
 
What is the advantage of the staff sling over the simple sling ? I think (correct me !) that it's not range, it's size of projectile. So it's not of great use for peaceful uses of the sling (herding, hunting), and specifically needed for warfare. I also assume that it's not so great for accuracy, just good for hurling large smashing stones at 600 ft / 180 m or so.

What is the contex where that is useful ?

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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #27 - Jun 24th, 2009 at 7:14am
 
Thearos wrote on Jun 24th, 2009 at 6:34am:
What is the advantage of the staff sling over the simple sling ? I think (correct me !) that it's not range, it's size of projectile.


And its nature. It is less dangerous for the user to sling firy, poisonous or acid substances. At least I think so...

I agree. It only makes use in warfare, if we skip the hypothetical possibilities of entertainment (some kind of "fireworks") or a mailing system  Wink.
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Ferrugo numquam dormit.&&(Nigellus Iuvenis)&&&&

Noch weiz ich an im mere daz mir ist bekant
einen lintrachen  slouch des heledes hant
do badet er in dem blvote  des ist der helt gemeit
von also vester hvte  daz in nie wafen sit versneit.
 
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Thearos
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #28 - Jun 24th, 2009 at 7:51am
 
Actually, maybe it is quite accurate-- no problem of horizontal dispersal of shot, just a big lunking hurl towards the target, using the whole body to point-- not more difficult than hitting a log with an axe (I assume that it's both hands-- the Garlan vase would also show single handed staff slinging, I suppose possible but haven't seen it)
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David Morningstar
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Re: Staff Slings?
Reply #29 - Jun 24th, 2009 at 8:20am
 
Its biggest advantage is that it is very easy to make and use. It is a good weapon for unskilled fighters like civilian siege defenders and sailors.
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