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Headword: Κέστρος
Adler number: kappa,1434
Translated headword: dart, dart-sling, kestros, cestrus, kestrosphendone
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
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:
Κέστρος: ξένον ἦν τοῦτο τὸ εὕρημα κατὰ τὸν Περσικὸν πόλεμον. τὸ δὲ βέλος τοιοῦτο διπάλαιστον ἦν, ἴσον ἔχον τὸν αὐλίσκον τῇ προβολῇ. τούτῳ ξύλον ἐνήρμοστο, τῷ μὲν μήκει σπιθαμιαῖον, τῷ δὲ πάχει δακτυλιαίαν ἔχον τὴν διάμετρον. εἰς δὲ τούτου τὸ μέσον ἐσφήνωτο πτερύγια τρία ξύλινα, βραχέα παντελῶς. τούτων δυεῖν κάλων ἀνίσων ὑπαρχόντων τῆς σφενδόνης, εἰς τὸ μέσον ἐνηγκυλίζετο τῶν κάλων εὐλύτως. λοιπὸν ἐν μὲν τῇ περιαγωγῇ τεταμένων τούτων ἔμενεν: ὅτε δὲ παραλυθείη θάτερον τῶν κάλων, κατὰ τὴν ἄφεσιν ἐκπῖπτον ἐκ τῆς ἀγκύλης καθαπερεὶ μολυβδὶς ἐκ τῆς σφενδόνης φέρεται καὶ προσπῖπτον μετὰ βιαίας πληγῆς κακῶς διετίθει τοὺς συγκυρήσαντας.
Notes:
Polybius 27.11, only here 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 τοῦτο for the Suda's genitive plural τούτων .
[6] This translates the noun transmitted twice as κάλων ; 'Lipsius' [Joest Lips, 1547-1606] emended it to κώλων ("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.

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