Horse shoes and horse shoeing: their origin, history, uses, and abuses/Chapter II

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CHAPTER II.


the horse with the romans. their cavalry. pliny, camel shoeing. silence of roman hippiatrists in regard to shoeing. cato, varro, horace, virgil, lucan, claudianus, fitzstephen. roman roads, and couriers. columella, julius pollux. diocletian's edict,hoof instruments, apsyrtus, palladius, vegetius renatus, renatus flavius. polybius. carbatinai and embattai. solæ ferrea. catullus, scaliger, suetonius. gold and silver solea. extravagance of the romans. caligula, nero, poppaea, and commodus. theomnestus. solea spartea, and the glante ferreo. hippopodes. chariot-racing. opinions as to the existence of shoeing with the ancients. montfauçon, winckelmann, fabretti, camerarius, pancirolus, vossius, pegge, smith, heusinger, rich. supposed negative evidence of written history and sculpture. temporary shoes and other expedients to preserve the hoofs in japan, china, manilla, singapore, etc. straw shoes. iceland and central asia.

The Romans began to use the horse at a very early period, but not with much advantage until seven hundred years after he had been introduced into Greece; so that the Greeks were well advanced in the management of that animal, and skilled in its employment long before the Romans. For this reason it is that we find much in the writings of the latter that was borrowed from the older civilization; while their system of equitation and general care of the horse was altogether Grecian. During a long time, and even up to a comparatively late date, the army on which the Romans depended for their conquests was mainly composed of infantry—they were not an equestrian nation. But, by degrees, they began to perceive the advantages of cavalry, and during the period when Rome was mistress of the world, and even before, many of the Roman battles were specially planned with a view to the operations of that arm. We can trace on and on, through the history of the Empire, a growing regard for, and dependence on it. Then it played a most important, and in most cases a decisive, part in their battles, as the number of horses and horsemen began to be increased. ‘A storm of horse’ was the language of Antonius, for the brilliant charge of cavalry against an enemy.[1]

But their country, and particularly their capital, was in general more humid than Greece, and their horses more lax in fibre, consequently softer-hoofed. Their legions, scattered in many regions of the world, were brought into contact with nations of horsemen, living and fighting on the backs of small, agile, hard-footed steeds, inured to incessant fatigue.

Though mounted on stronger animals, the Roman cavalry could make but little impression against that of Persia and Arabia. The faculty of moving quickly, and coming down in a flying cloud of skirmishers, as well as rapid retreating and rallying, always assured the superiority of the Numidian and Parthian horse when contending against the heavy infantry and cavalry masses of the Romans.

Dureau de la Malle offers the following reasonable remarks with regard to this subject: ‘The durability of the hoof for a cavalry not shod was an indispensable condition. It appears that the Parthian horses, bred in the plains of Mesopotamia, were not provided with shoes, and this fact alone explains why, in the wars with the Romans, the Parthian armies, almost entirely formed of cavalry, and always victorious in their sandy deserts, melted away or suddenly disappeared when they had pursued their adversaries into the mountainous and volcanic regions of Armenia, which are covered with obsidian and sharp stones; it was simply because the Parthian or Persian horses were not shod. The absence of a protection to the horn explains why—and I believe that this fact has not yet been remarked or appreciated at its just value—the Ten Thousand Greeks, in their retreat after the battle of Cunaxa, and of Mark Antony and Julian, falling back on Armenia and its mountains after their defeat in the plains, were able to escape from the numerous Persian and Parthian cavalry which incessantly pursued them.’[2]

If the Greeks were unacquainted with the art of attaching a rim of metal or other hard substance to the part of the hoof brought into contact with the ground, it might be expected that the Romans who imitated them so closely in equestrian matters would not, at any rate for some time, be in a position to devise anything of the kind; and that, as a consequence, the utility of the horse must have been as limited as with the Grecians. And such would appear to be the fact. When nearly all the arts had attained a high degree of perfection, the one in question, which would have been of the greatest assistance to the conquering armies of Greece and Rome, was yet, it seems, unknown to them. Of this, in their writings, we have apparently ample evidence.

We have similar injunctions and observations with regard to the care and quality of the hoofs, and to their being uncovered, as well as to the injuries sustained in travelling, as we had from the Greek writers. No author mentions metal plates for horses' hoofs fastened on with nails.

Pliny (A.D. 60) is very minute and circumstantial in his history of discoveries, and in other portions of his writings. He tells us that Tychius, the Boeotian, first invented or taught the art of making shoes for the feet of men, and enumerates many other discoverers; but nothing whatever as to the invention or employment of horse-shoes, though he speaks of the introduction of bridles and saddles by Pelethronius, and the people of Phrygia as being the first to use chariots. With regard to the camel, however, he follows Aristotle closely in his description of that animal's foot, and the way in which it was then protected: ‘The camel has pastern bones like those of the ox, but somewhat smaller, the feet being cloven, with a slight line of division, and having a fleshy sole, like that of the bear; hence it is, that in a long journey the animal becomes fatigued, and the foot cracks, if it is not shod {calceatu).’[3]

The term employed by the Roman naturalist to designate shoeing is referred to in a foot-note in the edition of his writings from which this paragraph is extracted: ‘Quam ob causam, inquit Philos. loc. cit. in bellicis expeditionibus, carbatinis calceantur, cum ipsis pes dolet. Est autem καρβατινη vile et rusticum calceamentum, una sappactum solea.’ The Mongol Tartars, as I have before noticed, seldom if ever shoe their ponies, chiefly, perhaps, because of the scarcity of iron, their peripatetic mode of life, and the large numbers of these animals they always have to select from; but perhaps also as much from the presence of camels in their droves of animals, and which are their principal beasts of burthen. In consequence of these creatures being able to traverse the dreary steppes of Mongolia without suffering much injury, they are preferred; and in thus economizing the labours of the horse, they diminish the need for shoeing it. According to M. Huc,[4] however, the camel in that distant region is not exempt from some of the evils which are incidental to the unshod feet of horses; and he relates that, after a long journey, when this most useful creature has become footsore, the Tartars make sheepskin shoes for it.

My friend Mr Michie, who has travelled overland from Peking to Siberia, across the desert of Gobi, tells me that whenever a camel's feet have become tender from long journeying, it assumes the recumbent position; and this being observed by the driver, an examination is at once made of the soles, when, if the thick cuticle which covers these pads is found raised and looking white-blistered, as it were, shoeing is determined on. This is accomplished as follows. Two or three strong Mongols watch their opportunity, and when the creature is still reposing and off its guard, they make a simultaneous rush upon it, throw it on its side, and in a few seconds of time secure it; then with much dexterity a square piece of leather, large enough to cover the bruised place, is applied, and nimbly, yet firmly stitched with a slightly curved needle to the foot, through the thick skin of the sole. After this the beast is able at once to resume its toil.

This is bold treatment, and eminently suggestive of that originality which must have prompted the desperate attempt, when made for the first time, to nail a rim of iron to the horse's foot. The one appears at first sight as hazardous as the other, and were we still ignorant of the art of nail-shoeing, I fear many of us would be incredulous if told that it was practised by other nations.

Roman writers on agriculture and other subjects are silent on that of shoeing, as it is now understood; though from the general minuteness with which they treat all details connected with their studies, had they not been unconscious of it altogether, it must, one cannot help concluding, have received at least some passing allusion. Nearly all, however, speak of the deperdition of the hoofs, and the qualities they should possess to enable them to withstand wear.

Marcus P. Cato, commonly designated the Censor (B.C. 234-149), says nothing in reference to this matter in his ‘De Re Rustica.’

Marcus Varro (B.C. 60), in his celebrated work, when advising as to the choice of a horse, says: ‘It ought to have upright, straight, and symmetrical limbs, round knees, not too large, nor yet inclining inwards, and hard hoofs,’[5] showing that the latter were an essential quality in unshod horses. He also asserts that the hoofs are injured by standing in manure, as the horn thereby becomes softened.[6]

Q. F. Horace (B.C. 30), in one of his famous satires, alludes to the mode of buying horses as practised by a certain class in his day. ‘This is the custom with men of fortune; when they buy horses they inspect them covered: that if a beautiful forehand (as very often happens) be supported by a tender hoof, it may not take in the buyer, who may be eager for the bargain, because the back is handsome, the head little, and the neck stately. This they do judiciously.’[7] And the same author, in one of his admirable Odes, alludes to the sound caused by the horses' unshod feet on the smooth flagstones of their wonderfully paved roads, and in a sense similar to that noticed in the Greek writers already quoted: ‘And the horseman will beat the streets of the city with sounding hoofs.’[8]

It is interesting to note, that the poetical epithet of ‘sounding foot.’ is almost constantly applied to the horse by various writers, at this and a later period. For example:

Virgil (B.C. 20) in the Æneid, exclaims, ‘Infatuate! who, with brazen car, and the prancing of his horn-hoofed steeds, would needs counterfeit the storms and inimitable thunder.’[9] And again: ‘Their acclamations rise; and, a squadron formed, the hoof beats with trampling din the mouldering plain.’[10] In another place he also alludes to the favourite epithet by which this animal was popularly known to the Roman—that of Sonipes. ‘On its sounding hoofs the horse stands, and impatient champs the foaming bit.’[11]

In the Georgics, when he wishes to point out in a particular manner, one of the most cherished qualities in the noble animal he so beautifully describes in that poem — the density and shape of the external covering of the foot,— he eloquently says of the war-horse: ‘With his hoof of solid and deeply-resounding horn, he hollows out the earth.’[12] Or as Sotheby more poetically expresses it,

‘earth around
Rings to the solid hoof that wear the ground.’

Virgil mentions the wheels shod with iron as ferati orbes, but makes not the most distant allusion to a like garniture on hoofs.

And M. A. Lucan (A.D. 60) in his poem ‘Pharsalia,’ frequently mentions the nature of the horse's feet. For instance, when speaking of the horses belonging to Curio's detachment, which had fallen into an ambuscade when attacking the Numidians, he says: ‘Not there did the charger, moved by the clanging of trumpets, shake the rocks with the beating of his hoof. .... Nor avails it any one to have cut short the delay of his horny-hoofed steed, for they have neither space nor force for the onset.’[13] And referring to an incident in the campaign which culminated in that important engagement, it is written: ‘Pompey care deters, by reason of the land being exhausted for affording fodder, which the horseman in his course has trodden down, and with quickened steps the horny-hoof has beaten down the shooting field.’[14] The poet Claudianus, three centuries later, addressing the Emperor Honorius, in one of his epigrams exclaims,

‘O felix sonipes cui tanti fraena mereri
     Numinis.’

