Heusinger, whose profound acquaintance with ancient literature, particularly with that pertaining to the early Greek and Roman hippiatrists, few will dispute, declares that shoeing was not known to the Romans; that the writings of the ancient veterinarians are full of remedies for preventing and remedying undue wear of the horn; and that old authors were well acquainted with the use of shoes for diseased feet, but never make mention of the modern iron shoes in the treatment of such.
Mr Rich asserts of the soleæ ferreæ, that ‘they were a protection for the feet of mules employed in draught, intended to answer the same object as the modern horseshoe, though differing materially in its quality and manner of fixing; for the concurrent testimony of antiquity, both
sul-General at Naples, in order to ascertain if the recent investigations at Pompeii had afforded any additional evidence as to the absence of horse-shoes, that gentleman writes to the following effect, on the 24th January, 1869: ‘I have been informed by the Director of the Museum at Naples and of the excavations at Pompeii, that two pieces of bronze have recently been found which may have been used as shoes for a horse, but no other indications of horse-shoes having been in use have been met with. On the other hand, pieces, or rather small plates, of iron have been found, which are believed to be tips or half-shoes, as used at present, as a protection to the hoofs of oxen.’
I have caused further inquiry to be made, and have also applied for drawings of these objects. Should anything satisfactory arrive before the publication of this work, it will be inserted as an appendix.
- Recherches de Pathologie Comparée, vol. i. p. 9. ‘On ne trouve aucun indice de la ferrure chez les anciens Romains.’ ‘ Les ouvrages des anciens vétérinaires sont remplis de remèdes pour prévenir at guérir l'usure de cornes; mais les suites de la ferrure sont seulement mentionnées dans les ouvrages modernes. Les anciens auteurs connoissent bien des sabots pour les pieds malades (soleas sparteas, etc.), mais jamais ils ne font mention des fers dans la cure des pieds malades.’
- Companion to the Latin Dictionary and Greek Lexicon, p. 608.