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Hello, I have heard (from which source I cannot remember) that there have been found in archeological excavations skulls with backward lettering imprinted into the bone. Initially this confused the archaeologists and scholars, but ultimately they determined that projectiles inscribed with words/insults must have been used in the battle, and these were the skulls of unfortunate victims. Apparently the force of the projectile was enough to imprint the usually obscene message onto the skulls of the victims.

Does anyone know of a source which claims this? I was skeptical at first, mainly because I expected the bone simply to crack from the force of the projectiles. Also, I wasn't sure if a human slinger can launch at the necessary speed to cause this.

I also cannot remember if this story I heard involved a Classical or Medieval battle. If it was indeed part of excavation at a Medieval battle site, then perhaps the technological advances such as trebuchets and/or other siege engines could launch projectiles fast enough.

I do know that glandes (small projectiles launched from hand-held slings) have been found in Perusina (modern Perugia, Italy) after a battle between the forces of Octavian and Marcus Antonius onto which were inscribed by hand obscene and vulgar messages. However, my knowledge of Medieval military history is limited, and I do not even know if Medieval soldiers inscribed, or even forged, glandes or larger projectiles with words and/or obscene messages.
Yes, they put insulting messages on their sling bullets sometimes. Sometimes the Legion number. Sometimes things like "Up Yours" or "Surprise" or "greetings", or so I read. And certainly an unhelmeted head could be penetrated by a sling bullet at the right angle. I guess one could imprint on a bone, but that would be odd, simply because they would be spinning as they travelled, odds are, and the lettering was on the side of the bullet, not the front.

A sling bullet could reportedly be cast 400 meters. Given an arched trajectory taking the missile up 250 or so in altitude, the velocity would be quite sufficient. There is a thread on RAT somewhere about a surgical instrument designed specifically to remove embedded sling bullets from victims. Kind of like a meatball pliers, but shaped differently, and obviously for a different purpose.

They weren't toys; they were weapons designed to kill or injure. Nobody liked the other guy's slingers.

(Ever hear of Goliath's demise? 1 Samuel 17:49)
Here are some Photoghraphs of Slingshots in the Swiss museum of Chur.
They have legionary stamps on them and are republican/Caesarian.

[Image: IMAGE_350.jpg]

[Image: IMAGE_351.jpg]

[Image: IMAGE_349.jpg]

The chances of lettering imprinting itself on skin and or bone is higly remote.
If it at all happened, classical authors would surely have mentioned it somewhere.

Slingshot will kill, maim and break bone.

M.VIB.M.
Mythbusters did an episode on something similar. The idea was if someone, wearing a ring, punched a person hard enough it would leave a ring imprint. If I remember correctly they used pig skulls and decided it wasn't possible.
Most of these have the legion number struck into them, it would seem. Only one seems to have the lettering raised. Could someone please comment on whether or not there were more raised lettering found, including pictures if possible? I would very much like to make a mold someday.
http://slinging.org/
Lots of sling info on that site.
I recall from Anthony Everitt's book "Augustus" that in the skirmish between Octavian and Anthony's Wife Fulvia and his brothers men, sling stones have been recovered that said nasty things about the opposing side's leader
Quote:I recall from Anthony Everitt's book "Augustus" that in the skirmish between Octavian and Anthony's Wife Fulvia and his brothers men, sling stones have been recovered that said nasty things about the opposing side's leader

...and about which parts of their anatomy the slinger hoped their bullet would hit:

FVLVIAE LANDICAM PETO (Fulvia's sensitive lady's part)

PETO OCTAVIANI CVLVM (Octavian's "fundament")
FVLVIAE LANDICAM PETO = I attack Fulvias clitoris.
PETO OCTAVIANI CVLVM = I attack Octavians butt.

(just to make it clear)
Where these taunts inscribed in the lead or cast into the them? Whas the lettering raised or depressed?
Either could be possible, Robert, but if you engrave the mold, you only have to do it once. If you engrave the sling bullet, you must do so for each bullet. I'd generally vote for the former.

If the mold were engraved, the letters would be raised. If the bullet, they would be indented or recessed.
This I understand, but what is the evidence? Are there pictures of these bullets preserved? And how was the mold made? Did they use clay for the mold and engraved the "message" in it? It would seem these were bullets made for the occasion. I am wanting to learn how the Romans made their molds, as I want to replicate their proces.
Quote:I have heard (from which source I cannot remember) that there have been found in archeological excavations skulls with backward lettering imprinted into the bone. Initially this confused the archaeologists and scholars, but ultimately they determined that projectiles inscribed with words/insults must have been used in the battle, and these were the skulls of unfortunate victims.
I have never heard of this. If you can remember the source, I would be very interested.

Quote:I do know that glandes (small projectiles launched from hand-held slings) have been found in Perusina (modern Perugia, Italy) after a battle between the forces of Octavian and Marcus Antonius onto which were inscribed by hand obscene and vulgar messages.
The messages (quoted by others, above) were cast onto the sling bullets, as far as I recall.

Quote:Most of these have the legion number struck into them, it would seem. Only one seems to have the lettering raised. Could someone please comment on whether or not there were more raised lettering found, including pictures if possible?
It is probably easier to stamp a design into a clay sling bullet. All of the "inscribed" lead bullets known to me have raised designs, meaning that the design was etched into the mould prior to casting.

Quote:... what is the evidence? Are there pictures of these bullets preserved? And how was the mold made? Did they use clay for the mold and engraved the "message" in it?
A fragment of a clay mould (for casting lead bullets) was discovered during excavations at Olynthus. Here is a schematic showing how it worked:
[attachment=809]sling-bullet-mould.jpg[/attachment]
Quote:FVLVIAE LANDICAM PETO = I attack Fulvias clitoris.
PETO OCTAVIANI CVLVM = I attack Octavians butt.

(just to make it clear)
...but miss the joke by a country (matters) mile! Peto is also 'I seek' and when we recall that the Latin for a slingshot is glans... well, surely I don't have to paint you a picture?! Military humour on a par with Miss Shilling's orifice ;-)

Mike Bishop
(whose dirty mind has been honed by years of Carry On... and Up... films and TV)
You´re absolutely right there, Matt... Then again there´s too many languages involved here... Latin, German, English... ^^
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