Even so late as the 12th century, Fitz-Stephens, when describing London, and the excellent quality of the horses, remarks, ‘Cum talium sonipedem cursus imminet,’ etc. The expression was, doubtless, borrowed from Virgil, or some of the old Latin poets. And yet later, the characteristic designation is alluded to, for Ludwig Carrio, in commenting on Leutprand's Chronicle, quotes an old verse, a line of which runs: ‘His parvus sonipes, nec marti notus.’

Though the appellation may be traced to the Greeks, yet it has been surmised that it had its origin with the Romans, from the circumstance that in consequence of their not knowing how to protect their horses' feet in a substantial manner, they were compelled to construct their roads to accommodate the unarmed hoof; thus were formed those mighty works which surpassed all the other monuments of this people. Made at immense labour and expense, they extended, it may be said, from the Pillars of Hercules, through Spain and Gaul, to the Euphrates and the most southern parts of Egypt. Everything was sacrificed in their construction; hills were sometimes perforated, and mountains and great rocks were deeply cut for their passage, as at Terracina. Those of Italy, if we are to judge by their remains, were the best made; the Appian Way is perhaps the most solid. These admirably formed highways were elaborately and curiously built. The centre, being subjected to the greatest amount of wear, was higher than the sides, and consisted of strata of sand, gravel, and excellent cement, overlaid by the pavement, in the form of not very large flat stones, laid close together and firmly bound by the cement, thus making a hard smooth causeway. Near Rome the flags were of granite. From their very even surface, and their passing between banks, mounds, and through valleys, the hard hollow hoofs of prancing steeds would sound loud enough, when compared with the noise made by other quadrupeds. Hence the epithet of ‘sounding feet’ was very appropriate, and naturally suggested itself, according to Bracy Clark.

Montfauçon says the surface was very smooth, like glass, a circumstance which must have made the horses in wet weather slide about very much; even in the best weather, travelling must have been uncommonly slow, had horses worn iron shoes, because of their slipperiness. Besides, they would not have lasted nearly so long, and so far as I can ascertain there are no traces of horse-shoe wear to be discovered on their surface—a fact worthy of notice. The Romans travelled very fast on them, so well adapted were they, all things considered, for the preservation of the horses' hoofs.

Towards the Christian era, Augustus introduced couriers (publici Cursores, or Veredarii) to forward the public despatches, and along these roads government post-houses (mutationes) were erected at intervals of five or six miles, and each was constantly furnished with forty horses. By means of these very frequent relays, no doubt necessary where the hoofs were exposed to damaging attrition, it was possible to travel a hundred miles a day.

About a century before our era, Cicero received at Rome, on the 28th September, a letter dated in Britain the first day of the same month. Considering the passage by sea, and crossing the Alps, or making a wide détour to avoid this troublesome mountain range, the twenty-six days appear a remarkably short space of time to travel this distance in. And three hundred years later, during the reign of the Emperor Theodosius, Cassarius, an important magistrate, travelled from Antioch to Constantinople, a distance of 725 Roman (665 English) miles, in six days.

At Terracina, where a stony ridge is cut through to a depth of 26 feet to form the public way, the glassy surface of this rocky thoroughfare is grooved (sillonné) transversely, so that the horses might have foot-hold.

It may here be noticed that at Tempe, by the side of the Peneus, the highway is excavated in the rock, but is so steep and rugged, that possibly to save their horses' hoofs, as well as to prevent their tumbling into the river, the Greeks scooped out resting-places or wide steps to diminish the risks attending a descent.[15]

We will return again to the Roman authors.

L. J. M. Columella of Cadiz (A.D. 40), a writer well acquainted with the science of his day, and a scholar, gives us an admirable outline of veterinary medicine as it was then known to the Romans; and his influence on the development of this department of the healing art has been very great. In one of the twelve books of the ‘De Re Rustica,’ still in existence, he alludes to the stable management of a country villa in the following terms: ‘The master should frequently go into his stable, and should be particular in observing that the floor of the stalls is sufficiently high in the centre, and not made of soft wood, as ignorance or negligence often makes it. The floor should be made of hard oak-plank closely laid; for this kind of wood hardens the hoofs of horses and makes them like stones[16]

It is somewhat remarkable that, as already observed, in Java, where horses are unshod, they are kept standing on hard-wood floors without any straw or other soft substance between the boards and their hoofs; and at Singapore and Manilla—places I visited in 1860—all the horses are made to stand on planks raised above the ground, in order, I suppose, that the undefended hoots may be kept dry and hard.

In selecting horses, Columella recommends that they should have ‘hard, upright hoofs, hollow in the sole, and round, with medium-sized coronets.’[17] Elsewhere he advises that the foal should be taken from its dam when a year old, and pastured among the mountains and in other exposed or inhospitable places, ‘so that the hoofs may be hardened to resist wear, and then become fitted for long journeys.’[18]

And Pliny, about this period, observes, in speaking of mules, ‘They are produced by an union between the mare and the domestic ass; they are swift, and have extremely hard feet.’[19]

Julius Pollux, a Greek, and the favourite and preceptor of the Emperor Commodus, in whose reign he died (A.D. 238), has left us, in one of his works,[20] some excellent maxims concerning horses. Indicating the particulars in which a good horse differed from a bad one he maintains that it is more especially in the nature of their feet. ‘A corpore quidem ungulae cavae, ut scilicet quam vocant testudinem, elata sit, ne in solum impingens, molestetur: hujusmodi enim ungula (ut Xenophon inquit) cymbali instar ad solum resonat.’ A bad horse was known by the inferior quality of its hoofs and their softness, ‘mollis ungulas;’ while a good one should have them ‘carneæ pleneæ.’ It will be observed that he refers to Xenophon; he also follows him in recommending a stable paved with large round stones to harden the feet. In this work, he mentions every article of horse-furniture then in use, but is silent with regard to that for the hoofs.

In 1827, an edict of the Emperor Diocletian, supposed to have been promulgated about a.d. 300, was discovered. It fixes the maximum rate of wages and price of provisions, and two passages in it give us an idea, not only of the functions and emoluments of the individual who ministered to the requirements of sick animals, but also affords another proof that the hoofs of solipedes were not shod. The mulomedicus who clipped the hair and trimmed the hoofs, was to receive for each animal six denarii; and for currying and cleansing the head, twenty denarii.[21] Had shoeing been known or practised, it must have been mentioned in such an edict as this. And here we may notice, in connection with this hoof-paring among the Romans, that Bonanni has given drawings of two iron objects found at Rome, near the Castra Peregrina, which Montfauçon[22] reproduces as ancient Roman instruments of farriery. One, he notes, is like the present boutoir or boutavan of the French maréchal ferrant, and the other has been intended to remove the horn and incise it in cases of disease (fig. 2).

Horse shoes and horse shoeing page 76.jpg

fig. 2

These are the only relics of Roman farriery I have been able to trace; and their having been found fig. 2 at the capital of that empire, would show that the hoofs required paring and dressing, and that this was of frequent occurrence, since the mulomedicus was bound to be satisfied with a fixed price for performing that duty. Vegetius recommends the employment of such instruments.

Apsyrtus (A.D. 330-340), a Greek of the Byzantine empire, and one of the most renowned veterinarians of this period, who was employed in the army of Constantine the Great, says that those horses which have a small frog are swift of foot and valuable;[23] and those which have their frogs growing close and small were best for work.[24] Leading us to infer that those horses which had wide flat soles and prominent frogs, being unshod were liable to become lame from bruises to these parts.

Palladius Rutilius Taurus Æmilianus (A.D. 300—400) advises that strong oaken planks be laid down as a flooring for stables, and that straw be laid over them at night only, so that it might be soft for the horses when resting, and hard for their hoofs when standing.[25]

Publius Vegetius Renatus (A.D. 450—510?)[26], a veterinarian, has left us the most complete treatise on veterinary medicine of any ancient writer. He describes more fully than any other Roman hippiatrist the maladies and accidents to which horses where liable in his day; and though he speaks of contracted tendons, horses and mules walking on the fronts of their hoofs, and the casualties these animals are exposed to, as well as the method of curing them, yet he says nothing of shoeing (in a modern sense), either as producing disease or injuries, or as a means of remedying these.

When treating of the hoofs and the feet generally, however, it is plainly intimated that such a practice as nailing on iron plates was not available in his age. He says: ‘By the ruggedness of roads, and long journeys, the hoofs of animals are worn out, and hinder their walking. (Animallum ungulæ asperitate ac longitudine itinerum deteruntur et impediunt incessum, etc.) From a twisting or contusion also, if horses or mules be forced to gallop or run on a rugged or stony road, bruises and chafings arise; lastly, though no cause has preceded, when they stand idle in the stables, they begin to halt and go lame. . . . . You shall foment the feet that are bruised and worn underneath with warm water.’[27] After a journey, it is recommended that the horses' feet ‘be carefully washed and examined, lest any clay or mud remain about their joints and soles. They must also be rubbed with ointment, that their hoofs may be nourished, and that what horn the journey has worn away may, through the virtue of the medicament, grow up again.’ He then gives various prescriptions for applications which nourish the hoofs and make them firm. These were to be rubbed in around the coronets and over the feet. At the wane of the moon ‘the soles and hoofs of the animals must be trimmed with a paring iron, which allows the heat to escape, cools and refreshes them, and makes their hoofs the stronger.’[28] ‘It is a more prudent counsel to preserve the soundness of horses' feet, than to cure any disorder in them; but their hoofs are strengthened if the horses or mules stand in a very clean stable, without dung or moisture, and if their stalls are floored or laid with oaken planks. . . . . You must remember that the hoofs are renewed by growing, and therefore after a certain number of days, or every month, such care ought not to be wanting, by which the weakness of nature is assisted and amended.’ In another place, speaking of the stable and stalls, he closely follows Columella. ‘A careful master must go frequently into the stable. In the first instance, take care that the place where they stand and lie be raised higher than the other parts of the floor, and that it be compactly made—not of soft wood, as frequently happens through unskilfulness or negligence, but of solid, hard, lasting oak, well put together; for this kind of wood hardens the horses' hoofs like rocks. Moreover, the trench which is to receive the urine ought to have a sink or drain under the ground to convey it away, lest the urine overflowing touch the horses feet.’[29]

