Los honderos baleares, guerreros de élite

¿Sabías que Menorca tenían sus propio ejército de guerreros? ¿y sabías que los cartagineses y los romanos los contrataron como mercenarios?

 

Seguramente hasta que no has aterrizado en Menorca no sabías sobre la gran riqueza prehistórica de la isla. Te vamos a descubrir esta parte tan importante poco a poco, una sola entrada de blog no da para contar los aproximadamente 2.400 años de prehistoria. La cultura Talayótica la formaron los primeros habitantes de la isla, y mientras griegos, fenicios y romanos navegaban por el mediterráneo, aquí evolucionaba una cultura propia única.

Los guerreros prehistóricos o también conocidos como los honderos baleares, fueron muy importantes para la defensa de la isla antes de la llegada de otras civilizaciones del mediterráneo, como los romanos. Fueron una gran influencia para el ejército cartaginés primero y para el ejército romano después.

Cuando se habla de los honderos, los guerreros de las islas Gimnesias (Mallorca, Menorca, Córcega y Cerdeña) se suele contar a modo de leyenda, como parte de la mitología, pero lo cierto es que fueron hombres reales, con habilidades reales y lo que se cuenta de ellos es real. Los honderos baleares fueron guerreros con una puntería envidiada por los ejércitos de otras civilizaciones que navegaban por el mediterráneo y llegaban hasta las islas. Su arma, una honda hecha de esparto o pita, plantas que a día de hoy siguen formando parte del paisaje isleño. Los guerreros sujetaban la honda estratégicamente por los extremos con los dedos. En el otro extremo se adecuaba la pita para poner una piedra, así al hacer girar la onda y coger velocidad y potencia, al soltar uno de los extremos de la pita, sale la piedra disparada a una velocidad de hasta 240 kilómetros por hora. Lejos de ser un juego de niños, lo cierto es que los honderos conseguían lanzamientos mortales, los honderos baleares tenían una gran puntería y sabían cómo lanzar las “balas” a gran velocidad. Esta práctica servía para cazar, además de para protegerse de piratas e invasores. De forma de fedensa a medio de subsistencia como mercenarios en los ejercitos de las grandes potencias europeas del momento.

Primero fueron los cartagineses. Así como en las islas pitiusas sí habitaron los púnicos, en Mallorca y Menorca no se llegaron a establecer, pero sí hubo ciertas relaciones comerciales con ellos, con los griegos y más tarde con los cartagineses. Cuenta la leyenda que un invierno, por el siglo II a.n.e. en el periodo postalayótico, cuarto y último periodo prehistórico, Magón Barca, hermano de Aníbal Barca e hijos de Amílcar Barca, pasaron un invierno en la isla, concretamente en el puerto de Mahón, justo antes de las guerras púnicas, y ahí fue donde descubrieron el gran potencial de los guerreros indígenas. Los cartagineses fueron los primeros en aprovechar la destreza de estos guerreros, pero no los únicos.

 

Los romanos, que llegaron a Menorca en el año 123 a.n.e, no les fue tarea fácil alcanzar la costa menorquina. Cada vez que intentaban acceder con sus barcos por el norte de la isla, actual Sanitja, era recibidos por una gran nube de piedras que llegaban a gran velocidad desde el cielo. Los romanos lo tuvieron que intentar varias veces. Cada vez que se acercaba a la costa, los cascos de sus naves resultaban gravemente dañados por los impactos de las piedras, así una y otra vez, hasta que Quinto Ceciclio Metelo político y militar romano, alias "el Balear" ideó cubrir con pieles los barcos y conseguir finalmente llegar a tierra. Una vez los romanos ya establecidos en la isla, supieron llegar a acuerdos con los honderos para que lucharan entre sus filas.

Los Cartagineses contrataron a unos 2.000 honderos y se cree que lucharon junto con los cartagineses contra los romanos en la batalla de Sicilia y en la II Guerra Púnica, y con los romanos en la Guerra de las Galias. Aunque se cree que los honderos baleares ya participaban en batallas desde el siglo V a.n.e.

Los honderos además de por su puntería destacaban por la velocidad con la que conseguían lanzar los proyectiles. Llegaron a especializarse de tal manera que las piedras las pulían para conseguir mayor velocidad y efectividad que con los años fueron especializando y esculpían balas de plomo para mejorar la aerodinámica y efectividad. También tenían hondas de tres longitudes diferentes en función de la distancia del objetivo a abatir. Se dice que ya desde pequeños eran entrenados para desarrollar estas cualidades dignas de un buen guerrero como son puntería y fuerza. A la hora de la comida, las madres ponían en las alturas un trozo de pan, el cual los niños debían conseguir dar con las hondas si querían comérselo. Así es como los futuros honderos conseguían precisión.

Otra leyenda cuenta que fueron precisamente los romanos quienes dieron nombre a las Islas Baleares, todo se debe por la gran velocidad con la que los honderos indígenas conseguían disparar los proyectiles desde sus hondas. Por lo tanto el nombre de "baleares" proviene de “bala”, en referencia a la velocidad con la que lo honderos disparaban las piedras como una bala.

Hoy en día no existen los guerreros como tal, pero su legado sigue vivo en forma de deporte, como el tiro con arco, lanzamiento de javalina y otras disciplinas que derivan de prácticas de supervivéncia primitivas. Actualmente se hacen competiciones de lanzamiento de honda, con participantes procedentes de todas partes del mundo. No es de extrañar que en estas competiciones los baleares destaquen y queden entre las primeras posiciones, sólo hay que echar un ojo al pasado.

 

Andere artikelen Jeep Safari Menorca

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