Page:Horse shoes and horse shoeing.djvu/112

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

cluding 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.

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.