‘The hoofs of animals that are too small, grow larger, or such as are worn, are repaired if you take,’ etc. (Animalibus exiguæ crescunt, vel attritae reparantur, etc.) Numerous recipes are given to harden soft hoofs, especially the soles. Frequent mention is made of suffusion in the feet, and casting the hoofs, doubtless through injuries sustained from the want of shoeing. ‘If perchance, from the fatigue of a journey, a suffusion or defluxion shall happen in his feet,’[30] etc. ‘If a horse or mule has cast his hoof the cure is difficult.’[31] ‘But such horses or mules whose hoofs have become diseased by suffusion or spreading of matter, or by some voluntary act of your own, or by the under part having been injured by some obstacle in the way, and have been a long time lame, this is the cure.’[32] The principal remedy proposed for these hoof-worn animals consisted essentially of pitch and rosin melted, and applied to the sole and the part coming in contact with the ground. It may be well to note here, that in the East Indies, melted pitch is largely applied to the feet of elephants when they become lame from journeying, or are about to travel over rocky ground.

Perhaps a stronger proof than any that horses were not accustomed to be shod at this time, lies in the fact, that in the many directions given with great detail as to the management of the feet, and the performance of various operations in and on the sole, not a word is said as to removing the shoe previously, or replacing it afterwards. Besides, Renatus mentions every malady to which the unshod foot is liable; had nailed shoes been in vogue he must have spoken of the accidents arising from their use, such as pricks from the nails, which give rise to great lameness and often dangerous consequences now-a-days; and he could scarcely omit noticing wounds and fractures caused by kicks from shod hoofs. Mention is made, however, of horses and mules being squeezed or bruised with the stroke of a wheel or an axle-tree.

Vegetius appears to have been no stranger to the manners and customs of other and oftentimes distant countries, and to have been perfectly acquainted with the breeds of horses in them. For instance, in treating of the characteristics of horses, by which their native country could be ascertained, he writes: ‘In exchanging or selling horses, a lying story with regard to their native country is used, to introduce the greatest fraud. For men being desirous of selling them at the dearest rate, they falsely pretend that they are of the best breed; which circumstance has induced us, who, by travelling frequently into so many different and distant foreign countries, are perfectly well acquainted with all kinds of horses, and have often kept them in our own stables, to explain the characters and real merit and qualifications of every nation. For not to mention the meaner services they are employed in, it is manifest that horses are chiefly necessary for three uses—for war, for the circus, and for the saddle. The horses of the Hunni are by far the most useful for war, by reason of their endurance of fatigue, cold, and hunger. Next to them, those of Thuringia and Burgundy withstand fatigue and bad usage the best. The Phrygian or Friesland horses are reckoned invincible, both with respect to swiftness and perseverance in running. Next, those of Epirus, Sarmatia, and Dalmatia, although they are obstinate and refractory to the bridle, yet are reckoned very fit for war. The noble disposition of the Cappadocian breed for chariots is much renowned; equally, or next to these, the glory of the prize in the circus is reckoned due to the Spanish horses; nor is Sicily much behind in affording for the circus such as are not inferior to them, although Africa is accustomed to furnish the Spanish breed with the swiftest of any. Persia, in all its provinces, furnishes better horses for the saddle, and they are reckoned as a great part of their patrimonial estate; being very gentle and easy to ride upon, tractable and submissive, and of exceeding great value for the nobleness of their breed and pedigree. The Armenian and Sophenian follow next; nor in this respect must you despise the Sicilian horses, nor those of Epirus, if their manners, or good temper and behaviour, and beauty do not forsake them. Those of the Hunni have a great crooked head, projecting eyes, small nostrils, broad jaws and cheek-bones, a strong and stiff neck, manes hanging down to their knees, large ribs, crooked spine, strong bushy tail, strong legs, the lower part of their feet small, and full, spreading hoofs; their flanks hollow, and bodies angular; no roundness in their quarters, or brawny development of their muscles; their stature is rather in length than height; the bones are large, there is a graceful leanness, and their very deformity constitutes their beauty. Their temper and disposition is moderate and prudent, and they are patient of wounds.

‘The Persian horses do not differ very much in their stature and build from other kinds of horses, but they are known and distinguished from them only by a certain gracefulness in their gait and manner of walking. Their step is short and frequent, and such as delights and elevates the rider; nor is it taught by art, but freely bestowed upon them by Nature,—for their action is a mean between ‘pacers’ and those commonly called ‘gallopers;’ and whereas they are like neither of them, they are thought to have something common to both. These, as has been proved, have more gracefulness in a short journey, but in a long journey their endurance is but small. They have a proud spirit, and unless it be subdued with continual labour, they are stubborn and contumacious with their riders. Nevertheless, they are prudent, and, what is wonderful with so much fire and spirit, with the greatest care do they maintain their graceful carriage, the neck, being bent into a bow, so that the chin appears to lean upon the breast.’[33]

A writer who thus carefully describes the varieties of foreign horses, and enters into such details with each, would surely have mentioned the practice of preserving the feet of these useful creatures had it been known to him; but nowhere in his writings does he allude to it.

Vegetius Renatus Flavius, who flourished towards the end of the fourth century, in the reign of the Emperor Valentine, has often been confounded with the preceding writer, and his ‘De Re Militari’ has been, by Bracy Clark and many others, ascribed to Publius Vegetius. In this much-valued and classical military treatise, there is a particular enumeration of everything pertaining to an army forge; yet there is no mention made of workmen to shoe horses, nor yet of any implement or article intended for such a purpose.

For examples of the losses sustained during war through horses' feet being unprotected, we are not so well supplied as in Greek history. One marked instance, however, would appear to be shown in Polybius, when that writer informs us that the horses of Hannibal's army (B.C. 216) lost their hoofs in the marshes of Etruria: ‘Equorum etiam multis, ob longum per paludes iter, ungulæ exciderunt,’

That a defence for the feet of some of the larger domestic animals was in use, there can be no doubt. Aristotle for the Greeks, and Pliny for the Romans, state that the feet of camels were in time of war, or on long journeys, shod. And we infer that the Καρβατιναι mentioned by them were formed of a pliable leather sock covering the foot, stouter perhaps on the sole than elsewhere, and which, passing up the leg, was there fastened by thongs or bandages.

A friend who was for a long period surveying in Africa, and whose duties carried him as far as the Soudan, informed me that horses are but seldom shod on the immense alluvial surface of the Sahara, where, for enormous distances, not a stone the size of a pebble is to be seen. In the rocky or stony regions, however, all are shod, and on long journeys the retention of the shoes and protection of the hoofs is a matter of much concern to the horsemen. To guard against the evil consequences that would follow the loss of one or two shoes by a horse when others could not be readily supplied, the conductors or followers of caravans, as well as the horsemen, are careful always to carry with them a sufficient quantity of leather to make socks to wrap the exposed hoof in. On the death of a camel—an event of frequent occurrence—a piece of the thickest part of the hide is removed; and when this begins to dry, it is subjected to long-continued and almost incessant manipulation, to make it soft and pliable, so as to fit closely to the hoof when required. The Arabs are often observed on the march pulling, rubbing, twisting, and stretching the lately-stripped camel-skin, solely with the intention of using it as a sock for the horses or camels when they become foot-sore.

In Japan, in 1860, the large black bulls used as pack animals, were often seen wearing foot-covers of this description, to enable them to traverse the roads with their heavy burthens.

There is nothing, however, to show that the ‘Embattai’ of Xenophon, or the ‘Carbatinai’ of Aristotle and Pliny, were employed for solipedes. Nevertheless, now and again a curious passage occurs in the writings of some of the authorities we have just quoted, and in historical descriptions, which acquaints us that on certain occasions, contrivances, which would appear to have been only of a temporary character, were put on the feet of horses, mules, or oxen, to prevent injury to the horn, or to assist in remedying disease. As with the camel, the foot-defences of these creatures seems to have been suggested by that worn by man himself, and improvement in material, according to the ingenuity or wealth of individuals, would, of course, from time to time appear. But there is no description of these improved defences, and their form and means of attachment to the limb have given rise to endless surmises and disputes.

Catullus (B.C. 50) speaks of some kind of shoe, when he is desirous of throwing one of his too solid townsmen off a bridge into the river, so that he might shake him out of his lethargy, as a mule leaves its shoe in a stiff bog: ‘And leave your sluggish mind sunk in thick mire, as the mule his iron shoe in a tenacious bog.’[34]

Joseph Scaliger,[35] in a note on this passage from Catullus, is of opinion that this solea was drawn over the hoof, and not fastened with nails, and in this opinion he is perhaps justified. An ordinary leather sock, such as would prove serviceable for the wear of a camel, would soon be found to be but little adapted to the rough usage of a horse or mule; the sharp unyielding margin of the hoof-wall must in a very brief space, and particularly on paved roads or rocky ground, have cut through any envelope of hide or other soft material; so borrowing the idea from their own caliga or calceus, or the wheel—the ferati orbes of Virgil, they shod this covering with stronger materials, such as brass, iron, or even silver, or gold, but most frequently iron. Like their shoes, these soleae, or horse-sandals, were in all probability fastened round the legs with loops and straps, or fillets. It may be observed here that the name given to their own shoe or sandal—calceus or calceamentum—was never given to this appliance for horses and mules, which is always designated solea; the act of shoeing, however, is found expressed by the verb calceo, and is alike employed for man and beast.

The fastening with thongs or straps must of course have been a very insecure one, as modern experience has taught us, and the leathern sole covering the ground surface of the foot would still further tend to weaken it, particularly in marshy or clayey soil. Even now, with our incalculably firmer-attached armature, it is well known that in the hunting-field, when crossing heavy ground, a leather sole acts like a sucker, and is almost certain to cause the shoe which covers it to be left in the mire. Such must have been a frequent occurrence with the solea; so that Catullus only referred to it in a figurative but popular sense.

