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Notes on Some Points in Xenophon's ΠΕΡΙ ΙΠΠΙΚΗΣ

  • J. K. Anderson (a1)


The following observations were made during a general study of Greek horsemanship, but, being somewhat controversial and turning upon points of textual criticism and the interpretation of technical terms, they may perhaps be of interest to scholars rather than to the public.

(1) iv 2.

‘It is not only to save the corn from being stolen that a safe stall is good, but because it becomes obvious whenever the horse is [not] carrying out his corn.’

This sentence evidently describes some clear symptom of disease, for Xenophon continues: ‘Should you observe this happening, you may know that the body, being overcharged with blood, requires attention, or is overtired and needs rest, or that barley-sickness (κριθίασις) or some other sickness is making its onset. Just as with men, so with horses, all diseases are easier to cure at the onset than when they have established themselves and been treated mistakenly.’

The nature of ‘barley-sickness’ (colic) is excellently explained in Delebecque's commentary, but that of the warning symptom is doubtful, and depends on the precise meaning to be given to ἐκκομίζῃ. The manuscripts insert a negative particle before it; this is deleted by modern editors on the evidence of Pollux i 209:

‘There is a disease of horses, barley-sickness and congestion of the blood through surfeit. And when they “carry out” their corn, then one must remove it and feed grass only, or some other light diet.’



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1 I am indebted to the Council of the University of Otago for allowing me the leisure in which to proceed with this work, and to Professor G. R. Manton for his advice and help. Miss D. H. F. Gray, Miss Sylvia Benton and Mr D. L. Haynes have discussed various points with me, and Dr Marian Stewart and Mr Henry Wynmalen have advisedme on technical matters. But the responsibility for the views here advanced is my own.

The text used is the Oxford text of E. C. Marchant, but. I have compared it continually with those of other editors, especially Delebecque, E. (Xenophon: De l'Art Equestre (Paris 1950).

2 Cf. Jope, E. M. in A History of Technology (Ed. Singer, , Holmyard, , Hall, and Williams, ) ii 558, where, however, the curb is wrongly said to force the horse's head upwards. Besides the examples from Canosa (for which see Jacobsthal, , Early Celtic Art i, pl. 258d and pp. 150 ff.); cf. CAH Vol. of Plates iii 73c; and later, simpler examples from Alesia, Pompeii, and Newstead. (Zschille, and Forrer, , Die Pferdetrense in ihrer Formen-Entwicklung, Pl. vii 19: Curle, , A Roman Frontier-Post and its People; the Fort of Newstead, Pl. 71, 1–2; Gozzadini, , Mors de Cheval italiques pl. 3, 2 and p. 24.)

3 C. R. St Petersburg 1865, 186 ff.; with some reservations in C. R. St Petersburg 1875, 123. He has been followed by E. H. Minns and, I believe, most English writers on South Russian antiquities.

4 Euripides, , H.F. 380, Rhesos 27, Phoinissai 792 (with scholion).

5 C. R. St Petersburg 1865, 188.

6 See Yalouris, N.Athena als Herrin der Pferde’ in Museum Helveticum vii; and Blinkenberg, , Fouilles de Lindos i 199, and pl. 24, 613.

7 Op. cit., pp. 131, 175, and fig. 5.

8 E.g. those classified by Yalouris (pp. 33–4 as ‘Type B’); add British Museum, Guide to Exhibition Illustrating Greek and Roman Life, fig. 206 (no. 508); Flinders-Petrie, , Tools and Weapons pl. 71, 41.

9 Cf. Lafaye, in Daremberg-Saglio, s.v. ‘Frenum’ 1336 n. 6. I have not seen Courier's work.

10 Anatolian Studies iv, pl. 8, fig. 4 (wrongly described as a snaffle bit).

11 Lafaye, loc. cit.; add Curle, pl. 71, 4, with further references on p. 297 (‘Headstalls’).

12 Cf. Yalouris, op. cit.

13 I note the following clear examples (besides some doubtful ones), dating from the sixth to the fourth centuries B.C.: Pfuhl, MuZ iii, fig. 140; CVA Great Britain iv, pl. 167; CVA Great Britain ii pl. 89; Trendall, , Paestan Pottery pl. 31a (no. 253; no. 344 in Revision and Supplement); pl. 31b (no. 264; no. 356 in Revision and Supplement).

14 Cf. Lafaye, in Daremberg-Saglio s.v. ‘Equitatio’ 749.

15 E.g. those classified by Yalouris as Types A and B.

16 Including the earliest surviving Greek bit (Reichel, Homerische Waffen 2142, fig. 90. A later, more elaborate type has the spikes fitted, not to the cheekpieces themselves, but to small bronze plates just inside them. The only actual examples known to me are from Skythia (Stephani, C.R. St Petersburg, 1876, 132–3 nos. 32, 33, 36; cf. Minns, , Scythians and Greeks 214 fig. 115 top left). But the spiked side-plates often appear in Greek vase painting from the time of Exekias onwards (examples from Pfuhl, , MuZ iii figs. 228, 230, 505–7. 583. 627).

17 Smith, , British Museum Catalogue of Sculpture (The Nertid Monument and Later Lycian Sculpture) 49 (950 no. 5) and pl. 9.

18 Lefebvre des Noettes, L'Attelage: le Cheval de Selle à travers les Ages, fig. 241. For the helmet, cf. Fraser, P. M. and Rönne, T., Boeotian and West Greek Tombstones 66–8.

19 Lorimer, H. L., BSA xlii 88–9, 133, 135.

20 Pace Helbig, , Les Ἱππεῑς Athéniens 35 ff.

Notes on Some Points in Xenophon's ΠΕΡΙ ΙΠΠΙΚΗΣ

  • J. K. Anderson (a1)


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