Page:Horse shoes and horse shoeing.djvu/144

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HORSE-SHOES AND HORSE-SHOEING.

tunics with gilt or silvered girdles. They have spears (λόγχη or λογχίς) having an iron blade a cubit long, and sometimes more. The breadth is almost two palms, for the blade of these saunions (the Gaulish dart) is not less than that of our glaive, and it is a little longer. Of these blades, some are forged straight, others present undulated curves, so that they not only cut in striking, but in addition they tear the wound when they are drawn out.'[1]

Polybius informs us, that in the battle in which the Gauls were defeated by the Consul Æmilius, when the Romans used swords of bronze, those of the Gauls were long, but so badly tempered that they bent when the Gallic warriors struck a hard blow against the Roman armour. It would appear from this observation that the Gaulish swords were made of iron, but that the art of tempering them was unknown.

The priests of the Celts were the learned men and philosophers of these people. Besides their other important functions, and attending to their mysterious rites, they alone afforded instruction in religious matters and all other kinds of knowledge, the art of war excepted. There can scarcely be any doubt as to their possessing an extensive knowledge of metallurgy, particularly with regard to iron, the more valuable secrets being closely retained by these priests. 'The Druids,' says M. Eckstein, 'forged a double kind of sword and lance, the religious arms—the glaive of honour, and the deadly weapons—the sword and lance of combat.'[2]

As before mentioned, the Romans were not an eques-

  1. Vié de Cæsar, vol. ii. pp. 36, 39.
  2. Eckstein. Anciennes Poésies des Gaëls, p. 152.