"sling arms" (not in OED2) -- why not before 1824?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Apr 18 16:49:16 UTC 2014

>>[Joel wrote:] A good point about no slings for spear and sword ...
>>unless we can
>>find an image (in words or picture) of Bellona with a musket ...
>>well, Wikipedia, s.v. "flintlock", says "Examples of early flintlock
>>weapons can be seen in the painting "Marie de' Medici as Bellona" by
>>Rubens (painted around 1622-25)."

>[Amy wrote:] Yeah, I can't see the mechanism closely enough to
>determine whether in
>fact it's flintlock or matchlock (or wheelock or doglock. . . )

>>[Joel wrote:]  Lots of "impressions" at Google
>>Images.  I believe that's a musket, with bayonet, in her left had,
>>perhaps resting on a sling at her waist (images are very dark).

>[Amy wrote:] Nope. That's some sort of scepter or mace in her left hand.

I think I've been mislead from the smaller images at Google Images
into thinking the "arm" in Bellona's left hand is a musket.  It is, I
agree with Amy, a scepter.  See
The object is essentially of a single diameter, tapered somewhat to a
point.  It has some ornamental knobs along the top of the shaft, but
no heavy knob at the end.  Not a mace, but a scepter.  (Although it
must be resting on something -- The position of Bellona's fingers
could not I think support anything.)

In this image there is a dark rectangle just to the right of the
lower left corner of the golden-colored cloak.  An artifact of vision
makes this seem to be a rectangle extending down to Bellona's
hand.  Rather, I now see the top part of this dark "rectangle" as
just an area of the cloak that is shadowed by the direction of the
light.  Its color is darker than the portion of the shaft it is
adjacent to.  In the smaller images, I could not distinguish this,
and so the "arm" looked like it had two differing diameters.

However, we still have long arms, that might be slung, "painted
around 1622-25". The flintlocks seen by Wikipedia are resting on the
ground (or perhaps are some other type of musket).  Like Jon, I find
it interesting that "sling arms" (in various forms) can't be found in
ECCO.   I would have supposed that "sling arms" as a command was
spoken at musters with muskets in the 18th or 17th centuries.  If so,
why isn't it manifested in the militia manuals?  (Forgive me -- I've
been overdosing on M&M's.)

Jon, or someone -- what about EEBO?  Or EAImprints?  Or is there no
point in looking if it's not in ECCO?


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list