Obrázky na stránke

times described exceeding short; whereas the chersæa, or land-asp, which most conceive she used, is above four cubits long. Their number is not unquestionable; for whereas there are generally two described, Augustus (as Plutarch relateth) did carry in his triumph the image of Cleopatra, but with one asp unto her arm. As for the two pricks, or little spots in her arm, they infer not their plurality; for like the viper the asp hath two teeth, whereby it left this impression, or double puncture behind it.

And lastly, we might question the place; for some apply them unto her breast, which notwithstanding will not consist with the history, and Petrus Victorius hath well observed the same. But herein the mistake was easy, it being the custom in capital malefactors to apply them unto the breast; as the author De Theriaca ad Pisonem, an eye-witness hereof in Alexandria, where Cleopatra died, determineth; “I beheld,” saith he, "in Alexandria, how suddenly these serpents bereave a man of life; for when any one is condemned to this kind of death, if they intend to use him favourably, that is, to despatch him suddenly, they fasten an asp unto his breast, and bidding him walk about, he presently perisheth thereby.'

[ocr errors]


Of the Pictures of the Nine Worthies.

THE pictures of the nine worthies 7 are not unquestionable, and to critical spectators may seem to contain sundry improprieties. Some will enquire why Alexander the Great is described upon an elephant: 8 for we do not find he used that animal in his armies, rauch less in his own person; but

7 the nine worthies.] Namely, Joshua, Gideon, Sampson, David, Judas Maccabæus, Alexander the Great, Julius Cæsar, Charlemagne, and Godfrey of Boulogne.

8 Some will enquire, &c.] Ross suggests that "this picture hath reference to that story of the elephant in Philostratus (lib. i. c. 61), which from Alexander to Tiberius, lived three hundred and fifty years. This huge elephant, Alexander, after he had overcome Porus, dedicated to the sun, in these words, ̓Αλέξανδρος ὁ Διὸς τὸν Αἴαντα τῷ ἠλίῳ ; for he gave to this elephant the name of Ajax, and the inhabitants so honoured this beast, that they beset him round with garlands and ribbons.--Arcana, p. 160.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

his horse is famous in history, and its name alive to this day.9 Beside, he fought but one remarkable battle wherein there were any elephants, and that was with Porus, king of India, in which notwithstanding, as Curtius, Arrianus, and Plutarch report, he was on horseback himself. And if because he fought against elephants he is with propriety set upon their backs, with no less (or greater) reason is the same description agreeable unto Judas Maccabeus, as may be observed from the history of the Maccabees, and also unto Julius Cæsar, whose triumph was honoured with captive elephants, as may be observed in the order thereof set forth by Jacobus Laurus.* And if also we should admit this description upon an elephant, yet were not the manner thereof unquestionable, that is, in his ruling the beast alone; for beside the champion upon their back, there was also a guide or ruler which sat more forward to command or guide the beast. Thus did King Porus ride when he was overthrown by Alexander; and thus are also the towered elephants described, Maccabees ii. 6. Upon the beasts1 there were strong towers of wood, which covered every one of them, and were girt fast unto them by devices; there were also upon every one of them thirty two strong men, beside the Indian that ruled them.

Others will demand, not only why Alexander upon an elephant, but Hector upon an horse; whereas his manner of fighting, or presenting himself in battle, was in a chariot,2

*In Splendore Urbis Antiquæ.

9 but his horse, &c.] There is an engraving of Alexander on Bucephalus, from an antique statue, without stirrups, in the Youth's Magazine, for May, 1820.-Jeff.

1 upon the beasts.] Yf wee reckon but 300lb. weight for every man and his armour and weapons (which is the lowest proportion), and allowing for the tower and harnessing but 5 or 600lb. more, the burthen of each elephant cannot be esteemed less than 10,100lb. weight; which is a thing almost incredible: for, 4,000lb. or 5,000lb. is the greatest loade that 8 or 10 strong horses are usually put to drawe.- Wr.

2 chariot.] The use of chariots and (in warr) of iron, and in private travayle of lighter substance is as olde as Jacob, as appeares Gen. xlv. 27. And in Gen. xiv. 7, the text sayes, that Pharoah had in his army 600 chosen chariots, besides all the chariots of Egypt. Now the former of these two storyes was 500 yeares before the Trojan war, and the later 300.- Wr.

as did the other noble Trojans, who, as Pliny affirmeth, were the first inventors thereof. The same way of fight is testified by Diodorus, and thus delivered by Sir Walter Raleigh: "Of the vulgar, little reckoning was made, for they fought all on foot, slightly armed, and commonly followed the success of their captains, who rode not upon horses, but in chariots drawn by two or three horses." And this was also the ancient way of fight among the Britons, as is delivered by Diodorus, Cæsar, and Tacitus; and there want not some who have taken advantage hereof, and made it one argument of their original from Troy.


