either of these, and next to Homer himself, the prophet Micah (B.C. 710), exclaims: ‘Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people.'
So that really there is no foundation for supposing that the words quoted bear any reference whatever to shoeing. Homer is very minute in some of his descriptions of horses, chariots, armour, and equipment, but there is nothing particular in his poem to lead any one to suspect that the steeds of his warriors were shod. Had they been so, or had he been aware of the art, we can scarcely doubt but he would have introduced some notice of it; entering as he does into so many particulars about horses, which were, next to man, the chief figures in his word-pictures. For instance, he speaks of the method of securing horses; Neptune's team was stabled in a cave
‘Twixt Tenedos and Imbro's rocky isle.’
After driving the brazen-footed steeds through the sea, skimming the waves of blue, Neptune takes them to his retreat, then
‘Loosed from the chariot, and before them placed
Ambrosial provender; and round their feet
Shackles of gold, which none might break nor loose,
That there they might await their lord's return.’
As Homer's famous epic describes the misfortunes and the siege of Troy, occurring about twelve hundred years before our era, it is important that the words supposed to denote shoeing be properly understood.
- Chap. iv. 13.
- Iliad, xiii. 41-5.