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Brennius, reportedly, they could be thrown with a sling about 300-400 meters, much like a lead sling bullet. That's pretty much a good reason, don't you reckon? Anyway, the Greeks did it with a very similar weapon. Just looking for that picture.
Quote:they could be thrown with a sling about 300-400 meters, much like a lead sling bullet. That's pretty much a good reason, don't you reckon? Anyway, the Greeks did it with a very similar weapon. Just looking for that picture

David, the only weapon I know that fits that description is the kestrosphendone or kestros, a Hellenistic sling-type weapon used to throw short darts with a metal head about two palms ( 6"/ 15 cm) attached to a wooden shaft half a cubit (9"/23 cm ) long (like a pilum)and about a finger thick. It had three short wooden flights. It is described in detail by Livy, who records them being used against the Romans by Perseus of Macedon's troops, but it is uncertain if the weapon was a hand-sling or staff-sling. IIRC Robert/Valerius/Vortigern Studies posted a picture some months ago.......
Thanks, that's probaby the picture I'm looking for. I'll search for it by the Greek name.
I've experimented with different lengths and weights, and opt for short heavy darts. These can be thrown by a staff sling, but I've only managed to get around 20m extra, a total distance of around 110m. I admit I've stopped using the staff sling method.

I fuller explanation is on www.comitatus.net
I found the illustration. It was hiding right here all the time.
http://www.romanarmy.com/rat/viewtopic. ... ht=kestros
Hmmm, looks dodgy! Confusedhock: Thats one way to clear the field! :lol:
One of those babies in the neck could spoil your whole afternoon!
Yes that is different from a Plumbata,the Plumbata is ment to be throwen straight up in the air .It stalls then falls back to earth near vertical the missslie then increases speed and this is what gives it its punching power .In the heat of battle it is a sneaky weapon and I have read of excavation of bodies with the helmet still stuck on they head with one of these :twisted: it is a low vellocity weapon so it would be easy to defend youself against it if it came straight at you.However if you could use a sling with it I would sugest you fire it from high ground or high walls of a City,if it doesnt stall in the air and come down as discribed you would have been better of using a sling bullet .Next time I am playing with them Ill give it a try with a sling and report back .Thats if I dont do myself an injury :lol: :lol:
Regards Brennivs Big Grin
Quote:I have read of excavation of bodies with the helmet still stuck on they head with one of these

Do you recall where you read that? I never came across anything like that so far!
Not of the top of my head but it was an excavated body with nothing in it I recall just a guy with a plumbata stuck through it I think the boby was quickly buried . I think this could be a one day Ill come across it thing, but will post to you the reference I might come across it when I post my info on the subject .So you have got me thinking now :? hmm
Regards Brennivs Big Grin
Quote:So you have got me thinking now :? hmm
Regards Brennivs Big Grin
Good! Big Grin
Quote:Plumbata is ment to be throwen straight up in the air .It stalls then falls back to earth near vertical

I used to play indoor badminton. There's a corner shot just like what you describe, which I think with practice could be learned with the plumbata/sling also. Basically, you send the missile downrange with too steep of an angle to make a good arc, and when it runs out of forward momentum, it stalls, as you say, and drops. With badminton, hopefully just inside the boundary line, with a plumbata, hopefully just past the point that the troops would naturally follow its flight, expecting it to pass safely over. Hmm. Testudo, anyone?
Definately be deadly launched down from a wall! Confusedhock:
[size=200:34zxvfqg]Testing Plumbatae[/size]

[size=150:34zxvfqg]Test 1 – Veerse Dam, Zeeland, Saturday 20th October, 2007.[/size]
( http://maps.google.nl/maps?oe=UTF-8&hl= ... 203.639007 )
Future updates of this article can be read here: http://www.fectio.org.uk/articles/testplumbata.htm

[Image: plumbatae2007_9.jpg]
A picture of the testing site. :wink:

Plumbatae types:
Fectio I/II, Len Morgan I/II, Deepeeka I/II.
All plumbatae are of the ‘Burgh Castle-Catterick’ tanged type and have barbed heads.
[Image: plumbatae2007_1.jpg]

FI came apart at the first throw and has been left of the test.
1 - F II:
Length: 63 cm (tip-tail), 51 cm (shaft), 10 cm (shaft behind stabilisers).
Weight: 240 g, 3 feather stabilisers of 7.5x1.5 cm.

LM I and II are nearly identical. For commercial purposes, the iron head continues into the wooden shaft, thereby making the missile more shock-resistant, but affecting the overall balance.
2 - LM I:
Length: 67 cm (tip-tail), 52 cm (shaft), 12 cm (shaft behind stabilisers).
Weight: 220 g, 4 leather stabilisers of 7x2 cm.

3 - LM II:
Length: 67 cm (tip-tail), 53 cm (shaft), 12 cm (shaft behind stabilisers).
Weight: 226 g, 4 leather stabilisers of 7x2 cm.