To show that the soleæ were probably fastened to the extremity in this manner, the example afforded by Suetonius (A.D. 120), may be quoted. In that historian's ‘Lives of the Twelve Emperors,’ when treating of Vespasian (A.D. 60), he casually intimates that this good Emperor was in the habit of preserving the feet of his mules when travelling. Suspecting once during a journey that his mule-driver had alighted to shoe his mules, in order to have an opportunity for allowing a person they met, and who was engaged in a law-suit, to speak to him, he (Vespasian) asked him how much he got for shoeing the mules, and insisted on having a share of the profits.[36]

The Commentator of Suetonius, under the Life of Vespasian, has made the same blunder in introducing words into the text which do not belong to it as Stephanus; and this, as Bracy Clark has pointed out, has induced Schœffer, the author of ‘De Re Vehiculari Veterum,’ to perpetuate the error. He writes: ‘Ut testatur Suetonius in Vespasiano, qui frequenter solebat lectica deferri in villam suam Catiliam, sed a mulis quoniam quadraginta milliarum intervallo abesset Roma: Hinc qui lecticam ejus deferebat, solicitatoris cujusdam donis corruptus, è mulis retentus fingeret se aptaturum soleam ferream pedi unius ex mulis, tempus dabat supplici ad porrigendum Imperatori libellum.’ It is seen that there is no authority for this ‘soleam ferream' in the text.

As Mr Clark has remarked, the circumstance of the emperors muleteer dismounting and fastening on the shoes of the mules, in order to detain the car while the solicitor who had bribed him presented his petition, would show that they were not attached by nails; for nailed shoes are not so readily put on in the highway, and coachmen would not be likely to carry tools and other requisites for this purpose. The passage in Suetonius is against such an inference. The muleteer doubtless dismounted to readjust, or make more secure, the fastenings of some of the soleæ, which were supposed to have broken loose.

And Ribauld de la Chapelle,[37] in the last century, was also of opinion that the ancient Romans did not put the modern-shaped shoe on their horses or mules, but enveloped them in a sock (sabot), an act indicated by the words, 'Jumentis soleas inducere.' He alludes to this instance in the Life of Vespasian, where the muleteer could change the coverings of the mules' feet when they were worn out.

Suetonius, in commenting on the great extravagance of Nero (A.D. 60), asserts that he never travelled with less than a thousand four-wheeled chariots, drawn by mules whose feet were shod with silver; and the drivers of which were dressed in scarlet jackets of the finest Canusian cloth.[38] And the elder Pliny, speaking of the instances of luxury in silver plate among the Romans, amongst others relates the following: ‘We find the orator Calvus plaining that the saucepans are made of silver; but it has been left for us to invent a plan of covering our very carriages with chased silver, and it was in our own age that Poppæa, the wife of the Emperor Nero, ordered her favourite mules to be shod even with gold.’[39] This reference to shoeing has troubled many commentators. Vossius[40] notes from Xiphilinus, that Poppæa's mules were many of them furnished in their feet with shoes made of broom twisted and gilt. He calls their golden shoes επιχρυσια ΠΑΡΤΙΑ. In Dion Cassius' History of Rome, it is mentioned that this Sabina had her mules shod with gold, and that the milk of 50 she-asses was devoted to her lavatory.[41] In the same work, we learn that the barbarous Emperor Commodus (A.D. 190), caused his horses' hoofs to be gilt or covered with gold. ‘When the horses became too old for the race-course, they were sent away to the country, Commodus replacing them by others, and introducing these into the circus with their hoofs gilt, and their backs covered with a cloth of gold. When they were suddenly brought before the people loud shouts arose from every one, “Behold, Pertinax is here!”[42]

The allusion made by Pliny to the garniture of Poppæa's mules, Mr Pegge remarks, would seem to imply that the solea was pulled on like an ordinary sock; but, as previously mentioned, Vossius doubts this: ‘Verum qua ratione absque clavis id fieri possit, non satis liquet;’ and then he makes the assertion before alluded to, to prove that even the Greeks put on the hoof-armature with nails: ‘in vetusto exemplari Hippiatricorum Græcorum, quod habeo, cui etiam picturæ accedunt, clavorum quibus trajiciantur ungulæ signa et vestigia manifeste apparent,’ And yet, Pegge maintains, the σωαξτία εωίχρυσα mentioned above could not well be nailed, but must have been drawn on and fastened in a different manner, perhaps by being tied round the leg, like the snow-bags Xenophon saw, and as ὑωοδήματα used for the soleæ or shoes of mules seems to imply. Scaliger,[43] from attentive examination of all the passages referring to this subject, certainly was of opinion that the shoes of horses and mules, whatever may have been their materials, were not fastened on with nails, particularly in Suetonius' and Nero's time.

Aldrovandus[44] remarks, that Suetonius, in his Life of Caligula (A.D. 40), expressly notices the iron shoe, with eight or more nails; and Colonel Smith,[45] who quotes this naturalist, appears to think him correct. ‘We read concerning Caligula, in Suetonius, that the day previous to the races in the circus, he ordered the soldiers to maintain strict silence in the neighbourhood, lest his horse should be disturbed. He remembered when a journey was to be undertaken, if the country to be traversed was mountainous or rough, that, instead of eight, fourteen nails were to be affixed; because such ground wore away the nails rapidly.’ I have carefully read two editions of Suetonius (one of them the ‘Bibliotheca Classica Latina’ of C. B. Hase; Paris, 1828), but do not find the most distant allusion to horse-shoes in the ‘Life of Caligula.’ The reference is not trustworthy.

For reasons which will be hereafter given, it might be concluded, that when shoes for horses or mules are mentioned by any of the Roman or Greek writers immediately preceding or following the commencement of our era, that the modern method of applying a shoe to these animals' feet is not meant, and that there is no proof that it was known. But as additional evidence that the solea was a temporary contrivance, secured round the pastern or fetlock with straps or thongs, we may refer to the writings of Roman and Greek hippiatrists, who testify to their nature and uses in several instances, and in a more or less explicit manner.

Columella, the agricultural writer already noticed, and who lived near the time of Augustus, prescribes a shoe or sandal of broom, or wicker-work, for lame oxen, though not for ordinary wear, but only as a surgical appliance, under the designation of solea spartea. Speaking of cattle that had become crippled in the limbs, he says that if it be low down, or in the hoofs, ‘you should make a small opening between the digits with a knife, and afterwards apply soft bandages steeped in salt and vinegar; then have the foot covered with a shoe of spartea, let there be great caution exercised to avoid wet, and keep the stable very dry.’[46]

Theomnestus, a Greek veterinarian of the Byzantine empire, of whom extremely little is known, save what is to be casually gleaned from his vivacious writings, but who is supposed to have lived in the 6th century, speaks about excessive abrasion of the hoofs, and the application of this rush or wicker slipper. ‘If a horse is much worn in the hoofs by travelling, and is then neglected, he becomes feverish, and is soon destroyed by the fever if not attended to. To prevent this, you must use warm water in which the roots of althæa or wild mallows have been boiled, and foment the feet with it till they become clean and soft. Then the loose parts must be removed from the hoofs, and all bruises be laid bare in the water; and then you are to have in immediate readiness slender twigs of broom, or twine cords, and rough cloths, tow and other coarse stuffing, with garlic (αλλιον) and axle-grease—one by one, so as to have them ready to fix by ties (or bands) round the hoofs. If they (the feet) should inflame, let blood be abstracted from the coronets, and cause the horse to remain in a warm place where there is sunshine, or let a fire be kindled if it be winter-time, and make him a bed of dry dung, that he may not stand on what is hard. The feet may suffer in this way without being much inflamed. Let him be attended for eight days, and stand in-doors on dung; also have his water brought to him, that his hoofs by walking be not torn asunder, but may grow, being nourished by what comes from the dung.’[47]

As Bracy Clark has noted, the twigs of the ‘spartium’ are here recommended to be simply employed as cords to maintain the soft dressing to the tender feet, enclosing the hoofs like a net.

The word spartum, as used by the Greeks and Romans, was meant by them to indicate several species of plants which, like hemp or flax, could be easily manufactured into various articles of utility. But the former people, more particularly, applied this term to a shrub, the Spartium Junceum, or Spanish broom, which is found in a wild state on the dry lands of the Levant and the southern parts of Europe, and the slender branches of which were woven into baskets, while the shoots were prepared and put to the same uses as hemp. At the present day, the people of Lower Languedoc, towards Lodeve, manufacture it into various household textures, such as tablecloths, shirts, and other things, employing the bark as fuel. It is the species called by Pliny (Book xxxix. cap. 9) genista, but which he seems, though wrongly, to consider as another variety—the Stipa (macrochloa) tenacissima. This last variety certainly grows in Spain and Africa, and is there designated sparto or esparto. As described by him (Book xix. cap. 2), it is still in great request for the manufacture of baskets, mattresses, ship-cables and cordage, and when treated as hemp, is converted into more delicate articles. The Spaniards make of it a kind of shoes called alpergates, which form a large export commodity, being in popular demand in the Indies, where these sandals are more suitable than anything else. It is also an essential material for the fabrication of coverings for rooms, balconies, and chairs; and makes, besides, excellent panniers for mules. It is most likely that the Greeks employed the spartium and the Romans the stipa, in making shoes for their beasts of burthen.

In more modern times, however, sandals for horses have been made from spartum, as appears from J. Leonis.[48] It is also now largely employed in the manufacture of paper.

