Art, Atlatls, and Armaments

Was Michelangelo’s David packing, even without a fig leaf? Perhaps, suggest a couple of art historians. They contend that the statue may have originally been holding the base of a staff sling called a fustibal, which they compare to a portable trebuchet, although when I read the description, I thought of it as being like an atlatl.

The weapon is dated to antiquity, and the atlatl certainly goes a long way back (ca. 25,000 B.C.). In any event, it makes David’s win over the big guy much less ridiculous. I’ve often heard it said that God is on the side with the larger army, but He may also back the guys with a better grasp of physics.

H/T: The Port Stands at Your Elbow.

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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3 Responses to Art, Atlatls, and Armaments

  1. Andrew Stevens says:

    Portable trebuchet is more accurate. An atlatl still uses a spear-throwing motion while the fustibal apparently used a motion like you’d use in jai alai. So it’s similar to a trebuchet and not very much like an atlatl.

  2. Andrew Stevens says:

    Lacrosse players use both atlatl and trebuchet type motions.

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