Ancient Sling Bullets Had Written Messages

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Ancient Sling Bullets Had Written Messages

Post by JediOre »

Good morning all,

With two sick kids and me with asthma, the Ore family will not be attending worship this fine Sunday morning.

So, I have a bit of time to bring to everyone some history that I think is relevant to the discussion of the DCC-RPG. I hope the article will provoke some thoughts on the part of Joseph Goodman and Harley regarding the range of missile weapons as well as fire the imagination of fellow gamers. This article is from ARTIFAX, Summer 2011.

"Ancient Sling Bullets Had Written Messages

Ancient slingers often wrote messages to their enemies on lead sling bullets. Messages on bullets slung at ancient enemies includes: 'Take that,' 'This is yours, Penetrate well, and Pain.' There are also sexual images, taunts, and threats. Sling bullet also have inscribed on them pictures of the heads of bulls, the names of army generals, the names of cities, and the names or seals of the blacksmiths who made them.

Slingers were called sphendonetai by the Greeks who used them effectively against their enemies. Lead bullets weighted about 40 grams, and had a range of about 400 yards. This article suggests that insulting messages indicate literacy may have been more common in the ancient world than is generally believed by modern scholars today. [from AFP, Apr. 13, 2011]

EDITOR'S NOTE: While David used a sling stone against Goliath and while ancient armies also used stones, slingers preferred lead balls. Xenephon and his 10,000 Greek foot soldiers held off the cavalry and bowmen of the Persians using lead ammunition. With slings and lead bullets, they fought their way back to Greece out of the middle of the Persian Empire in ca. 401 BC [sic]. For this story, see Xenephon's The Anabasis.

Assyrian artwork shows slingers placed behind bowmen in the siege of ancient cities during the Iron Age II, which seems to indicate that sling bullets had a greater range than arrows.

This reviewed article suggests that lead bullets could penetrate ancient armor, but this is unlikely. However, well-placed lead bullets could break exposed bones, deliver disabling bruises, knock out soldiers wearing helmets, and drive of warhorses. Julius Caesar even recommended the use of sling bullets against elephants."
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Re: Ancient Sling Bullets Had Written Messages

Post by Argamae »

Wow, that's really an interesting piece of trivial knowledge! Who would have thought? Might be fun to have a scene where a character messily extracts a sling bullet that just hit him, only to find some taunt or other funny message inscribed on it... like "Watch out!" or "Contains lead and may be hazardous to your health"... :wink:
Thanks for sharing this, JediOre!
The lucky guy who gets to translate DCCs into German!
Done so far:
DCC#1, DCC #11, DCC #28, DCC #17, DCC #17.5 :)

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