For commercial purposes the iron head continues far into the wooden shaft, thereby making the missile more shock-resistant, but severely affecting the overall balance. DP I has broad stabilisers, DP II has adapted smaller stabilisers to improve the overall distance.
4 - DP I:
Length: 52 cm (tip-tail), 35 cm (shaft), 9 cm (shaft behind stabilisers).
Weight: 274 g, 4 leather stabilisers of 7x4 cm.

5 - DP II:
Length: 52 cm (tip-tail), 35 cm (shaft), 9 cm (shaft behind stabilisers).
Weight: 268 g, 4 leather stabilisers of 7x2.5 cm.

(I have an original plumbatae (no shaft) that weighs 146 g, other recorded finds weigh between 40 and 180g - without the shafts, of course).

[Image: plumbatae2007_2.jpg]
I think the weather was exceptional for plumbatae testing!!
The main aim of the test was to see how far the Fectio plumbatae could be thrown against the Len Morgan and Deepeeka plumbatae, and also to see how the Deepeeka plumbatae behaved.
While the other pairs were identical, the Deepeeka plumbatae had different tails. I cut down the leather stabilisers of DP II to half the size of the original product, since these looked overly large.
No attempts were made to aim the plumbatae at a specific target; the tests were purely aimed at distance.
Tests were conducted on a flat beach with almost no wind.
Throwing was done in modern clothing and from a stationary position.

Test results:

Test 1.1 – underarm

Throw--F II---LM I---LM II--DP I---DP II
1-------15-----25-----30-----25-----25
2-------32.5---32.5---29.2---28.2--32.5
3-------39.5---26.1---29.0---11.1---27.5
4-------37.5---34.1---33.6---31.7---32.2
5-------40.8---39.9---38.1---33.2---37.1
6-------43.5---40.1---40.2---30.1---36.7
7-------44.6---40.3---40.2---30.5---34.8
8-------42.6---40.1---40.1---31.5---35.0
9-------39.5---40.0---40.7---32.4---32.3
10------38.9---41.1---37.0---32.3---31.1
11------34.6---41.7---42.8---32.4---33.8

Test 1.2 – overarm

Throw--F II---LM I---LM II--DP I---DP II
12------34.4---29.7---29.8---30.4---30.2
13------35.2---35.5---35.4---29.0---32.3
14------35.0---31.3---29.1---27.5---32.3
15------34.5---36.9---34.5---29.7---32.4
16------33.0---31.1---32.7---31.8---33.2

After the initial throws that clearly reflect the thrower (me) having to get used to throwing the darts, they began reaching distances that would eventually prove to be their maximum range of the day. Throwing them 16 times each took more than an hour, after which fatigue of the throwing arm set in. I felt that maybe the range could be stretched a bit, up to 50m with some tail wind. This test will be repeated at some future date.
Although I prepared a range of 80m, it soon became clear that this distance had been highly optimistic. The maximum range (Fectio I) turned out to be just over 44m. Reading back about the distances achieved by John Eagle in 1989 with almost identical plumbatae, the distances turned out to be comparable.

Overarm throwing resulted in shorter distances, which was no surprise to me – the trajectory seems to be more flat, and the initial swing when the missile is thrown may well cost some velocity. That the distances reached lay a 10% below the distances achieved underarm proved the theory. Although I have the feeling that here, too, better distances can be reached.

I attempted a running throw but that proved so unsuccessful that i discontinued that attempt.

I even attempted a throw while holding the point, but this did not lead to any comparable distance, so I discontinued that technique soon.

Landing was another surprise – I had expected the missiles to land almost vertical, at least the Fectio and Len Morgan ones. However, the actual angles were much, much shallower than expected. When reading back the tests done by John Eagle however, I learned that his plumbatae had landed at angles between 30 and 76 degrees, which compared to my results.

One part of the test was behaviour, something invisible to me as I conducted the tests alone. A few days later my wife shot some video footage of each plumbata (one throw), which revealed that especially the Deepeeka plumbatae turned over more than once while in flight.

Conclusions:

1 – Surprisingly, the distance of 60-80m that I had in mind were by no means reached. The conclusion may well be that the shafts of these plumbatae are too long and/or that the weight is too small. Or that I can’t throw properly.
2 – As expected, throwing underarm gets far better results than throwing overarm, the extra distances vary between 5 and 9 m.
3 – As expected, the Deepeeka plumbatae came of less than the other models, probably due to their weight and/or the balance due to construction.
4 – The modified Deepeeka stabilisers did better (distance-wise) than the original one. Both however behaved erratically in flight.
5 – Unexpectedly, most plumbatae did not land at a large angle.
6 – Besides shaft length, weight may be an issue. Heavier missiles may fly a greater distance, however, original plumbatae (head plus weight) seem to weigh less that modern reconstructions.

Aims:

1 - In future I will make shorter shafts and larger weights for the next generation Fectio plumbatae.
2 - I will modify the Deepeeka plumbatae further, experimenting with weight as well.
3 – I want to try the cestosphendron.
[Image: plumbatae2007_3.jpg] LM I

[Image: plumbatae2007_4.jpg] The testing range

[Image: plumbatae2007_5.jpg] DP I
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