We have already examined what Vegetius had to say about horses' feet, and their injuries from non-shoeing. We will now consider what he relates with regard to some portions of their treatment, as a supplement to his mention of ‘detritus pedibus,’ ‘subtritus pedibus,’ etc. He several times alludes to the soleæ spartæa or shoes, of Spanish broom, particularly for the ox when foot-sore, or when disease was present; and to show that this animal sometimes wore this, or something analogous, when travelling or at work, he writes: ‘If the sock has hurt his pastern or hoof, wrap up hard pitch and hog's lard,’etc. ‘But if the sock has entered into it, the sea-lettuce, which the Greeks call Tithymallos, mixed with salt, is put upon it. Also when his feet are worn and bruised underneath, they are washed with ox's urine made warm; then he is forced to tread upon the burning-hot embers of vine twigs, and his hoofs are anointed with tar, together with oil and hog's lard. Nevertheless, they do not go so lame if, when they are unyoked from their work, their hoofs be washed with cold water, and their pasterns and coronets, as well as the cleft of the hoof itself, be rubbed with old hog's lard.’ ‘If he has trodden upon a nail, or pierced his hoof with a sharp tile or stone . . . . Then having a shoe of Spanish broom put upon it for the space of three days,’[49]etc.

With regard to the horse, we often find the words ‘animal calciabis,’ ’calciatis pedibus per multos dies;’ and when describing the treatment for a horse that has bruised or inflamed his foot, he finishes by adding, ‘you shall take care to put a shoe of Spanish broom upon it, that, after the evacuation of the humours, the hoof may be repaired.’[50] (Sparcia calciare curabis, ut post egestione humore ungula reparetur.)

From this veterinarian, then, we might be led to think that the Romans did not generally shoe their horses, mules, or oxen; and that when they were impelled to do so from motives of pride and display, or from urgent necessity, the shoeing was of the most simple kind, and much as they were accustomed to cover their own feet in a sock of leather or pelt by enveloping the whole surface. It is not improbable that the portion covering the front of the hoof may, when display was wanted, have been gilded, or covered with gold or silver, and the under portion also strengthened by gold, silver, bronze, or iron plates. That this was the case we find amply illustrated elsewhere in Vegetius writings, where he speaks of lemnisci, which were doubtless intended to strengthen the solea, and may have been of strong leather, or even iron; a circumstance of some importance to remember. In the following passage this is found more particularly noticed: ‘Pedes quos sanos habet glante ferreo vel si defuerit, spartea calceabis, cui lemniscos subjicies, et addita fasciola diligentissime colligabis, et suppositicum facies parti illi quæ misera est, ut planas ungulas possit ponere.’[51]

The glante ferreo is found for the first and only time here, and Bracy Clark thinks that it may have been only an insertion into, or corruption of, the text with which, by frequent transcription, the work abounds. He adds: ‘There is, however, something very singular about it, for glans signifies an acorn, the fruit of the oak, and the figure which this fruit presents projecting from its cup, would, if divided by a longitudinal section, not badly represent the figure of the modern horse-shoe, or a section of its cup would do the same; but as nothing is said of nails for fastening it on, it cannot properly be considered, without other collateral evidence, to mean any such thing. It may have been possibly a piece of iron turned round to the figure of the horse's hoof, and which was then fastened on by rivets or otherwise to the lemnisci, or leather soles, and this, it is not at all impossible, might, under the pressure of necessity, have been applied directly to the foot itself, and given birth to the modern horseshoe. It is therefore probable that these metal plates, or acorns of iron, used to strengthen their soleæ, or shoes, were distinguished by the name of glantes ferrei, and the passage tells us if these were not to be had they were to be contented with the lemnisci, and if not these, with the sparteum opus, which was rarely honoured with the title of solea.’[52]

The English edition of Vegetius, published in 1748, thus translates the above passage, which relates to the treatment for disease in the hip: ‘You shall shoe his feet that are sound with an iron patten, or sandal, or if this be lacking, with a shoe made of broom, and you shall put bandages upon it, and bind it up most carefully, and so make it able to support that part which is in misery, that the animal may be able to set down his hoofs flat and full upon the ground.’[53]

At the present day, in this country, what are called poultice-bags or boots, and which are made of leather, fastening with a strap round the pastern, are very frequently shod with an iron shoe to guard them from wear. The Roman soleæ may have resembled these, and it is possible that on other, though rarer, occasions they may have been entirely of iron, suspended to the hoof by a bandage, or strap and buckle.

It is satisfactory that Vegetius has so particularly described the mode of attaching this garniture to the limb: ‘et addita fasciola diligentissime colligabis;’ because it elucidates what might have otherwise been an obscure reference in Apsyrtus, a Greek veterinarian who lived more than a century before Vegetius. In chapter 107 of that writer's work, in the Hippiatrica, is found the heading: ‘Apsyrtus on the injuries from foot defences or fastenings of the same.’ And the chapter goes on to relate: ‘It happens that the legs (μεσοκύνια, the parts from the knees to the hoofs) of the horse, from the foot defences or shackles (ἱπποπέδης), or its fastenings by the thong or cord, become injured, so that the skin is torn off or destroyed, and the tendons of the fetlock are laid bare. There is danger of this accident proving fatal if it happen to both joints. It is proper, therefore, in the first instance, to apply wine, vinegar, or brine and vinegar; next, to use the lipara and soft applications of white plasters; and, to complete the cure, of ceruss one part, of ammoniacum one half, of myrtle-berries a sufficient quantity—then triturating the ammoniacum, mixed with the ceruss, pour upon them the myrtle, and use it.’[54] This passage, and the term ‘hippopodes,’ here used for the first and only time in the ancient veterinary writers, obviously refers to the sandal or solea worn by horses or mules on rare occasions, and to the way in which it was maintained on the extremities by the corrigiœ, or rather the fasciolœ, mentioned by Vegetius. That this was really the case, a very fine terra-cotta or baked clay (the kind named ‘typi’ by Pliny), now in the British Museum (2nd vase Room, and marked T 337), has been brought forward by Bracy Clark as a proof (fig. 3).

Horse shoes and horse shoeing page 99.jpg

fig. 3

The example is certainly, so far as I can ascertain, unique; but taken in connection with what the ancient authors have said in regard to this matter, it would appear to afford conclusive evidence. The age of the tablet is, unfortunately, unknown; but it belongs to a number which were found about the year 1765, in a dry well, near the Porta Latina, at Rome; and which were sometime afterwards added to Mr Townley's collection. The bas-relief exhibits a chariot-race, having something of the Greek character in design. The charioteer, wearing a helmet and what Suetonius calls the ‘quadrigarian’ dress,[55] stands in a two-wheeled curriculus or car, drawn by four horses, which are galloping towards the metæ or pillars, round which the competitors were obliged to turn in these contests of the circus. The upper part of his body appears to be swathed in his robe, and the reins, four in number, two in the left and two in the right hand, according to the fashion of the times, encircle his waist.[56]

The bits are the simple snaffle, and not the curb, which we know the Romans introduced; and Combe,[57] who has made these terra-cottas his particular study, says the instructions of Nestor,[58] that in turning round the goal, the right-hand horse should be urged on with a loose rein, are exactly followed in this instance. The reverse, however, appears to be the case. At the base of the metæ, there may have happened an accident; but this part is rather disfigured; while turning the goal the back of a horseman is seen, with what seems to be reins round his body, and who may only be keeping the course clear. On the upper part of the tablet, which is in size one foot four inches by one foot, is an inscription, Anniae Arescusa, who may have been the winner of the race, or the artist of the terra-cotta. Most important of all, however, for our present purpose, is the representation of what look like bandages on the fore limbs of all the horses—a little rubbed on the nearest, but certainly most distinct on the middle and left-hand horses. There is nothing of the kind on the hind limbs, and this may easily be accounted for. Admitting that these are the bands of the hippopodes, it is well known to all horsemen that the fore feet are more liable to suffer from attrition, when unshod, than the hind ones, simply because they have to support more weight and strain. In India, for instance, cavalry and other horses are frequently only shod on the fore feet, as they require this defence; while the hinder ones can be submitted to a great deal of wear without suffering at all to the same degree.

The fasciolæ cover the limb apparently from the knee downwards, and though nothing of the sandal itself can be distinguished, yet it is to be observed that the hoofs of the fore extremities are much larger, and altogether look clumsier than those behind, which have no bandages above them; a circumstance that leads to the inference that the hippopodes enveloped the hoofs as closely as they could be made to do.

In the same collection of terra-cottas are some very fine bas-reliefs in which horses are admirably represented, but none have their limbs swathed liked these, which had probably been subjected to an extra amount of racing, being noted horses, and had consequently become foot-sore. It is very probable that an ancient seal, reported by Bracy Clark and others to be in the British Museum, but which I have been unable to trace, is also intended to convey the idea of the hippopodes being used for cavalry. From the attitude of a warrior, who kneels down in front of a horse, and with his right hand seizes its right leg, while another soldier is aiding him by holding up the left one as high as the elbow, it has been conjectured that this boot is being attached to the animal's foot.

The Abbé Winckelmann has described this paste, and also made some interesting remarks on shoeing; so, in consequence of my inability to discover its whereabouts in the Museum, if it ever was there, I reproduce what he says: ‘Pâte Antiq. Un homme avec un bonnet, qui tient levé avec force le pied droit d'un cheval, tandis qu'un soldat armé qui est à genoux devant le cheval, paroit lui lier des bandages au dessus du sabot. Il seroit, sans doute, hardi d'avancer, que ce soldat soit là pour mettre des fers à son cheval. Il ne veux pas repeter ici, que les mulets des Anciens étoient ferrés, et je sais bien qu'on ne trouve des chevaux ferrés sur aucune ancien monument. Je soutiens de plus que le pied ferré d'un cheval qui est sur un basrelief du Palais Mattei à Rome, représentant une chasse de l'Empereur Galien, où Fabretti a cru trouver l'époque des chevaux ferrés, je soutiens, dis-je, que cette jambe est une restauration moderne. Je ne disconviens pas pourtant qu'on ne sache que les Anciens, et en particulier les peuples de l'Asie, firent des fers à leurs chevaux, comme on voit dans ce qui dit Appian dans l'Histoire de la guerre de Mithridate. Scaliger se fondant sur la parole solea, le fer de mulets dans Catulle, et sur celle ὑπόδημον, le fer des chevaux dans Appian, est un sentiment qu'on leur lioit les fers.’[59]

But even these defences must have been rarely resorted to, as the above are the only two instances in which there is any attempt to represent them. It may also be observed, that in the Greek or Latin languages there are no words corresponding to those we employ to designate a horse-shoe, or the artisan who applies it, and there is nothing to prove in a logical manner, in ancient history or the writings of veterinarians, that hoofs were furnished, as now-a-days, with a defence attached by nails.

