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Not original but looking good in a show.
Is that lead weight, a foam ball? Or a tennis ball perhaps? Do they bounce when they hit the ground? Smile
It's a wooden ball, but if it lands on its rubber tip it bounces alright. Big Grin
They are becoming extremely popular over here, all the Roman groups in The Netherlands like to 'play' with them during events. especially kids love to pelt us with them. :wink:
Quote: Most interesting, and thanks, Robert......given that my mother's family come from that part of the world, and the proclivity of boys to pass on their games to the next generation, that may explain where the tradition came from....
The launch technique is identical, though our effective "launch length" for the string was 18-20" inches. The arrows themselves, as mentioned, were modified commercial arrows, rather than the specialised, long, unflighted, tapering arrows shown.
That would explain a lot! Yes, of course your differed from the one shown, but these were developed from what I read was a very developed sport.

Quote:But we digress - whilst the idea of amentum aided plumbata is attractive, it would seem that a more than adequate range could be achieved without it.
Indeed! Are you familiar with the cestospendon?

Quote: The number carried was probably significant ( why not two?why not ten? )
My guess is that the number corresponds to the number a trained soldier could get off in the time it took a charging foe to cross the 'fire zone' and I'd assume enemy infantry here and I'd futher guess that both underarm and overarm techniques were used - overarm lends itself to'point blank' deliveries, and launching over ranks in front and the impression gained from re-enactors seems to be that most achieve max range with an underarm throw.
You may well be right, we just don't know yet. I made a contraption where 5 fitted on the right side of my scutum - my guess was that it would be hard or imposssible to draw 5 on the left side, where the shield arm blocks retrieving them easily.
My other guess was and is that front troops left them before battle was joined, so that they formed a supply for the ranks 5-8, who would throw them over the head of the first 4 ranks.

Quote: Is this consistent with re-enactors experiences, or are my guesses way off-track ?
That depends - if you stick them in the ground your rate of fire will be higher than when they are still 'inside the shield'.
Quote:Indeed! Are you familiar with the cestospendon?
I take it you mean the weapon referred to in Livy and the lexicographer, Suidas( and reputedly drawn from Polybius ). This weapon was two palms long (15cm) attached to a shaft half a cubit long(23cm) and a finger thick, with three short flights - rather akin to catapult bolts.
The reconstruction in the link, was most interesting - thank you very much - but seems to re-inforce the view ( judging by the somewhat unimpressive results ) that the kestros was more likely to be launched by the more powerful staff sling.
I'm amazed that the thing could be got to work at all!
Quote:You may well be right, we just don't know yet
. Surely an easy experiment - work from your best range - get some properly equipped troops to "charge" across the distance to give a rough timescale and crosscheck against how long to discharge five plumbata, probably from having them in the ground in front ( this was also practised by mediaeval english longbowmen) - a bit rough and ready but should give something like the right order of magnitude.
I have some doubts about the use or efffectiveness of rear ranks throwing overhead once battle is joined - the range would just seem too close ( c.f the vietcong tactic of minimising artillery/mortar/air-support by "grasping the enemy by the belt buckle"-different range, same principle ). On the other hand, Alexander evidently thought that replacing some of the middle ranks of the pike phalanx with missile troops would be a good thing . Of course we don't know if that was intended for close combat , or to give the phalanx some flexibility and long range 'combat power'......ah, one can speculate endlessly, which of course is what keeps RAT going ...! Big Grin [/quote]
Good morning,

I can think of no contemporary illustrations of archers sticking their arrows in the ground. Lying them on the ground, yes. With warheads often just pushed on, sticking your arrow in the ground could actually remove the bodkin.

I used to place plumbata high on the right of the shield. But such a method needed strapping of which we have archaeological or pictorial evidence), subjected the darts to possible damage when the shield was struck, limited my carrying capacity and unbalanced the shield.

