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Help in late Roman Reenactment
#1
Morning, I have been looking to join up a small group of Late Roman Reenactment here in Portugal and I have been looking into reading some documents that could help me in making my kit. Due to some limitations and overall interest in a certain weapon I have been thinking about going as a slinger. I have heard various things mostly about how the normal sling was replaced by the staff sling and that the Western Army slowly began using less slingers. Any of this statements are true?

Thank you
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#2
Ah cool, another prospective slinger!

The staff sling did not necessarily replace the hand-sling. Staff-slings are exactly what you want if you are throwing rocks about ~300-500 grams in weight. Ordinary slings using projectiles anywhere from ~30-150 grams can reach or exceed 40 m/s, which I don't believe would be possible with a staff-sling with heavy projectiles about the size of an orange or larger, so the hand-sling likely has a range advantage over the staff-sling.

It is true that there were less slingers in the Later Roman periods, and I believe this likely has to do with a dimishing pool of experienced slingers to recruit from. Ordinary shepherds may be proficient sling-users, but they do not make for excellent battlefield slingers. Skilled slingers could probably hurl projectiles to about ~60-70 m/s, which is a large improvement over the usual 40-50 m/s that could be achieved by lesser slingers. You likely could, however, hire shepherds in siege contexts, where the advantage of having a long-ish range combined with the utter cheapness of rock or clay projectiles would be advantageous for an attacking force. I believe that this was done on multiple ocassions within the High/late medieval period.

Edit: And for the purpose of propelling Incendiaries, Slings and staff-slings reign supreme! (With the general exclusion of catapults or trebuchets)
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#3
Nice subject, we certainly can use more slingers!

Btw to both gentlemen: please add your real (first) name to your signatures please? Forum rules.

Btw2 - how does a slinger throw an incendiary? Would it not damage the sling?
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#4
(01-07-2019, 03:46 PM)Robert Vermaat Wrote: Btw2 - how does a slinger throw an incendiary? Would it not damage the sling?

From what I understand, you would soak the pouch in water before releasing the heated projectile from a tong into the pouch. With a leather pouch, you might not see much damage from this process, though if you are using a wooven wool sling pouch, you would likely have to make a new one.

Guamanian slingers, based off of several Spanish accounts, used red hot slingstones which they covered with tufty 'Pandanus' fibres (Likely coconut fibres in this case). The fibres would potentially cushion the pouch from the heat. The fibres would not have been aflame at this stage and were likely charred, but when the slingstone was in flight the charred fibres would then burst into flames.

I believe that Incan slingers might have used similar incendiary projectiles as the Guamanians, which they likely hurled from their infamous woolen slings known today as Huaraca (Which are often exceedinly beautiful and well-crafted slings, similar to Tibetan slings).

Edit: Here is an excerpt written by Olaus Magnus (From the 1500's) concerning incendiary projectiles that were thrown from Finnish forces against a Swedish fortification.

"But, where there were no stones, which was seldom seen, they cast into the forts as forcible as they may, a piece of iron that is glowing red hot, which they put with a pair of tongs, into the sling. They will make such a violent wound and torture, that it can hardly ever or never cured with the help of the physician."
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#5
I would make the pouch using chain mail. With a ring about 5mm. Or could the incendiary be pre made, you light and throw it with thong attached ? Another thought  Wink
Regards Brennivs  Big Grin
Woe Ye The Vanquished
                     Brennvs 390 BC
When you have all this why do you envy our mud huts
                     Caratacvs
Centvrio Brennivs COH I Dacorivm (Roma Antiqvia)
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#6
(01-08-2019, 05:33 PM)brennivs - tony drake Wrote: I would make the pouch using chain mail. With a ring about 5mm. Or could the incendiary be pre made, you light and throw it with thong attached ? Another thought  Wink
Regards Brennivs  Big Grin

I have always considered it a possibility that mail-like pouches could be made, though I wonder if it would affect the handling characteristics.

My main concern though is that I am not sure if I feel like whipping myself with the pouch upon release, because depending on the length of the sling in question you can have the sling wrap around your back, particularly from side-arm releases. It would be sheer murder on any slinger unless they were wearing armour if this happens from time-to-time.

This is probably one reason why a lot of good slingers say "Don't put metal beads on the end of your sling!" as advice to beginning slingers.
Jack
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#7
if you are going as a slinger contact Wim van Broekhoven (Cordvs) he is a specialist in the subject. He might help you a lot.
He wrote an article on it in AW magazine about the subject.
AgrimensorLVCIVS FLAVIVS SINISTER
aka Jos Cremers
member of CORBVLO
ESTE NIX PAX CRISTE NIX
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