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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/471

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ORIGIN OF THE PLOW AND WHEEL–CARRIAGE.

the old block-wheel cart can only be done by gradually slewing round in a wide circuit.

As early as history goes back, the carriage-builder had already begun to make spoked wheels with metal tires, whose well-made nave turned smoothly on the axle. It is needless here to extract from Wilkinson and Layard particulars of the beautifully made Egyptian and Assyrian chariots, nor to go into details of classic, mediæval, and modern carriage-building. As bearing on the origin of the art, it must be noticed that the point where the developments of the plow and carriage

Fig. 12.
PSM V18 D471 The bullock cart of the azores.jpg

join is in the way of attaching the drawing oxen or horses, which was much alike in both. The pole and yoke was no doubt the original mode of draught, not only for the plow and the heavy ox-cart, where it may be often seen still, but also for the chariot and light car (see Schlieben, "Die Pferde des Alterthums," p. 154). The war-chariot, with its yoked steeds, has a remarkable similarity wherever we meet with it in the ancient world, which seems to point to its invention by some one particular nation, though which has not yet been made out, whence it spread to distant countries. How such inventions found their way is well shown in a point of detail, which incidentally shows how far the ancient Britons were from the uncivilized state popularly attributed to them, namely, their use (Mela iii, 6) of scythe-chariots, such as were used in Oriental armies, like that of Darius (Diod. Sic. xvii, 53), or of Antiochus Eupator, when he came into Judea with horsemen and elephants and three hundred scythe-chariots (2 Maccab. xiii, 2). War-chariots were from the first drawn by the pole. The Homeric chariots appear to have been without traces, as where, in the Iliad (vi, 40), Adrastus's scared horses snap the pole amid the tangled tamarisk, and set off straight for the city, evidently having nothing but the pole to hold them. In ancient Egypt, one inner trace was used, but the stress was on the pole. Eventually, in looking at the harness of various nations, we come to the present plan of draught by collar and traces. The change is interesting, as seeming to prove that the earliest use of draught-cattle is that still seen in the yoke of oxen. It has been argued by Pictet ("Origines Indo-Européennes," part ii, p.