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Thucydides mentions the Acarnanians from NW Greece as expert slingers in 429 bc, and in 424 the Boeotians (see boeotia) sent for slingers from Malis before their assault on the Athenian fort at Delion. By 415, at latest, the Rhodians (see rhodes) were known as expert slingers, and the Athenians took 700 of them to Sicily; even Rhodians who had not originally enlisted as slingers proved expert with the weapon during the retreat of the 10,000. Philip II of Macedon certainly used slingers at Olynthus in 348, for many of their sling‐bullets have been found. In the western Mediterranean Balearic slingers took the place of Rhodians.

Xenophon tells us that the Rhodian slingers among the 10,000 were able to improvise slings and lead bullets, and were even able to outrange most enemy archers; the maximum range of the sling was possibly as much as 350 m. (380 yards). Bullets could be either stone, clay, or lead. The lead bullets used by the Macedonians at Olynthus averaged about 30 grams, those of the defenders about 20. Bullets from Olynthus are often inscribed, some with the names of Philip or his officers, but some with slogans like ‘take that’ or ‘a nasty present’.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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