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funda media

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funda media

Postby Archimedes » Fri Dec 26, 2008 10:56 pm

Livy 42.65.9-11 describes a weapon called the cestrosphendone or dart sling. One clause in the description reads funda media duo scutalia imparia habebat. I guess it could literally be taken as "the middle of the sling had two unequal cords" or "the sling from its middle had two unequal cords." I'm wondering if media could be understood to be the cradle of the sling, since in a conventional sling the cradle lies in the middle of the stretched-out sling. The sense here would then be some kind of offset cradle, one of the cords longer than the other.

I saw an article on the recreated weapon, the sling a long cord that looped around a couple of the three wooden fins on the dart, the cradle a ring of parchment attached higher up on one of the sides of the loop so as to fit over the tail of the dart to keep it from tipping out of the loop when spun. The side of the cord that ran down from the cradle in a J-shaped loop around the fins and back up again was longer than the other side that just ran straight up from the cradle.
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Re: funda media

Postby adrianus » Sat Dec 27, 2008 7:30 pm

Salve Archimedes
Ut legis lego.
I read "the central pocket/pouch had two unequal strips/thongs/strings" ("funda media duo scutalia imparia habebat") and "funda media" to be indeed the "cradle" or "central pouch", as you suppose (though not exactly as you translate—since funda = "pouch/pocket/purse/net" as well as "sling", so "cradle" is perfect for "funda" here).
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: funda media

Postby Archimedes » Mon Dec 29, 2008 6:22 pm

Thanks, adrianus! I'm going to post the entire passage from the Loeb edition and come back with some more questions.

Hoc illo bello novum genus teli inventum est. Bipalme spiculum hastili semicubitali infixum erat, crassitudine digiti; huic abiegnae breves pinnae tres, velut sagittis solent, circumdabantur; funda media duo scutalia imparia habebat; cum maiori nisu libratum funditor habena rotaret, excusum velut glans emicabat.
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Re: funda media

Postby adrianus » Mon Dec 29, 2008 8:17 pm

Salve Archimedes.

I translate as follows/verto ità:
"This was a new kind of missile invented in that war. A two-palm (6-inch) metal spike was fixed to an finger-thick half-cubit (9-inch) shaft, around which wooden part three short feathers were bound, in a way typical for arrows. The central pouch had two unequal strings. When the slinger whirled the thing horizontally by the strap with quite a lot of force, the projectile would shoot out like a bullet."


You might prefer this:

Baker, 1859, p.445 wrote:What galled them most severely was, a new kind of weapon invented in that war, and called Cestophendanon. A dart, two palms in length, was fixed to a shaft, half a cubit long, and of the thickness of a man's finger, round which, as is commonly done with arrows, three feathers were tied, to balance it. To throw this, they used a sling, which had two beds unequal in size, and in the length of the strings. When the weapon was balanced in these, and the slinger whirled it round by the longer string and discharged it, it flew with the rapid force of a leaden bullet.

Quod hîc legas: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Q2tB ... #PPA445,M1
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: funda media

Postby Archimedes » Tue Dec 30, 2008 3:16 am

I think your translation is more on the mark than Baker's. My next question has to do with the clause

cum maiori nisu libratum funditor habena rotaret.

I know Polybius' Greek version makes a point of the fact that although the missile was fitted into the rig so as to be easily released, it would nonetheless remain in place while being spun, discharging only upon the release of the cord. I was wondering if the Latin above might hint at the same meaning. In particular, the passive participle libratum has a latitude of meanings, one of which could be "kept in its place." Perhaps habena could be taken as the section of cord looped around the fins to keep the missile in place. The sense would then be something along the lines of "when the slinger forcefully whirled it around, it was kept in its place by the cord" followed by "released, it would shoot out like a sling bullet" (excussum velut glans emicabat).
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Re: funda media

Postby adrianus » Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:26 am

Certè, Archimedes, quod suggeris mihi bonum videtur.
That's a very real possibility, Archimedes. You have "the slinger whirled the thing kept in place by the cord". I have "the slinger whirled the thing horizontally by the strap" with the substantive (+ adjective in English "horizontal thing") becoming substantive + adverb ("thing horizontally") in English. "Forcefully" is nice. I don't see "released" though. You have to infer it, but that's great. I went for "the projectile would shoot out like a bullet" = "projected/thrown by the arm, it would shoot out like a bullet".
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: funda media

Postby Archimedes » Tue Dec 30, 2008 6:32 pm

adrianus wrote:Certè, Archimedes, quod suggeris mihi bonum videtur.
I don't see "released" though.


