Page:Horse shoes and horse shoeing.djvu/200

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172
HORSE-SHOES AND HORSE-SHOEING.

modified by crossing with strange breeds during the Roman and barbarian conquests. A more attentive study of these shoes, and of the localities from whence they were procured, permits their being divided into at least two classes, belonging, if not to different epochs, at least to people shoeing their horses diversely in the same country. These differences of form correspond also to an augmentation in size, thickness, and weight, and in such a way that those we look upon as the most ancient weigh scarcely more than from 90 to 120 grammes;[1] while those of the following ages also increase in weight and dimensions, so that for the time of the Romans they reach from 180 to 245 grammes; then to 365: lastly, in our own days, they weigh from 490 to 850 grammes, and even more. These modest objects of antiquity thus reveal facts no less interesting to archæology than to agriculture. Under the last head they seem to indicate a progressive augmentation in the height of the horses, and an amelioration in the indigenous species, arising from the progress of agriculture and commerce, as the two began to require horses with more strength than elegance or lightness. In an archæological point of view, they furnish a material proof of the persistence of the usages of a country in its mode of shoeing horses; so that the invasions and foreign occupations could not cause them to be entirely abandoned by our native farriers. This last fact also testifies to the existence of the same people in these regions, and their surviving the

  1. The gramme is equal to 15.4 grains troy, or 16.9 grains avoirdupois.