Maurice mentions placing them in buckets which has made me believe that darts came in small buckets, quivers or just bags. These could be tied or carried attached to the shield handle. Such a system would require no straps, or leave any trace. You can carry reasonable numbers, jettison them when you have to, and center the weight in the middle of the shield so you don't disrupt the balance of the shield. When you pass them forward to the front rank you can pass the bucket in one go, rather than passing one dart at a time. You can carry a bucket easily and during combat without fear of the darts being damaged. Such a system works for darts of varying sizes. Blunt darts always seem to vary in length and weight depending which group member has made them. But they all fit in a bucket. You can't always rely on throwing them all before combat is joined, and anyway a dart in the teeth of your opponent makes a nice close quarter option.

This is of course supposition, but at least based on written evidence.

People carry them in both ways in Comitatus, we are not proscriptive. But the bucket system is catching on!
Quote:.... subjected the darts to possible damage when the shield was struck, ....

.... You can't always rely on throwing them all before combat is joined, and anyway a dart in the teeth of your opponent makes a nice close quarter option.
.....
People carry them in both ways in Comitatus, we are not proscriptive. But the bucket system is catching on!

I'd think that damage to the darts once the lines clashed would be one of the least concerns to front liners. If you didn't get them tossed before it came to the sword ..... well, who cares, it's come to the sword!

Still, ignoring that one little detail, I think the quiver/bucket idea does carry some merit. Has the group done any testing on speed of deployment? Would be interesting to know if one method allowed them rain upon the enemy faster.
A quiver a least has to have a bottom which is strong thick enough so that the points don't go through the bottom .
Example:
Cloth quiver with multi layer or thick leather bottom.
Leather quiver with thick leather or wooden bottom.
Fast detachable from belt or shield so that it is not in the way before reaching for the sword.
Bucket, could also be a wicker basket.

These darts are also usable from horseback.
We tried that last year in a training for a show , went well .
After a few test runs the target was hit with a fairly good score.
Darts were held in the left hand, combined with the reins.
Speed of throwing:
Depends on what you want, scaring or hitting the opponent
Quote: I used to place plumbata high on the right of the shield. But such a method needed strapping of which we have archaeological or pictorial evidence), subjected the darts to possible damage when the shield was struck, limited my carrying capacity and unbalanced the shield.
This is partly why I think that this was just a method of each soldier carrying 5 into battle, but not necessarily using them 'from the shield'. Maurice never mentions that.
Of course we have no archaeological evidence for the 'strap-on-shield' method, but that not entirely fair as we have justa very few shields from that period to begin with! :wink:

Quote:Maurice mentions placing them in buckets which has made me believe that darts came in small buckets, quivers or just bags.
I discussed this with Philip Rance, who is finishing the latest edition of The Strategikon, and he agrees with me that the wording most probably refers to quivers.

Quote:These could be tied or carried attached to the shield handle. Such a system would require no straps, or leave any trace. You can carry reasonable numbers, jettison them when you have to, and center the weight in the middle of the shield so you don't disrupt the balance of the shield.
Posssibly, but then the plumbatae would be fairly short? Are you still thinking of just 5 here? My quiver is for longer plumbatae (but I'm beginning to think that shorter ones may be better), and I can carry 10 to 15 of them.

Quote:When you pass them forward to the front rank you can pass the bucket in one go, rather than passing one dart at a time. You can carry a bucket easily and during combat without fear of the darts being damaged. Such a system works for darts of varying sizes. Blunt darts always seem to vary in length and weight depending which group member has made them. But they all fit in a bucket. You can't always rely on throwing them all before combat is joined, and anyway a dart in the teeth of your opponent makes a nice close quarter option.
I still think that throwing them from the front is possible, but that this can be done only when a) the fight is still some time away and b) when you have ample space behind you. But it's possible.
I think that it were the back files that threw plumbatae over the heads of their comrades when these had become engaged in earnest.

Quote:This is of course supposition, but at least based on written evidence.
What is based on written evidence exactly? Not all of the above, I'm sure. :wink:

Quote:People carry them in both ways in Comitatus, we are not proscriptive. But the bucket system is catching on!
Could you please show us some pictures of how that system works?
Quote: Leather quiver with thick leather or wooden bottom.
Oh yes, mine is.