As before observed, this subject has given rise to much dispute and research for very many years. Montfauçon[60] asserts: ‘The custom of shoeing horses is very ancient, although there are certain proofs that it was not general among the Romans. Fabretti says, that among the great number of horses which occur in ancient monuments, he never saw more than one which was shod, though he made it his business to examine them all, both upon columns and other marbles. As to the mules, both male and female, they are often said by writers to have been shod. There are, nevertheless, certain and undoubted proofs that the ancients shod their horses; thus much Homer and Appian say (?); though it does not appear, indeed, that the custom was general.’ In another place, he writes: ‘The horses' feet (on an Etruscan tomb) have iron shoes, a particular rarely seen on ancient monuments. Fabretti says, that of all the horses he saw on monuments, he never observed but one with four shoes.’[61]

Fabretti's remarks are valuable in many respects, but with regard to shoeing it can scarcely be doubted that he has allowed himself to be deceived. (See above for Winckelmann's notice.) He writes: ‘I am certain that the shoeing; of draught animals was introduced before the time of Trajan (A.D. 98); but in this country we cannot recognize shoes on the statues, though many other details are found. For neither in the marble nor old brass statues, as it would seem, is a single thing else excepted. It would be by no means vain to assert that the Romans at this time did not shoe their war-horses, for lack of which they were not a little lightened in their work, and were less liable to receive injury from each other when at large.’ After referring to the writings of Xenophon, Suetonius, Catullus, Pliny, and to Poppæa's mules, which, he acknowledges, had foot defences attached by golden bands, he adds that there was seen a statue on the fourth landing of the staircase of the temple dedicated to the memory of Cyriacus Matthæsius, in the Cælian Garden, with shoes on the horses' feet fixed by nails. ‘But this statue has nothing to do with Trajan; because it was either destroyed by Severus, 120 years from Trajan's time, or it refers to something which took place in the last days of the Cæsars. This conclusion only do we arrive at, that those authors are ignorant of this matter who suppose that the application of iron shoes to the hoofs of horses was first made at the time of P. Theophilum Raynaudum in Tabulâ Chronologicâ, year DCCIC., by Lascus Polonus. Nearer to the time of Trajan we find the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, and another marble one on the first platform of the orator's staircase, nudas ferro ungulas habent; at the bottom, also, two statues of Trajan himself on each side of the Arch of Constantine. But lest it should be asserted that details were not intended to be shown on these statues, it so happens that the artist has designed the soles of the shoes worn by the soldiers with iron nails, which Festus and Isidorus in their Orig. xix. cap. ult. termed “clauta” and to which kind of shoes and sharp nails Josephus in “De Bell. Judaic.” frequently refers.’[62]

Joachim Camerarius asserts that the ancients were not accustomed to shoe their horses."[63]

Guido Pancirolus observes, that some are of this opinion, because such shoes are not seen in the equestrian statues; the reason for which was not known to him.[64] He, however, cites Nicetas for an equestrian statue shod with iron shoes; but as that Byzantine historian lived in the 13th century, when shoeing was well known, it is extremely likely that the statue was either a very recent one, or the horses' feet were armed in the same fashion as Eustathius caused Homer's horses to be.

Isaac Casaubon[65] was of opinion that shoeing was not known very anciently. Vossius shows from Palladius[66] that mules were usually shod with spartum, for by ‘animalia,’ the word Palladius uses, Vossius thinks mules and asses were intended.

Pegge[67] asserts that there is no clear, express, or positive proof that the Greeks shod their horses very anciently, or even customarily, in later times. ‘I think it not improbable they might begin to do it occasionally, and in some certain places, a little before the age of Mithridates; a conjecture grounded upon the practice of the Romans, with whom shoeing prevailed so soon after.’ By shoeing, this antiquarian perhaps meant the use of the solea—not the modern shoe. He adds: ‘But why, it may be asked, should mules and asses be more commonly shod than horses? I answer, these animals were much used in ancient times, more so than horses, for riding in Judæa, and for draught almost everywhere; besides, they are usually more tractable and patient, asses especially, and shoeing, consequently, was much more easily performed upon them.’

This is scarcely correct. The use of the horse for draught and riding purposes was very limited, principally because shoeing, as now practised, was, if written testimony be accepted, unknown to the Romans. Mules and asses were probably preferred, because their hoofs are far more strong and durable than those of horses. These animals are also much less tractable, and, as a rule, are more difficult to shoe, from their obstinate and often vicious tempers.

Colonel Smith says: ‘With regard to horse-shoeing, Bishop Lowth and Bracy Clark were mistaken in believing that the Roman horses' or mules' shoes were fastened on without nails driven through the horny parts of the hoof as at present. A contrary conclusion may be inferred from several passages in the poets; and the figure of a horse in the Pompeii battle-mosaic leaves little doubt on the question.’[68]

As this writer, however, does not quote the passages from the poets which lead to the inference that shoes were applied by means of nails, and as the authenticity of the details in the Pompeii battle-mosaic, which represents the defeat of Darius by Alexander, rests entirely on the authority of a coloured engraving, the horse-shoe supposed to be seen on the foot of a Satrap's charger is, we can scarcely doubt, of the same age as the copyist—a very modern affair, and as likely to prove the antiquity of the present method of shoeing as the presence of shoes with immense calkins on the feet of St Paul's horse in the painting by Lebrun, now in the Louvre; or the virtuoso in Dr Johnson's ‘Rambler,’ who possessed ‘a horse-shoe broken on the Fiamiinian Way.’ It must not be forgotten that another artist, in a print of Aristotle, carefully put a modern pen into the fingers of the illustrious Greek writer. When the engraving of the Pompeii mosaic was drawn and published, shoeing had been long known in Italy. Some years ago, while workmen were excavating on the site of that buried town, the ruins of an inn were reached, and in it were found the bodies of cars, with iron rings for fastening horses to the wall; bones of horses in the stables were also discovered, but no shoes. [69] Heusinger,[70] 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[71] 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 written, sculptured, and painted, bears undeniable evidence to the fact that neither the Greeks nor the Romans were in the habit of shoeing their animals by nailing a piece of iron on the hoofs as we now do. The contrivance they employed was probably a sock made of leather or some such material, and similar in form and general character to the solea spartea: being passed under and over the foot, and bound round the pastern joints and shanks of the animal by thongs of leather, like the carbatinæ of the peasantry. This sock was not permanently worn, but was put on by the driver during the journey in places or upon occasions when the state of the roads required, and taken off again when no longer necessary. Both the nature of the contrivance, showing that it was a close shoe covering the entire foot, and the practice of putting it on and removing it occasionally, is sufficiently testified by the particular terms employed to designate the object itself and the manner of applying it—mulas calceare, mulis soleas induere. When the underneath part of the sock was strengthened by a plate of iron, it was termed solea ferrea’. This writer describes the solea spartea, and compares it to the sandal used by the Japanese, which, he says, is ‘a small basket, made to the shape of the animal's foot, on to which it is bound by a strap round the fetlock.’ I have seen nothing in or from Japan answering to this description, nor at all like the drawing he gives.

The ‘Nouveau Dictionnaire des Origines, Inventions, et Découvertes,’ also maintains that the Greeks and Romans were ignorant of this art, and that they were content to attach the coverings they used by means of straps, in the same manner as men's shoes.

A like conclusion was recently arrived at by M. Nickard,[72] a careful investigator, who has examined all the accessible ancient records and monuments, in order to satisfy himself with regard to this subject; though, as an archaeologist, he has ignored this modern science.

So much for the written history of this art in the ages preceding the Christian era, and for some centuries subsequently. Notwithstanding the various assumptions put forward by modern writers, founded on obscurely written or incorrectly rendered passages, that nail-shoeing was in use, the balance of evidence, it will be seen, is of a negative character. The frequent allusion to the injuries caused by travelling; the mention of losses incurred in war-time by the horses breaking down from over-worn hoofs; the repeated occurrence of words implying that the feet were unprotected; the studied and judicious manner in which strong hoofs are spoken of and commended by the Greek and Roman horsemen; the limited use made of the horse, with its comparatively easily damaged hoofs, and the extensive employment of the mule and ass, inferior animals, but whose feet are so much better protected by horn;—all would go to prove that no effective armature for this vulnerable part of the horse's body was then known.

But we have noticed that a special device, though far inferior to that now employed, was had recourse to in the form of a sandal, which, though of a very inconvenient shape, and usually made of unthrifty materials, yet doubtless served for short journeys, and by being often renewed, answered to some extent for a longer space of time when a horse's feet had become tender from prolonged walking on broken or stony ground; as well as assisted in retaining healing applications to the soles when these were injured. At any rate, there would be no difficulty in employing it; as a rider or driver, when apprehending injury to his horse or mule, could easily apply the solea, whether of broom, leather, or other materials; though he would always have to guard against the evil results incidental to the too prolonged use, or the constriction of the bands which bound it to the limb.

From such inquiries, and from the knowledge that a large portion of their stable management was devoted to making the horn of the foot tough, and the edges of the crust round and smooth, so as to obviate splitting and chipping, together with the known fact that no horses in any part of the world will bear severe and continuous labour without shoes,[73] we appear to be justified in concluding that the art of arming the ground surface of the hoof with a metal plate and nails was unknown to the antique civilization of the Greeks and Romans. Had such a handicraft been in existence among them, without a doubt it would have obtained particular notice in more ways than one, but especially by the veterinary writers. And so proud were the Romans of everything relating to the horse, that shoes on his hoofs, making him a still more perfect animal, and adding to his appearance, would have been portrayed by the chisels of their sculptors, who, faithful to their art in every respect, never omitted the most apparently trivial or minute detail from the subjects they have immortalized. We find them, for example, giving an exact representation of the shoes worn by the soldiers, with the nails that oftentimes studded the soles; and even in the carriage-wheels depicted by them, we can see the nails or rivets which bound the iron hoops to their circumference. Yet neither in the remains of ancient sculpture, among the ruins of Persepolis, on Trajan's column, or those of Antoninus, Marcus Aurelius, and others, nor yet on the equestrian statues which still remain to us, is such a trophy of man's skill to be found.

