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Messages on missiles to sling

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

In the vicinity of the current city of Perugia (central Italy) and the centre itself, numerous missiles up to These little lead nuggets gave us information about what the psychological fight was like in ancient times.

In 41 BCE Lucius Antony – brother of Mark Antony – together with his wife Fulvia, took refuge in Perusia, from the coming army of Gaius Octavian. During the siege, an enormous number of lead shells were ejected from the slingshot. Interestingly, many of them had engraved short information for the enemy. However, this is not unusual, since such an element of the psychological game was already used in ancient Greece. Among other things, Greek bullets found inscriptions like “Got you!” or “Ouch!” In turn, during the war of Rome with allies (90-88 BC), engravings were found on the missiles: “For Pompey’s Backside!” (it is about the famous father Pompey the GreatPompey Strabon’s Gnaeus) or “Take that!”.

In the case of Perusia, the news was a bit more sophisticated: “You’re done for, Lucius Antonius, you baldy”, “I seek Octavian’s ass”, “I seek Fulvia’s clitoris”. As you can see, just like today, they were scoffed at sexuality and appearance, and they tried to dominate the opponent at all costs, while at the same time concealing their fear.

Eventually, Lucius Antony surrendered the city because of the famine, and Octavian August kindly spared brother Antony and his soldiers.

Sources
  • Beard Mary, SPQR. Historia starożytnego Rzymu, Poznań 2016

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