Quote: These darts are also usable from horseback.
We tried that last year in a training for a show , went well
I don't doubt that they are usable from horseback. Only, do we actually have a source for that? Vegetius nor Maurice actually mantion that, and one spurious quote (supposedly from Prociopius) has eluded me until now! :evil:
I'm following this thread with much interest, and I thought I might throw in some minor points.
There is evidence for the use of quiver/buckets going back much earlier than Maurice.
The well known tombstone of Aurelius Mucianus( third century,Apamea,Syria), a trainee lanciarius of Legio 2 Parthica, depicts him with oval shield and what appear to be 5 or more Lancea (short spear/javelin weapons which could be thrown or used hand to hand thrusting).
The lancea are contained in a bucket/quiver.
In the 1st century A.D Josephus refers to Auxiliary cavalry armed with spear and a quiver of darts/javelins attached to the saddle.
In the early 2nd century, Arrian describes cavalry exercises in which up to 20 darts/javelins are discharged in a single run, which again implies use of a quiver/bucket.
All of this makes later use of quiver/buckets by both infantry and cavalry plausible, and maybe probable.......
Oh, I'm not saying that buckets or bags could not be used - far from it! Indeed, we know they were used for javelins.
Good afternoon,

I fear my head is spinning from a great weekend of filming. I'm doing a DVD on the late Roman army and this weekend Comitatus reconstructed scenes I've only dreamed about. It was brilliant and everybody worked very hard to make it come true.

Anyway, the rate of resupply using dart quivers is far better than passing darts forward individually. Darts can be used underarm at distance and overarm at close range, so all ranks in the formation get to use them at some time. The front ranks use them at close range with an overarm throw using a straight arm. This gives power to the throw. I suspect there is still an article on www.comitatus.net which may give more information.

I don't feel our pedes care if they fight with darts inside shield or not. But if the darts get broken during combat, our file leaders will beat them senseless. Darts strapped to the inside of shields are liable to breakage.

I do favour short relatively heavy darts. You can use them in different ways at different ranges. The quivers generally have a layer of wood in the base. We've used them from horseback for the past three years. I like to attach the quiver to the front of the saddle. The darts can be delivered with great power and force from the back of a horse. But there are no references to darts been used on horseback in Late Antiquity. I was mislead by a fake reference in Procopius. (so you can stop looking now Robert!)

I will one day try posting pictures on RAT. But really we are only talking about a leather bucket/quiver with a hop or two to tie it on a shield handle,/a saddle etc. Frankly I give little consideration to the number carried by this method. I suspect it depends how many are available, and how strong you are. I've carried a bag of around twenty with rubber heads, but normally just take whatever I'm given. However I would complain if I only got five!
Quote: I'm doing a DVD on the late Roman army and this weekend Comitatus reconstructed scenes I've only dreamed about. It was brilliant and everybody worked very hard to make it come true.
I'm drolling when i read that.. Will it be only for internal use or is there a chance the rest of us can get to see it? Please? PLEASE?

Quote:Anyway, the rate of resupply using dart quivers is far better than passing darts forward individually. Darts can be used underarm at distance and overarm at close range, so all ranks in the formation get to use them at some time. The front ranks use them at close range with an overarm throw using a straight arm. This gives power to the throw. I suspect there is still an article on www.comitatus.net which may give more information.
Yes there is: http://www.comitatus.net/plumbata.htm

Quote:I don't feel our pedes care if they fight with darts inside shield or not. But if the darts get broken during combat, our file leaders will beat them senseless. Darts strapped to the inside of shields are liable to breakage.But there are no references to darts been used on horseback in Late Antiquity. I was mislead by a fake reference in Procopius. (so you can stop looking now Robert!)
OK. Too bad, really.
Quote:
John Conyard:1t5jryz0 Wrote:I'm doing a DVD on the late Roman army and this weekend Comitatus reconstructed scenes I've only dreamed about. It was brilliant and everybody worked very hard to make it come true.
I'm drolling when i read that.. Will it be only for internal use or is there a chance the rest of us can get to see it? Please? PLEASE?

I don't think it's for internal use (but I could be completely wrong) only, so there might be a chance of getting it, if you do, look out for the new recruit, thats me Big Grin
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