Miscellanea / G.M. Hollenback / Mnemosyne 62 (2009) 459-463 459 Polybius’ Description of the kestros Polybius and Livy both describe a missile weapon successfully deployed by the Macedonians against the Romans in the Th ird Macedonian War. Livy (42.65.9- 10) calls the weapon the cestrosphendone or ‘dart sling’; Polybius (27.11.1-7) sim- ply calls it the κέστρος or ‘dart’. 1) Because Polybius’ description is the older and more detailed of the two, it will be the focus of the present study. 2) Although Ber- trand produced a working model of a weapon purportedly based on the ancient sources, a careful rereading of Polybius reveals that Bertrand’s attempt bears little resemblance to what is being described in the text. 3) Although Polybius’ descrip- tion of the dart itself is fairly straightforward, his description of the sling and how the dart was loaded into the sling is somewhat ambiguous. Th is study presents a fresh exegesis of the text that calls attention to neglected details an understanding of which is indispensable for an accurate reconstruction. Κέστρος . ξένον ἦν τοῦτο τὸ εὕρημα κατὰ τὸν Περσικὸν πόλεμον . τὸ δὲ βέλος τοιοῦτον· Kestros. Th is unusual invention made its appearance during the
Mnemosyne – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2009
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