Lastly, by any man versed in antiquity, the question can hardly be avoided, why the horses of these worthies, especially of Cæsar, are described with the furniture of great saddles and stirrups; for saddles, largely taken, though some defence there may be, yet that they had not the use of stirrups, seemeth of lesser doubt; as Pancirollus hath observed, as Polydore Virgil and Petrus Victorius have confirmed, expressly discoursing hereon; as is observable from Pliny, and cannot escape our eyes in the ancient monuments, medals, and triumphant arches of the Romans. Nor is there any ancient classical word in Latin to express them. For staphia, stapes, or stapeda, is not to be found in authors of this antiquity. And divers words which may be urged of this signification, are either later, or signified not thus much in the time of Cæsar. And therefore, as Lipsius observeth, lest a thing of common use should want a common word, Franciscus Philelphus named them stapedas, and Bodinus Subiecus, pedanos. And whereas the name might promise some antiquity, because among the three small bones in the auditory organ, by physicians termed incus, malleus and stapes, one thereof from some resemblance doth bear this name; these bones were not observed, much less named by Hippocrates, Galen, or any ancient physician. But as Laurentius observeth, concerning the invention of the stapes or stirrup-bone, there is some contention between Columbus and Ingrassias; the one of Sicilia, the other of Cremona, and both within the compass of this century.

The same is also deducible from very approved authors,

De Inventione Rerum, Varia Lectiones.

[ocr errors]

Polybius, speaking of the way which Annibal marched into Italy, useth the word ßeßnuáriora, that is, saith Petrus Victorius, it was stored with devices for men to get upon their horses, which assents were termed bemata, and in the life of Caius Gracchus, Plutarch expresseth as much. For endeavouring to ingratiate himself with the people, besides the placing of stones at every mile's end, he made at nearer distances certain elevated places and scalary ascents, that by the help thereof they might with better ease ascend or mount their horses. Now if we demand how cavaliers, then destitute of stirrups, did usually mount their horses, as Lipsius informeth, the unable and softer sort of men had their ȧvaẞoxeis, or stratores, which helped them upon horseback, as in the practice of Crassus, in Plutarch, and Caracalla, in Spartianus, and the later example of Valentinianus, who because his horse rose before, that he could not be settled on his back, cut of the right hand of his strator. But how the active and hardy persons mounted, Vegetius* resolves us, that they used to vault or leap up, and therefore they had wooden horses in their houses and abroad, that thereby young men might enable themselves in this action; wherein by instruction and practice they grew so perfect, that they could vault up on the right or left, and that with their *sword in hand, according to that of Virgil,—

Poscit equos atque arma simul, sultúque superbus

And again,

Infrænant alii currus, et corpora saltu
Injiciunt in equos.

So Julius Pollux adviseth to teach horses to incline, dimit, and bow down their bodies, that their riders may with better ease ascend them. And thus may it more causally be made out what Hippocrates affirmeth of the Scythians, that using continual riding they were generally molested with the sciatica or hip gout. Or what Suetonius delivereth of Germanicus, that he had slender legs, but increased them by riding after meals; that is, the humours descending upon

*De re Milit.

their pendulosity, they having no support or suppedaneous stability.3

Now if any shall say that these are petty errors and minor lapses, not considerably injurious unto truth, yet is it neither reasonable nor safe to contemn inferior falsities, but rather as between falsehood and truth there is no medium, so should they be maintained in their distances; nor the contagion of the one approach the sincerity of the other.

3 Or what Suetonius, &c.] Hippocrates observes, that the Scythians, who were much on horseback, were troubled with defluxions and swellings in their legs, occasioned by their dependent posture, and the want of something to sustain their feet. Had stirrups been known, this inconvenience could not have been urged, and on this fact, together with other arguments, Berenger much relies in his opinion that stirrups were not known to the ancients. See his History and Art of Horsemanship, 2 vols. 4to. Montfaucon attributes this ignorance to the absence of saddles, and to the impossibility of attaching stirrups to the horsecloths, or ephippia, which were anciently used for saddles.

Beckman, in his chapter on stirrups (History of Inventions and Discoveries, vol. ii. 270), among other authorities, refers to the present chapter in the French translation. Nothing, he says, resembling stirrups, remains in ancient works of art or coins. Xenophon, in his chapter on horsemanship, makes no mention of them. Stone mounting-steps, he observes, were not only used among the Romans, but are still to be found even in England. Victorious generals used to compel the vanquished even of the highest rank, to stoop that they might mount by stepping on their backs. He mentions some spurious inscriptions and coins which exhibit the stirrup. He names Mauritius as the first writer who has expressly mentioned it, in the sixth century, and from Eustathius it appears that even in the 12th century, the use of stirrups had not become common.

"Abdallah's friend found him with his foot in the stirrup, just mounting his camel." Sale's Koran, Prelim. Disc. p. 29. Abdallah lived in the sixth century.-Jeff.


Stirops. From the old English astige or stighe, to ascend or mount up, and ropes; being first devised with cords or ropes, before they were made with leather and iron fastened to it." Verstegan, p. 209. have styed up from the very centre of the earth." Bishop Hall's Contemplations on the Ascension, vol. ii. p. 285. Hinc Stigh-ropes.-Jeff.


According to Sir John Carr's "Caledonian Sketches," in his account of a male equipage, that island is not yet "a land of bridles and saddles."-Mo. Rev. Sep. 1809.-Jeff.

« PredošláPokračovať »