spiphany wrote:Try dividing the word a bit differently -- usually when words are added to form compounds, the prefixed element will end in a vowel, so βελο-σφενδόνη
LSJ has for σφενδόνη "sling"
Yup even my humble dictionary has σφενδόνη. Thanks for the translation and thanks even more for the
pointer to how to break down compound words.
spiphany wrote:and for βελοσφενδόνη "dart wrapped with pitch and tow, and thrown while on fire from an engine". It doesn't cite any other usages except Plutarch, but presumably there's some other evidence for this particular piece of equipment (perhaps Roman sources?)
My first reation was that this just can't be right. There are battles where engines were deployed but only by and army that had been able to prepare a position - Sulla definately was not able to do this.
However the engines might have been deployed on the walls of Chaeronea. Were one to run
with this interpretation it would fix the position of the freed slaves in the battle line. Further
it would suggest that the freed slaves fought even better than Plutarch states
- that is that they not merely held their own but actually forced back the legionaries until
they came into range of Chaeronea.
Appealing though that is, now I can break down βελοσφενδόνη into its parts (thanks again)
it seems that the simplest interpretation is a javelin thrown with the aid of loop of rope to
give extra leverage.
It is possible that another writer used the same word where bolt throwing engines is clearly intended