Make that "discharged," one of the meanings of excussum.
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Re: funda media

Postby Hondero » Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:21 pm

Hello Archimedes, it has been a surprise that you have raised the text by Livius on cestrosphendone. I guess you are a fan of the sling and perhaps you know the slinging.org forum, where we have a long thread on the cestros. I have practiced with it for years and have recreated different designs. The best and last of all them is based on an interpretation of the Livius just like you have made here, that is to say, a sling whose cradle is formed by two unequal branches. This cradle, that seems quite strange, nevertheless adapts perfectly to the dart to secure an effective casting, as it can be seen in my last post in the thread. The exact meaning of Livius and Polibius texts has always been a mystery, which has kept this weapon in the dark of the conjectures. Only a good cooperation between linguists and practical experimenters will definitively reveal the nature of the weapon. The habitual translations of the classics suffer from a non specialized knowledge of the armament, reason why translators make common and banal interpretations of the weapons they describe. In the case of the sling, any translator can imagine that the two unequal cords of which Livius speaks are two branches of a cradle, being more comfortable to think about the thongs of the sling. Luckily, in this occasion, the own Livius has another text (38,29) in which uses the same word “scutale, scutalia” to talk about three pieces or branches sewn one to other to form the cradle of the Achaean sling. And these twice that the word scutale is used are the two unique ones that appears in all the conserved Latin texts.

The text of Polibius is still more ambiguous with regard to the sling, since it adds the difficulty of the Greek. As it is previous to the one of Livius, besides being Polibius a man familiarized with the weapons and the war, contemporary of the appearance of the cestros in the third Macedonian war, its interpretation seems more trustworthy than the one of Livius, who apparently was limited to translate Polibius and perhaps other authors. Nevertheless Polibius is not much precise in the description of the sling, and the different translations of him abound in the well-known interpretation of the two unequal thongs of the sling. This possibly has influenced the habitual translations of Livius.

Well, I think that have extended too much and don´t know if I have expressed the stuff well (I don´t trust much on my English :? ), but the topic gets passionate to me and would like that linguists and experimenters together could reveal this riddle that never before has been disclosed though many have tried for centuries.


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Last edited by Hondero on Fri Jan 16, 2009 5:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: funda media

Postby Archimedes » Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:25 am

Hondero,

I'm fascinated by oddball stuff from antiquity like the cestrosphendone. I am familiar with your thread from slinging.org--I consider it a reference work--and I believe I posted the link on LatinForum when I brought up Livy there. Why don't you post a picture of your cestrosphendone reconstruction here so everyone can see exactly what you're talking about?
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Re: funda media

Postby Hondero » Fri Jan 16, 2009 5:42 pm

Archimedes wrote:Hondero,

I'm fascinated by oddball stuff from antiquity like the cestrosphendone. I am familiar with your thread from slinging.org--I consider it a reference work--and I believe I posted the link on LatinForum when I brought up Livy there. Why don't you post a picture of your cestrosphendone reconstruction here so everyone can see exactly what you're talking about?



OK Archimedes, this is the odd sling with that asymetric offset cradle that adapt so well to the fins of the dart and works wonderfully. For those that don´t know the cestrosphendone, to say that it is a special sling for throwing darts.
The question is: can match this cradle design the Livy text and the Polybius greek text on kestrosphendone?

Image
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Re: funda media

Postby Archimedes » Sun Jan 18, 2009 6:21 pm

Hondero wrote:Luckily, in this occasion, the own Livius has another text (38,29) in which uses the same word “scutale, scutalia” to talk about three pieces or branches sewn one to other to form the cradle of the Achaean sling. And these twice that the word scutale is used are the two unique ones that appears in all the conserved Latin texts.


Here's the Latin text and the Roberts translation:

Itaque longius certiusque et ualidiore ictu quam Baliaris funditor eo telo usi sunt. Et est non simplicis habenae, ut Baliarica aliarumque gentium funda, sed triplex scutale, crebris suturis duratum, ne fluxa habena uolutetur in iactu glans, sed librata cum sederit, uelut neruo missa excutiatur.

Their slings, too, were not made of a single strap, like those of the Baliarics and other nations, but they consisted of three thongs, stiffened by beings sewn together. This prevented the bullet from flying off at random when the thong was let go; when fixed in the sling it could be so whirled round as to fly out as though from the string of a bow.


Roberts seems to be implying that the conventional sling was a single strip of material with a wide spot in the middle to hold the stone, whereas the triplex was formed from three such strips (probably of thinner material) sewn together to make a formed pouch. It would appear that the "forming" could be done by bending one strip double and then sewing the other two strips to the outside of that while keeping the first strip bent double. Is this what the text is describing, or will the text admit other interpretations?
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Re: funda media

Postby adrianus » Sun Jan 18, 2009 8:55 pm

Itaque longius certiusque et ualidiore ictu quam Baliaris funditor eo telo usi sunt. Et est non simplicis habenae, ut Baliarica aliarumque gentium funda, sed triplex scutale, crebris suturis duratum, ne fluxa habena uolutetur in iactu glans, sed librata cum sederit, uelut neruo missa excutiatur.

Sic verto verbatim anglicé:
Therefore further and more accurately and with harder impact than the Baliaric slinger, did they use that [as a] dart. And it is not [the type] of a single strap, as the Baliaric sling and that of other races, but a triple thong, toughened by tight stitches, lest the bullet in the throwing would rotate when the strap were slackened, but when hurled, since it [the bullet] was securely seated, it would be projected as if fired from a bow string.


Archimedes wrote:Roberts seems to be implying...

