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.