Page:Horse shoes and horse shoeing.djvu/107

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

ing 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.’[1]

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. [2]

  1. Kitto's Cyclopædia of Biblical Literature.
  2. Having placed myself in communication with Her Majesty's Con-