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Rules Variants

Balearic Slingers

By Chris Pagano

In his book "Cannae 216 BC: Hannibal Smashes Rome's Army" (Opsrey Campaign Series # 36), Mark Healy has the following to say about Balearic slingers:

Hannibal's light troops were in a different class from those of the Romans. They were very highly trained and were capable of inflicting much damage on the enemy. Of particular importance were the Balearic slingers. These were organized into two corps, each a thousand strong. They were armed with three types of sling for employment at different ranges. Such was their accuracy and their volume of fire that they were deemed more useful than archers (pages 23-24).

It is very likely that Hannibal had posted many of his Balearic slingers directly opposite the Roman cavalry quite deliberately to disrupt both men and horses (page 80).

Aemilius Paullus (commanding the Roman cavalry) was severely wounded at the outset of the battle by one of the stones from the Balearic slingers; he either fell from his horse or chose to dismount. Whichever, it seems to have been taken by his men as a general signal for them to do likewise. When told of the Roman action, Hannibal observed that 'they may as well have delivered them up in chains.' The sentiment was well expressed, for by their own action the Romans brought about their own rapid collapse (page 80).

To represent their abilities, the following variant is offered:

Balearic slingers are considered Psiloi, but may use distance shooting with a range of 200p. Balearic slingers apply a +1 tactical modifier for close combat versus foot, and +1 for distance shooting versus mounted.

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Last Updated: Jan. 11, 2000

Comments and suggestions welcome. Send them to Chris Brantley, IamFanaticus@gmail.com.