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قراءة كتاب On Horsemanship

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On Horsemanship

On Horsemanship

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 1


By Xenophon

Translation by H. G. Dakyns

           Xenophon the Athenian was born 431 B.C. He was a
           pupil of Socrates. He marched with the Spartans,
           and was exiled from Athens. Sparta gave him land
           and property in Scillus, where he lived for many
           years before having to move once more, to settle
           in Corinth. He died in 354 B.C.

           On Horsemanship advises the reader on how to buy
           a good horse, and how to raise it to be either a
           war horse or show horse. Xenophon ends with some
           words on military equipment for a cavalryman.





This was typed from Dakyns' series, "The Works of Xenophon," a four-volume set. The complete list of Xenophon's works (though there is doubt about some of these) is:

     Work                                   Number of books

     The Anabasis                                         7
     The Hellenica                                        7
     The Cyropaedia                                       8
     The Memorabilia                                      4
     The Symposium                                        1
     The Economist                                        1
     On Horsemanship                                      1
     The Sportsman                                        1
     The Cavalry General                                  1
     The Apology                                          1
     On Revenues                                          1
     The Hiero                                            1
     The Agesilaus                                        1
     The Polity of the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians   2

     Text in brackets "{}" is my transliteration of Greek text into
     English using an Oxford English Dictionary alphabet table. The
     diacritical marks have been lost.



Claiming to have attained some proficiency in horsemanship (1) ourselves, as the result of long experience in the field, our wish is to explain, for the benefit of our younger friends, what we conceive to be the most correct method of dealing with horses.

(1) Lit. "Since, through the accident of having for a long time
    'ridden' ourselves, we believe we have become proficients in
    horsemanship, we wish to show to our younger friends how, as we
    conceive the matter, they will proceed most correctly in dealing
    with horses." {ippeuein} in the case of Xenophon = serve as a
    {ippeus}, whether technically as an Athenian "knight" or more
    particularly in reference to his organisation of a troop of
    cavalry during "the retreat" ("Anab." III. iii. 8-20), and, as is
    commonly believed, while serving under Agesilaus ("Hell." III. iv.
    14) in Asia, 396, 395 B.C.

There is, it is true, a treatise on horsemanship written by Simon, the same who dedicated the bronze horse near the Eleusinion in Athens (2) with a representation of his exploits engraved in relief on the pedestal. (3) But we shall not on that account expunge from our treatise any conclusions in which we happen to agree with that author; on the contrary we shall hand them on with still greater pleasure to our friends, in the belief that we shall only gain in authority from the fact that so great an expert in horsemanship held similar views to our own; whilst with regard to matters omitted in his treatise, we shall endeavour to supply them.

(2) L. Dind.  (in Athens). The Eleusinion. For the position of this
    sanctuary of Demeter and Kore see Leake, "Top. of Athens," i. p.
    296 foll. For Simon see Sauppe, vol. v. Praef. to "de R. E." p.
    230; L. Dind. Praef. "Xen. Opusc." p. xx.; Dr. Morris H. Morgan,
    "The Art of Horsemanship by Xenophon," p. 119 foll. A fragment of
    the work referred to, {peri eidous kai ekloges ippon}, exists. The
    MS. is in the library of Emmanual Coll. Cant. It so happens that
    one of the hipparchs (?) appealed to by Demosthenes in Arist.
    "Knights," 242.

{andres ippes, paragenesthe nun o kairos, o Simon, o Panaiti, ouk elate pros to dexion keras};

bears the name.

(3) Lit. "and carved on the pedestal a representation of his own

As our first topic we shall deal with the question, how a man may best avoid being cheated in the purchase of a horse.

Take the case of a foal as yet unbroken: it is plain that our scrutiny must begin with the body; an animal that has never yet been mounted can but present the vaguest indications of spirit. Confining ourselves therefore to the body, the first point to examine, we maintain, will be the feet. Just as a house would be of little use, however beautiful its upper stories, if the underlying foundations were not what they ought to be, so there is little use to be extracted from a horse, and in particular a war-horse, (4) if unsound in his feet, however excellent his other points; since he could not turn a single one of them to good account. (5)

(4) Or, "and that a charger, we will suppose." For the simile see
    "Mem." III. i. 7.

(5) Cf. Hor. "Sat." I. ii. 86:

regibus hic mos est: ubi equos mercantur, opertos inspiciunt, ne, si facies, ut saepe, decora molli fulta pede est, emptorem inducat hiantem, quod pulchrae clunes, breve quod caput, ardua cervix.

and see Virg. "Georg." iii. 72 foll.

In testing the feet the first thing to examine will be the horny portion of the hoof. For soundness of foot a thick horn is far better than a thin. Again it is important to notice whether the hoofs are high both before and behind, or flat to the ground; for a high hoof keeps the "frog," (6) as it is called, well off the ground; whereas a low hoof treads equally with the stoutest and softest part of the foot alike, the gait resembling that of a bandy-legged man. (7) "You may tell a good foot clearly by the ring," says Simon happily; (8) for the