As another instance, however, of the wonderful identity and universality of purpose and instinct which impels mankind in the most widely separated regions of the globe to adopt certain measures and particular objects for the requirements of their existence, the soleæ of the Roman writers, and the desire for hard hoofs, are not without interest to the ethnologist. In Eastern countries at the present day, as has been already briefly remarked, the greatest importance is attached to the toughness and durability of the hoofs, even where horses are shod with iron plates. Among the Afghan tribes, for instance, not satisfied with the natural qualities of the horn, even when best developed, the native shoers adopt the following means for increasing its resisting powers. After removing the old shoe, and cutting away enough of the superfluous growth of horn, the lower margin of the wall and the sole are pretty freely charred by a red-hot iron, and while these parts are yet in a state of partial fusion, the whole foot is dipped into a strong solution of alum.

In some of the islands of the Eastern Sea—Java, Manilla, and Singapore—where shoeing is not practised, and the small horses have no defence to their feet, the stable floors are constructed exactly as Xenophon, Varro, Columella, Palladius, or Vegetius recommends, with the object of making the horn hard and keeping it dry.

Travelling to the North Pacific Ocean, there is the remarkable island-empire of Japan, so long isolated from other countries that it is indeed wonderful to find its inhabitants, so far as the arts and sciences are concerned, a highly cultivated and ingenious people. From time immemorial they have been skilful workers in metals; with the properties and many of the uses of iron they have for ages been familiar; and for centuries they have employed horses on a large scale, not only in their traffic, but in their feudal armies, of which a large proportion is cavalry. And yet they are in exactly the same condition as we suppose the Greeks and Romans were as regards shoeing, and as evidenced in the quotations just referred to. The art of fastening metal plates on their horses' feet is unpractised, and was probably unknown until a few years ago; so that strong hoofs with them is a matter of much importance, and from year to year these are untouched by any instrument; indeed, they become injuriously over-grown when the animal is not allowed sufficient exercise; and at all times they are permitted to grow crooked and mis-shapen, just as wear or disease may allow. On unpaved roads, cases of lameness are not rare, and where long journeys have to be performed over rocky mountains and along stony paths, the hoofs must suffer very much. To obviate this inconvenience, the ingenious Japanese have been compelled to resort to sandals which are identical in principle, and not far removed from them as regards material, with the soleæ sparteæ of Vegetius and Columella. The invention of these is probably coeval with the introduction of their beautiful hardy little horses, as the people themselves wear shoes of a similar construction. Though made of rice-straw for ordinary wear on the horses of the humbler classes, and of silk or cotton stuff for those of grandees, yet their use is universal; and if the large number worn out in a day's journey by one horse be any criterion of what will be expended in a busy commercial town, the manufacture of these slippers must give employment to very many people (fig. 4). Riding horses do not always wear them, and when they do they are generally fastened only on the fore feet, as on these the weight chiefly falls; but the pack-horses—which form, with bulls, the only means of conveying merchandise by land, carriages not being in use—nearly always have sandals on. The arrangement of these is very simple. Rice-straw
Horse shoes and horse shoeing page115.jpeg

fig. 4

is plaited into close ropes or bands, which are interwoven to form a thick circular pad, intended to cover the whole of the sole. Around the border of this cushion are loops of the same material; and at the front part a stronger loop, the main fastening, and through which run two narrow bands from the heels, the corrigiæ, made to secure the whole apparatus firmly to the pastern.

Kæmpfer, the veracious historian of this curious empire, notices these contrivances. ‘Shoes for the servants and for the horses. Those of the latter are made of straw, and are fastened with ropes of the same to the feet of the horses, instead of iron shoes, such as ours in Europe, which are not used in this country. As the roads are slippery and full of stones, these shoes are soon worn out, so that it is often necessary to change them. For this purpose, those who have the care of the horses always carry with them a sufficient quantity, which they affix to the portmanteaus. They may, however, be found in all the villages, and poor children who beg on the road even offer them for sale, so that it may be said that there are more farriers in this country than in any other; though, to speak properly, there are none at all.’[74]

Captain Sherard Osborne, describing the equipment his steed carried on a journey, amongst many other articles notes ‘a string of the copper coin of the country, far too cumbrous for the pocket; a clothes-brush and fly-flap; a paper waterproof coat; a broad-brimmed tile for heavy rain or strong sunlight; and lastly, a bundle of spare straw shoes for the horse.’ A noble's horse is thus painted: ‘It is, indeed, a gorgeous creature; its headstall richly ornamented with beautiful specimens of Japan skill and taste in casting, chasing, and inlaying in copper and bronze, the leather perfectly covered with these ornaments. The frontlet has a golden or gilt horn projecting. The mane is carefully plaited, and worked in with gold and silver, as well as silken threads. The saddle, which is a Japanese imitation in leather, lacquer, and inlaid bronze, of those in use amongst the Portuguese and Spaniards in the days of Albuquerque, is a perfect work of art, and only excelled in workmanship, weight, and value by the huge stirrups. The reins are of silk; a rich scarlet net of the same material hangs over the animal's shoulders and crupper. The saddle-cloth is a leopard's skin; and lastly, as a perfect finish, the long switch tail is encased in a blue-silk bag reaching nearly to the ground; whilst, instead of the shoes being of ordinary straw, they are made of cotton and silk interwoven.[75]

And Sir Rutherford Alcock writes: ‘Refreshed by our breakfast, we began to turn inland to the screen of hills which skirt the bay, and soon came upon some roads as bad as any “Camincha real” in Spain. My horse's straw shoes, having already been half shuffled off, were tripping him up at every step, and compelled me to dismount in order to get rid of them altogether. An Englishman riding with the fore-feet of his horse muffled in straw slippers, might furnish a subject for “Punch.” I am happy to say that at both the legations this absurdity has been got rid of, and means found of teaching the Japanese to shoe our horses properly with iron; and more than one of the Daimios, I was told, had followed the good example.’[76]

High, black, and small hoofs are with the Japanese, as with the Greeks and Romans, in most favour, and for the same reasons.

The massive, powerful black bulls of Japan, which carry immense loads on their backs, often have their feet encased in strong, half-tanned buskins, which lace round the leg; probably these resemble the hippopodes of Apsyrtus.

Captain Blakiston informs us, that near Chung-King, province of Sz'chuan, on the upper waters of the Great Yang-tsze, the cattle wore straw shoes to prevent their slipping on the wet ground.[77]

In the far north of China, as we will have occasion to notice hereafter, horses and cattle are shod with iron shoes and nails.

Colonel Smith[78] mentions, that in Iceland horses are occasionally shod by the peasants with sheep's horn; certainly a step in advance of the sandal. In the valley of the Upper Oxus, towards Budukshan, the people shoe their horses with stag-horn. ‘I heard of a singular practice,’ says Burnes,[79] ‘among the people of these districts, who shoe their horses with the antlers of the mountain deer. They form the horn into a suitable shape, fix it on the hoof with horn pins, and never renew it till fairly worn out. It is said the custom is borrowed from the Kirghizzes.’

Speaking of the Kirghiz, Wood writes: ‘What flesh they consume is obtained by their matchlocks; and the number of horns that strew Pamir bear evidence to the havoc they make among the wild flocks of the mountain. These horns being of a remarkably large size, supply shoes for the horses' feet, and are also a good substitute for stirrup-irons. The shoes are nothing more than a semicircular piece of horn placed on the fore part of the hoof. When the horse is in constant work, it requires renewal at least once a week.’[80]

  1. Tacitus, lib. iii. cap. 53.
  2. Megnin. Op. cit. p. 9.—Notice sur les Races Domestiques des Chevaux. Moniteur Universel, March 16, 1855.
  3. Hist. Naturalis, lib. xi. cap. 106. ‘Camelo tali similes bubulis, sed minores paulo. Est enim bisculus discrimine exiguo pes imus, vestigio carnoso, ut ursi; qua de causa in longiore itinere sine calceatu fatiscunt.' Edit. Gabriels Brotier. London, 1826.
  4. Travels in Tartary, Thibet, and China, in 1844-5-6.
  5. De Re Rustica. ‘Cruribus rectis et equalibus, genibus rotundis nee magnis, nee introrsum spectantibus, ungulis duris.’ Lib. ii. p. 306. Edit. Gesner.
  6. ‘Ne sternis comberat ungulas cavendum.’ Lib. ii. cap. 7.
  7. Book ii., Satire 2.
  8. Et urbem
    Eques sonante verberabit ungula.

  9. Book v. 592-4
  10. Book viii. 596-8
  11. Book iv. 135. ‘Stat sonipes, ac frena ferox spumantia mandit.’ Another example is found in the same poem: ‘Quo sonipes ictu furit arduus altaque jactat,’
  12. Book iii. 88,—

    ‘Cavatque
    Tellurem, et solidus graviter sonat ungula cornu.’

