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Headword: *ke/stros
Adler number: kappa,1434
Translated headword: dart, dart-sling, kestros, cestrus, kestrosphendone
Vetting Status: high
This was a novel invention during the [sc. Romans'] war against Perseus.[1] The missile of this kind was two palms [long],[2] and it had a tube equal [in length] to the point. Into this [tube] a wooden shaft was fitted, a span in length[3] and a finger's breadth in diameter. Onto the middle of this[4] were secured three wing-shaped timbers, altogether short. This,[5] with the sling having two unequal strings,[6] was looped between the strings in an easily-releasable manner. There it stayed while these strings were whirled around and tautened; but when, during the discharge, one of the strings was loosened, it fell out from the loop and was propelled just like a leaden sling-bullet, striking with a forceful blow and inflicting serious injury on those encountering it.
Greek Original:
*ke/stros: ce/non h)=n tou=to to\ eu(/rhma kata\ to\n *persiko\n po/lemon. to\ de\ be/los toiou=to dipa/laiston h)=n, i)/son e)/xon to\n au)li/skon th=| probolh=|. tou/tw| cu/lon e)nh/rmosto, tw=| me\n mh/kei spiqamiai=on, tw=| de\ pa/xei daktuliai/an e)/xon th\n dia/metron. ei)s de\ tou/tou to\ me/son e)sfh/nwto pteru/gia tri/a cu/lina, braxe/a pantelw=s. tou/twn duei=n ka/lwn a)ni/swn u(parxo/ntwn th=s sfendo/nhs, ei)s to\ me/son e)nhgkuli/zeto tw=n ka/lwn eu)lu/tws. loipo\n e)n me\n th=| periagwgh=| tetame/nwn tou/twn e)/menen: o(/te de\ paraluqei/h qa/teron tw=n ka/lwn, kata\ th\n a)/fesin e)kpi=pton e)k th=s a)gku/lhs kaqaperei\ molubdi\s e)k th=s sfendo/nhs fe/retai kai\ prospi=pton meta\ biai/as plhgh=s kakw=s dieti/qei tou\s sugkurh/santas.
Polybius 27.11, known only from this entry in the Suda; cf. Livy 42.65.9-10 (and a similar device in Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities 20.1.4). For commentary, beyond what is proffered here, see Walbank 3.308-310.
[1] For Perseus see pi 1370.
[2] The Loeb translator, W.R.Paton, mis-translates as 'two cubits'. Two palms is c.six inches.
[3] c. nine inches.
[4] 'This' is either the shaft or the whole missile.
[5] Reading tou=to for the Suda's genitive plural tou/twn.
[6] This translates the noun transmitted twice as ka/lwn; 'Lipsius' [Joest Lips, 1547-1606] emended it to kw/lwn ("limbs").
Keywords: biography; botany; chronology; definition; historiography; history; military affairs; science and technology; trade and manufacture
Translated by: David Whitehead on 10 November 2008@08:44:22.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (added link, set status) on 10 November 2008@22:58:59.
David Whitehead (more notes) on 11 November 2008@03:41:48.
Catharine Roth (deleted link, cosmetics) on 5 February 2013@01:16:32.
David Whitehead on 19 February 2013@09:07:54.
Ronald Allen (given name cosmeticule in n.6) on 7 November 2018@21:53:11.
Catharine Roth (tweaked note) on 11 August 2019@01:00:33.


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