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SLING (from M. Eng. slingen, to fling...

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Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 243 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SLING (from M. Eng. slingen, to fling, throw with a jerk, Icel. slyngva, cf. Ger. schlingen, to twist), an implement for casting missiles, also from its resemblance in form to the implement, a hanging loop used as a support for a wounded limb, a chain with hooks used for raising or lowering heavy goods or objects, &c. The sling as a weapon is probably the earliest form of device known to mankind by which an increase of force and range was given to the arm of a thrower of missiles. Sling stones from the stone age have been frequently found (see ARMS AND ARMOUR). The form of the weapon is of two kinds; the sling proper consists of a small strap or socket of leather or hide to which two cords are attached; the slinger holds the two ends in one hand, whirls the socket and missile rapidly round the head and, loosing one cord sharply, despatches the missile; the other type is the staff sling, in which the sling itself is attached to a short staff, held in both hands. This was used for heavier missiles especially in siege operations during the middle ages. There are many references to slings and to slingers in the Bible; the left-handed slingers of Benjamin were famous (Judges xx.16). The Assyrian monuments show the sling of the ordinary type and slingers were used in the ancient Egyptian army, but not before the 8th century B.C. The sling (Gr. vrPevS6vl7, Lat. funda) is not mentioned in Homer; Herodotus (vii. 158) speaks of the slingers in the army offered by Gelon to serve against the Persians; it seems to have been a weapon chiefly used by barbarian troops. The Acarnanians, however, were expert slingers (Thuc. ii. 81), and so also were the Achaeans, who later invented the sling which discharged a shaft with an iron bolt head (Livy xlii. 65, from Polybius). In the Roman army by the time of the Punic Wars the slingers (funditores) were auxiliaries from Greece, Syria and Africa. The Balearic islanders, who were in Hannibal's army, were always famous as slingers. In medieval times the sling was much used in the Frankish army, especially in defending trenches, while the staff-sling was used against fortifications chief industries, and there is an important butter-market. Monthly fairs are held. Sligo is a centre of, salmon and sea-fishing industries. The Dominican Abbey, founded in 1252 by Maurice Fitzgerald, Lord-Justice, is one of the finest monastic ruins in Ireland. It was partly destroyed by fire in 1414 and again in 1642. Three sides of the cloisters remain, and the lofty quadrangular tower at the junction of the nave and chancel is entire. The east window is of the date of the original structure. The principal modern church is the Roman Catholic cathedral (1869) for the diocese of Elphin in the Norman style with a finely sculptured doorway. There is also a Roman Catholic college. A castle was built at Sligo by Maurice Fitzgerald in 1242, which in 1270 was taken and destroyed by O'Donnel; in 1310 it was rebuilt by Richard, earl of Ulster, and was again partly destroyed in 1369 and 1394. Of this and the walls with which the town was fortified there are no remains. Early in the reign of James I. the town received a market and two annual fairs; in 1613 it was incorporated and received the privileges of a borough; and in 1621 it received a charter of the staple. In 1641 it was besieged by the Parliamentary forces under Sir Charles Coote, but was afterwards evacuated, and occupied by the Royalists till the termination of the war. In ,688 it declared in favour of James II., and, after being captured by the Enniskilleners, was retaken by General Sarsfield, but ultimately surrendered to the earl of Granard. The borough was disfranchised in 1870. Under the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898 it retains its mayor and corporation, but the latter has practically the status of an urban district council. in the e4th century. They were used down to the 16th and 17th centuries to throw grenades.
End of Article: SLING (from M. Eng. slingen, to fling, throw with a jerk, Icel. slyngva, cf. Ger. schlingen, to twist)

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