The art of slinging of stones was well known and practised at a very early period in Europe, but we have no authority to prove that it was carried to so high a pitch of perfection in this part of the globe, as it appears to have been among the Asiatic nations. It is altogether uncertain, whether the ancient inhabitants of Britain were acquainted with the use of the sling or not; if the negative be granted, which hardly seems reasonable, we must admit the probability of their being taught the properties of such an instrument by the Romans, who certainly used it as a military weapon.
We can speak more decidedly on the part of our ancestors the Saxons, who seem to have been skilful in the management of the sling; its form is preserved in several of their paintings, and the manner in which it was used by them, as far back as the eighth century, may be seen below, from a manuscript of that age in the Cotton Library. It is there represented with one of the ends unloosened from the hand and the stone discharged. In the original the figure is throwing the stone at a bird upon the wing, which is represented at some distance from him.