The sling was a key weapon in many ancient armies. It could outrange a bow, fired a projectile that the enemy couldn’t see coming and very rarely ran out of ammunition. Its main drawback as a weapon however, was it’s accuracy. It took years of practice to be able to use it effectively. This was not such a problem to the people of the Balearic Islands, where even young children were taught to use the sling (accounts describe how mothers would place food on a pole and the child could only eat after knocking it off with a slung stone). The reason for this was that most of the islanders were shepherds and the sling was vital to protect/control their herds but it also made the islanders valuable recruits to any army. (the term Balearic is thought to have come from the Greek for throwing/casting stones) Balearic slingers were used by the Greeks, Hannibal and Alexander the Great. The Romans were no different and once they had conquered the islands they began to recruit the slingers into their auxiliary forces. This figure represents such a slinger. He’s based on what little I could find about Roman and Balearic slingers so any inaccuracies are all my own!!
He’ s wearing Roman clothing with a pair of leggings made from an old tunic to protect his legs from thorns etc. He carries a Roman dagger but as he’s not intended to face enemies in close quarters, he wears no armour. He does have a shield to protect from enemy missiles. It's based on the Caetra shields used by the Balearic slingers. It's small, light and can be easily slung when both hands are needed. As for his slings, he carries 3 of different lengths for close, medium and long range. Each sling is made from braided fibre (usually rushes or animal hair) and unused slings are worn tied around the head or waist. The sling had a finger loop at one end, usually slipped over the middle finger, and a knot at the other which was gripped between the thumb and forefinger. To launch the projectile the sling was swung and the knotted end released. While any suitable sized stone could be used as ammo, Roman slingers tended to use lead bullets called glandes which could be produced in molds, making the bullets more standardised and further improving accuracy. (Glandes often had names or crude threats inscribed on them... the one loaded in his sling has DEXA (catch!!) scratched into it!!!)
HS - Twisting Toyz
Body - DML
Cloak, Tunic, Belt, Dagger, Scabbard, Sandals - Ignite
Bag - Manitou Free Traders
Slings - Custom (embroidery thread braided following instructions for a 1:1 sling)
Shield - Custom (Balsa wood, Ignite shield boss, “Fixit” putty, split rings, DML rifle slings)
Leggings - Custom (old material and thread)
Wrist bands - DML belt cut up
Brooch - Custom (painted drawing pin)
Glandes - Fimo
Preparing to fire “Greek style” so called because Greek coins depict this stance. The sling would be swung once in a horizontal circle above the head and released.
Copying a pose from Trajan’s column - using the cloak to hold ammunition allows him to use his shield. Modern slingers have shown that although it looks impractical, it is still possible to load the sling one handed although it slows the rate of fire. In this case, the sling is swung in a vertical circle and can be released overarm or underarm. This method allows slingers to operate close together and concentrate their fire.
A few close ups...
The sling... I made 3 each of a different length but all made the same way with a finger loop, split pouch, and release knot. Made using a method adapted from this site about 1:1 slings http://www.slinging.org
The Caetra shield - based on diagrams in an Osprey title
The slingshot (Glandes) I made about 40 of these (each about 5-8mm long) but only this one has the inscription DEXA (catch!!)
I really enjoyed putting this figure together and I hope you like him - comments are always welcome