Page:Horse shoes and horse shoeing.djvu/149

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125
GAULISH ROADS.

and probably for the simple reason that horn is softer than stone. Never, M. Megnin adds, could the horn of the hoofs alone of ever so many generations of horses, passing and repassing, produce any notable furrowing on the rock, and particularly as seen in the imprints at the staircase-like Languetine of Alaise. 'To wear the rock in such a manner iron horse-shoes were necessary.'[1] In a country so rocky and mountainous as Brittany or Franche-Comté, the employment of the horse on anything like a large scale was simply impossible without efficient shoeing, and this attrition of the living rock goes a long way to prove that the Celtic Gauls of this region armed the hoofs of their horses with metal. But the exertions of French archæologists have afforded us additional and incontestable evidence of this fact in their researches in the Celtic graves, particularly those which abound in the vicinity of Alesia.[2] This large hill, covered with the ruins of the

  1. Megnin. Op. cit. p. 17. Bial. Chemins, Habitations, et Oppidum de la Gaule au Temps de Cæsar. Paris, 1864.
  2. Alesia, now perhaps Alise-Sainte-Reine, in the department Côte d'Or, was the capital of the Mandubii, a Gallic people, who dwelt in what is now Burgundy. Much discussion has lately taken place as to which Alesia—for there are several—Cæsar refers. Smith (Classical Dictionary) gives it as an ancient town of the Mandubii in Gallia Lugdunensis, said to have been founded by Hercules, and situated on a high hill (now Auxois), which was washed by the two rivers Lutosa (Oze) and Osera (Ozerain). It was an important fortress, the siege and capture of which was, undoubtedly, the greatest military achievement of Cæsar. All Gaul had risen against the Romans, even the Ædui, the-old allies of the oppressors; but Cæsar conquered them under Vercingetorix, and besieged them in Alesia. No less than 80,000 men were shut up in this town or fort; while Cæsar, with 60,000 troops, lay before it. The Roman General immediately erected a line of contravallation, extending for four leagues, in order to reduce the place by famine, since its situation on a hill, 1500 feet high, and on all