He's not implying, you're inferring. :)
Non denotat ille, tu infers.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: funda media

Postby Archimedes » Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:05 pm

adrianus wrote:herefore further and more accurately and with harder impact than the Baliaric slinger, did they use that [as a] dart.

Be advised that this passage isn't connected with the dart sling, so you might want to revise the above.
And it is not [the type] of a single strap, as the Baliaric sling and that of other races, but a triple thong, toughened by tight stitches, lest the bullet in the throwing would rotate when the strap were slackened, but when hurled, since it [the bullet] was securely seated, it would be projected as if fired from a bow string.

I take it then that the idea here is that when a slinger starts to crank up with a conventional sling, the bullet might move slightly out of alignment, something that could be avoided with a formed pouch. Is the "triple thong" formed from three "single straps"?
He's not implying, you're inferring. :)
Non denotat ille, tu infers.

Guilty as charged...
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Re: funda media

Postby adrianus » Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:11 pm

Salve Archimedes

This is how I could infer, among various possibilities. If the sling's cradle were not stiff but flexible, then horizontal spin would be imparted to the bullet, resulting in a hooked trajectory, as often happens to a golfball (not that a golfclub's face is flexible, mind you; although were it flexible, then the hook would be even worse, I think!).

Sic inferre possum, inter alios modos. Si non rigida sed mollis sit cavea fundae, id glandem horizonti volvere faciat, et cursum eius flectere, quod pilae pilamallei saepè accidit (etsi non mollis est facies clavae, certé; si mollis autem sit facies, puto, aduncior etiam sit cursus!).
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: funda media

Postby Hondero » Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:24 pm

I´m delighted with your erudite considerations, and excuse me to take part in the conversation as I have no idea of latin (I´m from sciences :( ), which deplore deeply in regard to this riddle. But as it seems to me that great part of the mystery could be in a suitable interpretation of the damn word scutalia, I have consulted all the dictionaries of Latin I have been able, and peculiarly there is division of opinions. Some dictionaries Latin-French and Latin- Spanish, translate scutalia by cradle of the sling, whereas dictionaries Latin-English generally translate it by thong of the sling. Thus, it has been generalized in English the interpretation of cetros sling having two thongs of different length. Nevertheless I do not know if that conclusion can be derived from the greek text of Polybius, and if its translation in English coul have been influenced by habitual English translations of Livy.
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Re: funda media

Postby Archimedes » Sun Sep 13, 2009 8:52 am

Archimedes wrote:huic abiegnae breves pinnae tres, velut sagittis solent, circumdabantur;


Although the meaning here is clear, I would like to go into greater detail with velut sagittis solent. solent is the present active indicative 3d plural of soleo having meanings of to be in the habit of, to become accustomed to, to use, to be wont, to be accustomed, to be used to. The subject is the plural pinnae. So how can pinnae...velut sagittis solent be put together to make literal sense--or is there some kind of idiomatic usage I'm missing here?
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Re: funda media

Postby adrianus » Sun Sep 13, 2009 11:11 am

"pinnae...velut sagittis solent" = "feathers, just as they typically are [/just as they are accustomed to] for/with arrows", or passive impersonal // modo passivo impersonale, "as arrows typically are" vel ut suprà iam verti, "around which wooden part three short feathers were bound, in a way typical for arrows."
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: funda media

Postby Archimedes » Sun Sep 13, 2009 6:22 pm

Thanks for the quick feedback. Something else just occurred to me. Since pinnae is nominative plural and solent is third person plural, I automatically linked them. But could the subject of solent simply be a "they" that doesn't have to refer back to pinnae, kind of like our "They say..."? In other words, could velut sagittis solent be construed along the lines of "just as they are wont to do with arrows"?

Also, I noticed that abiegnae is nominative plural feminine as is breues and pinnae, so wouldn't the sense here be that the small fletchings or "wings" were made of wood?
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Re: funda media

Postby adrianus » Sun Sep 13, 2009 6:38 pm

"just as they are wont to do with arrows"

Certainly. That's what an impersonal passive is. Passivum impersonale id benè est, certé.

Even better what you say than "to this wooden [part]". // Melius etiam est quod dicis: "small wooden arrows" quam "huic [parti] abiegnae"
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Re: funda media

Postby adrianus » Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:03 pm

When I checked, I found that, strictly, you don't count third person plural as impersonal. I was wrong. So now I couldn't say if "just as they are wont to do with arrows" might be preferred as a translation.

Ah, the penny has dropped. Now I remember what was in the back of my mind regarding impersonals. It was indefinite subjects, not impersonals, the sense of "one" in English. So yes, possible, indeed.


Cum verificare quaesivi, verbum tertiae personae pluraliter ut impersonale non strictim ducis. Erravi. Nunc an quod proposuisti in vertendo praeferendum sit dicare non possim.

En, assis cecidit. Nunc quoàd verba impersonalia quod in mente habui clarum fit: sensus "one" enim anglicè id est, quod verùm ad subjectum non definitum pertinet. Ea ratione, ità, possibile est.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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