|Balearic Slingers. Battle Honours.
Five hundred Balearic slingers went with the Carthaginians to Sicily to punish the Agrigentines.
On the march against Dionysus
the Elder, the tyrant of Syracuse, they provided 300 more as reinforcements. In the Sicily campaign the presence of
the Balearic slingers was decisive in the victory by General Hanno.
Battle of Eknomos. One thousand
Balearic slingers fought with Hamilcar and defeated of the Greeks.
Once again the islanders served
in the Carthaginian army in Sicily against Pyrrhus, compelling him to abandon Sicily.
Three hundred Mallorcans fought at the
famous Battle of the Aegates Islands against the Romans led by Gaius Lutatius Catalus where the Romans were the victors.
Unwilling to give the impression that he had been defeated, Hamilcar Barca had the Carthaginian war hero, Gesco,
negotiate with Lutatius. This saw the end of the First Punic War. Many of the Carthaginian mercenaries had not
received their pay for months, and they revolted. It was a motley crew of Greeks, Spanish, Balearic Islanders,
Gauls, and Libyans that now marched on Tunis. Once again Gesco was chosen as the negotiator. He tried to talk to
the rebels but they tortured him to death.
The Siege of Sagunto opened the
Second Punic war when Hannibal was accompanied by eleven hundred and fifty slingers from the Balearic Islands.
Previously he had stationed 870 in Africa and left 500 with Hasdrubal in Spain.
Battle of Cannae. Fifteen hundred
Iberian casualties. Polybius mentions the Iberians with their short linen tunics bordered with purple stripes.
And that both sides fought with conspicuous gallantry. Victory to the Carthaginians.
The Mallorcan slingers joined the
forces of the Roman general Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus and fought against the Carthaginians, who had the
Minorcans on their side.
When Mago, brother of Hannibal,
attempted to land upon the greater of the Balearic islands (Majorca), the inhabitants hurled their sling-stones
in such numbers upon his ships that he was not able even to enter the harbour.
Battle of Zama where Hannibal placed
his eighty elephants in the front line and behind them his twelve thousand mercenaries including the Balearic slingers.
Carthage was finally defeated bringing to an end the Second Punic War.
The funditores, or slingers from
the Balearic Islands, almost always accompanied Roman legions in their campaigns throughout the Mediterranean.
Jugurthine War. Accompanied the Romans
in their victory over Jugurtha, of Numidia, the most important kingdom in Africa after the fall of Carthage in 146 BC.
The slingers accompanied Julius Caesar during his Gallic Wars and were lined up on the decks of his ships to bring fear to the natives when he invaded the Britain. Livy, the Roman historian, wrote that by his time (59-17BC) although the sling was their chief weapon it was no longer their only one.