  13. Book iv. 749-67.
  14. Book vi.
  15. See Montfauçon, ‘Antiquité Expliquée,’ vol. iv. pt. 2, p. 177; Bergier, ‘Hist, des Grands Chemins de l'Empire Romaine,’ livre ii. chap, i.j Procopius, ‘Hist. Arcana,’ cap. 303 Libanius, ‘Orationes,’ 22, and ‘Itineraria,’ pp. 572-81.
  16. Lib. i. p. 73; edit. Manheim. ‘Diligens itaque dominus stabulum frequenter intrabit, et primum dabit operam, ut stratus pontilis emineat, ipsumque sit non ex mollibus lignis, sicut frequenter per imperitiam vel negligentiam evenit, sed roboris vivacis duritia et soliditate conipactum; nam hoc genus ligni equorum ungulas ad saxoram instar obdurat.’
  17. Lib. vi. p. 50. ‘Duris ungulis et altis, et concavis rotundisque, quibus coronae mediocres superpositae sunt.’
  18. Ibid. p. 63. ‘Ut ungulas duret sitque postea longis itineribus habilis.’
  19. Hist. Natural. ‘Generantur ex equâ et onagris mansuefactis mulae velocis in cursu, duritiâ, eximiâ pedum.’
  20. Onomasticon, lib. i. cap. 11; De Corpore et Animo Equi Boni et Mali.
  21. Martin Leake. Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, vol. i. p. 196. ‘Mulomedicus tonsurae et aptaturae pedum.’ ‘Eidem deplecorae et purgaturae capitis.’
  22. Vol. iii. lib. v. cap. 5, pt. 5. Plate 197.
  23. Apsyrtus, Scrip. Graec. Vet. p. 2152. Χελιδόνα δὲ μικρὰν ἔχοντες εὔποδες καὶ ἀγαθοί
  24. Ibid. Οἱ συμφυεῖς κάτωθεν καὶ χελιδόνας μικρὰς ἔχοντες
  25. Scrip. Rer. Rustic, edit. Schneider, vol. iii.
  26. There is much uncertainty with regard to the period in which Vegetius lived. Nothing whatever is known of him, and his writings alone offer evidence as to the date about which they were composed. Eichenfeld thinks he lived in the second century, and Sprengel, in his History of Medicine, carries him forward to the twelfth century, while others have placed him at various periods between these two extremes. A recent writer, M. Megnin (Recueil de Méd. Vétérinaire, 1867, p. 803), gives what is termed a mathematical demonstration that Vegetius knew the art of horse-shoeing, and that he lived and composed his work in A.D. 945. He partly founds his demonstration on Lebeau's ‘Histoire du Bas-Empire,’ in the chapter in which reference to Constantine VII. is made. According to M. Megnin, the reason why Vegetius did not speak of shoeing, was because he did not wish to do so (c'est qu'il n'a pas voulus et qu'il la connaissait parfaitement). For lack of better evidence than is here adduced, I think it will be preferable to follow Heusinger, and retain the date I have given above. Niebuhr (Merobaudes, p. 12) found at St Gallen some short fragments of a very old codex, (palimpseste) which were ascribed to Vegetius, and supposed to have been written in the seventh or eighth century. The codex of Corbey belongs to the ninth century. From the quotations afforded above, it will be seen that he could not have known anything regarding shoeing with nails, otherwise he could not avoid mentioning it. As will be noticed hereafter, this art was practised at Constantinople before 945.
  27. Vegetii Renati. Artis Veterinariæ. Lib. ii. cap. 55. Basil, 1528.
  28. Lib. i. cap. 56.
  29. Lib. i. cap. 56.
  30. Lib. i. cap. 38.
  31. Lib. ii. cap. 57.
  32. Lib. i. cap. 16.
  33. Lib. iv. cap. 6.
  34. Carm. xvii. 20.

    Nunc eum volo de tuo ponte mittere pronum,
    Si pote stolidum repente excitare veternum,
    Et supinum animum in gravi derelinquere cœno,
    Ferream ut soleam tenaci in voragine mula.

  35. Encyclopédie Methodique, vol. ii. p. 651. Art. Antiquités.
  36. Suetonius, Vita Imp. Vespasian de Facetis, Lib. xxiii. p. 120. ‘Mulionem in itinere quodam suspicalus ad calciandas mulas desilisse, ut adeunti litigatori spatium moramque praeberet: interrogavit, quanti calciasset: pactusque est lucri partem.’
  37. Dissertation sur l'Origine des Francs, etc., p. 199.
  38. De Nerone ipso Tranquillas, cap. xxx. ‘Nunquam carrucis minus mille fecisse iter traditur, soleis mularum argenteis.’
  39. Hist. Nat., Lib. xxxiii. cap. 49. ‘Nostraque ætate Poppæa, conjux Neronis principis, delicatioribus jumentissuis soleas ex auro quoque induere.’ ‘Poppæa, the empresse, wife to Nero, the emperour, was known to cause her ferrers ordinarily to shoe her coach-horses, and other palfries for her saddle (such especially as shee set store by, and counted more dainty than the rest), with cleane gold.’—Holland's Plinie.
  40. Ad Catullus.
  41. Historiæ Romanæ, Lib. Ixii. ‘Sabina vero hæc adeo delicate vixit (nam ex paucis quibusdam cætera intelligentur omnia) ut mulas, quibus agebatur, haberet auresis soleis calceatas; et ut quingentae asinæ, quæ recens peperissent, quotidie mulgerentur, quo ipsa lacle earum lavaretur.’
  42. Ibid. Lib. lxxxiii. ‘Post hæc equum eundem, quum ob senectutem dimissus esset a cursu, et ruri ageret, Commodus arcessiverat, et introduxerat in circum, inauratis ungulis, ac inaurata pelle in dorso ornatum: qui ubi de improvise comparuit, rursum conclamatum est ab omnibus, “Ecce Pertinax adest.”’ Stephanus thinks that Poppæa's mule-shoes were merely the soleæ spartea gilt, and he adds (though we must not forget the mistake he previously makes): ‘Equi bellatores apud Romanos non habebant munimenta pedum seu soleas, sed sole jumenta, ut ostendit Fabrettas (Col. Traj.). . . . . . Pertinacis tamen equi παρηβηχότος ungulas inaurabat Commodus, τύς ὁρλας χαταχρυσώσας’
  43. Pitisc. ad Suet. Nero, cap. 30.
  44. De Quadrupedibus, p. 50. Francofurti, 1623. ‘De Caligula itaque legimus apud Suetonium pridie quam Circensis fierent, viciniæ silentium per milites indixisse ne eques suus incitatus inquietaretur. Cum iter faciendum est, meminerit, per quæ loca fiet eundem nam si per montes vel quævis asperiora loca fuerit agitandos, loco octo clavorum, quatuordecim invenio affigendos, quod plurimum illic atterantur clavi.’
  45. Naturalists' Library, vol. xii. Edinburgh, 1841.
  46. De Re Rust. lib. ii. p. 27. ‘At si jam in ungulis est, inter duos ungues cultello leviter aperies, postea linamenta sale atque aceto imbuta applicantur, ac solea spartea pes induitur, maximeque datur opera ne in aquam pedem mittat, et siccè stabuletur.’
  47. Ruellis. Scriptores Græci Veterinarii, p. 254.
  48. Africæ Descriptio. Lib. iii. p. 120.
  49. Lib. iii. cap. i.
  50. Lib. i. cap. 26.
  51. Lib. iii. cap. 18.
  52. Op. cit. p. 25.
  53. Vegetius Renatus. Of the Distempers of Horses, &c, p. 275.
  54. Ruellii (Hippiatr. lib. ii. p. 100) renders this passage from the Greek as follows: Apsyrtus iis aui compedibus aut vinculis collisi vitiantur. Usu venit ut suffragines, quas mesocynia vocant, tricis, pedicis, viuculisque quibusdam loro vel fune districtis plerunque lacessantur, quibus corium procidit, sic ut nervuli hujusce partis aperiantur, ac nudi pateant: id quod vitæ discrimen adfert, præsertim si in utroque flexu articulorum evenerit,' etc.
  55. Suetonius, Vita Calig. cap. 19. ‘Per hunc pontem ultro eitroque commeavit, biduo continenti. Primo dei phalerato equo—Postridie quadrigario habitu, curriculoque bijugi famosorum equorum, præ se ferens Darium puerum ex Parthorum obsidibus; comitante prætorianorum agmine, et in essedis cohorte amicorum.’
    Lampridius (Vit. Commodi, cap. 2) has also ‘Aurigæ habitu currus rexit.’
  56. Statius, Theb., lib. vi. 104.
  57. Description of the Ancient Terra-cottas in the British Museum.
  58. Iliad, 335—341.
  59. Description des Pierres Gravées du Feu Baron de Stosch. Florence, 1760, p. 169.
  60. Antiquité Expliq., vol. iv. p. 50.
  61. Op. cit., vol. vii. p. 558.
  62. Raphadis Fabretti. De Col. Trajani, cap. vii. p. 224. Romæ, 1683.
  63. Thesaur. Graec. Antiq., vol. xi. p. 822. De Curandis Equis. ‘Prisci solea ungulis assigere non cofisiievere.’
  64. Nova Reperta, Tit. 16. Sunt etiam qui velint ne calceatos quidem olim fuisse equos: eo quod in equestribus statuis ferrea ista calceamenta non conspiciantur; cujus rei causam sane haud scio.
  65. Aristoph. Equit., 549. Vetustissimos homines hoc ignorâsse certum est.
  66. Lib. 1., cap. 24.
  67. Archæologia, 1776.
  68. Kitto's Cyclopædia of Biblical Literature.
  69. Having placed myself in communication with Her Majesty's Consul-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.

  70. 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.’
  71. Companion to the Latin Dictionary and Greek Lexicon, p. 608.
  72. Mem. de la Soc. des Antiq. de France, 1866.
  73. Major Rickard, speaking of the district of San Juan, near the Cordillera, in Peru, describes it as very stony. ‘For such districts the mules ought to be shod, as otherwise they will soon become foot-sore, and consequently worthless. I mention this because it is not usual to shoe horses or mules in the ordinary transitable districts of South America; and I would strongly recommend the traveller to insist upon his own mule, at least, being shod, irrespective of place or distance.’—A Mining Journey Across the Great Andes, p. 144.
    And Tschudi, describing the village of San Geronimo de Surco, in the valley of Lima, says that the horses are shod, and that shoeing must be extremely valuable, if we may judge from its price. ‘In this village there is an old Spaniard who keeps a tambo, and at the same time exercises the calling of a farrier. One of my horse's shoes being loose, I got him to fasten it on. For hammering in eight nails he made me pay half a gold ounce, and at first he demanded twelve dollars. Shortly after my arrival in the Sierra, I got myself initiated in the art of horse-shoeing, and constantly carried about with me a supply of horse-shoes and nails, a plan which I found was generally adopted by travellers in these parts. It is only in the larger Indian villages that farriers are to be met with, that is to say, in places fifty or sixty leagues distant from each other.’—Travels in Peru, p. 266.
  74. Histoire du Japan. Amsterdam, 1732.
  75. Japanese Fragments, p. 97.
  76. The Capital of the Tycoon. London, 1863.
  77. Five Months on the Yang-tsze, p. 214. London, 1862.
  78. Naturalists' Library, vol. xii. p. 129.
  79. Travels into Bokhara, vol. iii. p. 180.
  80. Journey to the Source of the River Oxus, p. 340.