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These animals possess an intelligence which exceeds all description.1 Those who have to use the javelin are well aware how the horse, by its exertions and the supple movements of its body, aids the rider in any difficulty he may have in throwing his weapon. They will even present to their master the weapons collected on the ground. The horses too, that are yoked to the chariots in the Circus, beyond a doubt, display remarkable proofs how sensible they are to encouragement and to glory. In the Secular games, which were celebrated in the Circus, under the Emperor Claudius, when the charioteer Corax, who belonged to the white party,2 was thrown from his place at the starting-post, his horses took the lead and kept it, opposing the other chariots, overturning them, and doing every thing against the other competitors that could have been done, had they been guided by the most skilful charioteer; and while we quite blushed to behold the skill of man excelled by that of the horse, they arrived at the goal, after going over the whole of the prescribed course. Our ancestors considered it as a still more remarkable portent, that when a charioteer had been thrown from his place, in the plebeian games of the Circus,3 the horses ran to the Capitol, just as if he had been standing in the car, and went three times round the temple there. But what is the greatest prodigy of all, is the fact that the horses of Ratumenna came from Veii to Rome, with the palm branch and chaplet, he himself having fallen from his chariot, after having gained the victory; from which circumstance the Ratumennian gate derived its name.4

When the Sarmatæ are about to undertake a long journey, they prepare their horses for it, by making them fast the day before, during which they give them but little to drink; by these means they are enabled to travel on horseback, without stopping, for one hundred and fifty miles. Some horses are known to live fifty years; but the females are not so long-lived.5 These last come to their full growth at the fifth year, the males a year later. The poet Virgil has very beautifully described the points which ought more especially to be looked for, as constituting the perfection of a horse;6 I myself have also treated of the same subject, in my work7 on the Use of the Javelin by Cavalry, and I find that pretty nearly all writers are agreed respecting them.8 The points requisite for the Circus are somewhat different, however; and while horses are put in training for other purposes at only two years old, they are not admitted to the contests of the Circus before their fifth year.

1 Hardouin refers to the works of Busbequius, in which we meet with nearly the same account of the sagacity of the horse, as in Pliny; Lemaire, iii. 489.

2 As already mentioned in the Note to c. 54 of the last Book, there were four parties or factions of the charioteers who were named from the colour of their dress.

3 The games of the Circus were divided into the Patrician and the Plebeian;the first being conducted by generals, consuls, and the cuiule ædilcs, the latter by the ædles of the people.—B.

4 Related somewhat more at large by Plutarch, in his Life of Publicola. —B.

5 Many of these particulars are from Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. vi. c. 22.—B.

6 Georgics, B. iii. 1. 72, et seq.—B.

7 See Introduction to vol. i. p. vii.

8 Varro, de Re Rust. B. ii. c. 7; and Columella, B. vi. c. 29, have treated on this subject at considerable length.—B.

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