Wide view of Venice: Piazza San Marco - Riva degli Schiavoni
Anonymous: "Frombolatore" from a series of printed cards
about the Roman Army - woodcut (16th century)
Very likely taken from Cesare Vecellio: Roman Frombolatore
("Degli Habiti antichi, et moderni di Diverse Parti del Mondo")


... also known as the "Fromboliere", the long range precision rock thrower

The sling as a weapon was already known to Neolithic peoples around the Mediterranean, but it is likely to be much older.

First documentation comes from a Neolithic drawing of a slinger from Çatalhöyük, Turkey (ca. 7000 BC).

The Frombolatore or Fromboliere is an old war machine, the possibility of hitting the enemy from far away was a precious skill, and it was quite used in the Roman Army too.

The Frombolatore represented the power of artillery in a sling, before the invention of gunpowder (here in the West countries, at least).

Throwing heavy stones against the enemy, was not an easy job, and quite an important one and the best recognized slingers were the Balearic.

The Balearic slingers, which were basically a mercenary army, had been a big asset in the Roman armies for a long time.

While most slingers would throw stones of about 50-80 grams, the Balearic slingers would throw stones of around 400 grams and more, making quite a difference in their impact.

In the Venice Carnival the supposed Frombolatore skills were used to have fun, of course, but I would be little surprised if these Mattaccini - in throwing their perfumed eggs - were really hitting their intended targets or only making big messes around ...

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