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David Colter




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jun, 2012 9:12 am    Post subject: Slo-mo video: Cestrosphendone         Reply with quote

My first attempt, swung by the tail:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mMUOZZBDuY

Not bad, but doesnt fly to the same point of aim as a stone from a sling. Velocity suffers due to the time spent flying sideways through the air.

Following advice from another slinger I tried a center-swung setup instead:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rb6TfNRdew

This is much better! Accuracy and velocity are much improved. Easy to load and very secure in use.

It is a very practical and effective weapon system. More expensive than slinging but nowhere near as expensive as archery. Rate of fire not as high as either but easily as fast as a light hand-drawn crossbow. Power far exceeds all of these, at least equal to a javelin.

"Pompey ... had just time to quit a post which he judged to be untenable and to occupy a neighboring eminence which the advantage of the ground, he hoped, would enable him to defend.

The place, being difficult of access, was assailed by missile weapons and particularly by those of a kind first employed by the Macedonians in the present war and named from a compound denoting the dart and sling whose powers the cestrosphendone united.

The Romans formed themselves into a close body with thickly compacted shields, the better to resist this deadly instrument; but the Macedonians compelled them again to divide by threatening on all sides to climb the eminence. In opposing these separate attacks the besieged suffered dreadfully from the sharpness of the darts discharged with unusual velocity.... "

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=oTYLAAAAYA...mp;f=false





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Colt Reeves




PostPosted: Tue 05 Jun, 2012 12:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Heh. That's pretty neat. I admit I had to stare at it for a minute before understanding the launch system. Simple but complicated looking.
"Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown.
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown.
As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small.
For Iron, Cold Iron, must be master of men all..."
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2012 7:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Impressive range and I hope that one has good control over the general direction of trajectory. Eek!

First weapon system in a long time that is completely new to me as I somehow never came across it anywhere. Big Grin Cool

Takes a bit of time to figure out how the release works just looking at the pics and youtube movies. ( Honestly my brain hurts trying to visualize it or I'm simply feeling too lazy to try to figure it out).

Seems so effective I wonder why it wasn't used more widely at later periods ? Probably the bow was it's main competition as as with the sling one does need a fair amount of room between dart/slingers compared to archers that can mass in closer formations.

On the other hand like javelins it would seem that penetrating power would be close to medium power crossbows ?

Very scary watching how far the darts are flying in the movie clips: Sort of hoping you had a really good and far backstop and could be sure that nobody wandered into the " Kill Zone " and your'e not being able to see them. Worried ( I assume it was safely done but it still looks scary impressive ).

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Mackenzie Cosens




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2012 9:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am with Jean, the power was impressive. I have seen the Angus McBride Dead Roman with Cestrosphendones strapped to his shield (illustration F: Ospray- Rome's Enemies (3)...) and dismissed them as lawn darts, add the sling and they don't look much like dangerous toys but like a real weapon.
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David Colter




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2012 10:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Safety is, of course, the first consideration when playing with experimental weapons :-)

I put the cestros through its paces quite gently before opening up a bit and filming the results.

The darts strapped to the inside of a Roman shield would be plumbata, weighted with lead and grasped by the tail for a simple overarm throw.
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Bartek Strojek




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2012 10:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's some really cool stuff, really impressive how this dart soars trough the air...

What's the approximate weight of this dart?
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Mackenzie Cosens




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2012 11:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Colter wrote:
Safety is, of course, the first consideration when playing with experimental weapons :-)

I put the cestros through its paces quite gently before opening up a bit and filming the results.

The darts strapped to the inside of a Roman shield would be plumbata, weighted with lead and grasped by the tail for a simple overarm throw.


Ah! so it is a lawn dart! Happy I like these better.
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David Colter




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2012 12:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bartek Strojek wrote:
That's some really cool stuff, really impressive how this dart soars trough the air...

What's the approximate weight of this dart?


I dont know the weight of my dart but it is not and exact copy anyway. The original description is here:

http://latindiscussion.com/forum/threads/fund...ebat.4539/

A translation, one of several different interpretations:

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=3QjkVXkyu_...edir_esc=y

Best guess, something about 14"long total with about 6" of iron point with a socketed haft. Fins made of wood.
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Kurt Scholz




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2012 1:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great, I like it, especially because it's quite a rare weapon Happy
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2012 4:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A good article by George M Hollenback is published in the Royal Armouries Journal, Arms & Armour, "A New Reconstruction of the kestros or cestrosphendone", Vol 2, No, 1, (2005), pp.79-86.

His reconstruction seems pretty close to the original description. He achieved a range greater than other reconstructions - up to 97 metres. And his reconstruction provides a good reason why it disappeared. Basically the shape of the fins is critical. Even tiny changes in the curvature can make the difference between flawless operation every time and erratic performance. If the original template was lost, replacement fins would not be accurate enough, leading to a significant drop in performance. Slingers would soon lose interest in this weapon and go back to using shot.
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David Colter




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2012 11:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZ_N3AXLctc

I dont like it for exactly the reasons you gave. Any damage to the fins and the dart is useless. Unseen damage could lead to a very nasty accident on the next throw.

Incidentally, the range is down to the slinger, not the weapon. The man in this video reports 100m is easy and 200m is possible.

He also reports that the radial alignment in the sling saps power (you can feel you are slinging something with lots of drag) and it flies to a different point of aim from a regular stone sling.

It does match one translation very well, but a different translation has the cords of different length, not the pouch. I have no latin, unfortunately.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jun, 2012 3:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Colter wrote:
Incidentally, the range is down to the slinger, not the weapon. The man in this video reports 100m is easy and 200m is possible..

At the time the article was written 97 metres far exceeded any other attempted reconstruction. It is good to see that things have progressed since 2005.
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David Colter




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jun, 2012 12:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

After a little practice I have got the reliable reload time down to 12 seconds. This is half the rate of fire of a conventional slinger or an archer. This may have contributed to why the weapon was not widely adopted.
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William P




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jun, 2012 4:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

rate of fire is rarely an issue if it can be compensated for by other hings be i increased hitting power etc

take the crossbow as an example, slower rate of fire but it had exra potential in other areas

what makes this item likely to dissapear is because of the aiming issues, and thefac it was apparently so finnicky, i mean another example, the ferguson breechloading rifle and the various air powered riflesof the 18th century failed to take off because they were hard to keep them maintained, they broke more easily it was hard to make them en masse etc
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Mon 11 Jun, 2012 5:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
rate of fire is rarely an issue if it can be compensated for by other hings be i increased hitting power etc

take the crossbow as an example, slower rate of fire but it had exra potential in other areas



I could see some usefulness when defending a fixed position or a siege but more as an extra weapon assets where rate of fire would be unimportant if used for slow harassing fire.

Well, probably didn't catch on and depending on circumstance a bow, a sling, a crossbow or a javelin would be equally effective or more versatile, but I think in theory, it might be something extra that mostly slingers could find useful as an extra weapon, and being slingers there would probably be an overlap in skills sets needed to be at least minimally accurate with one.

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