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It is well known that in Lusitania, in the vicinity of the town of Olisipo1 and the river Tagus, the mares, by turning their faces towards the west wind as it blows, become impregnated by its breezes,2 and that the foals which are conceived in this way are remarkable for their extreme fleetness; but they never live beyond three years. Gallicia and Asturia are also countries of Spain; they produce a species of horse known to us as thieldones,3 and when smaller, asturcones;4 they have a peculiar and not common pace of their own, which is very easy, and arises from the two legs of the same side being moved together;5 it is by studying the nature of this step that our horses have been taught the movement which we call ambling.6 Horses have very nearly the same diseases as men;7 besides which, they are subject to an irregular action of the bladder, as, indeed, is the case with all beasts of burden.8

1 Now Lisbon. See B. iv. c. 35.

2 The accounts given, by Phœnician navigators, of the fertility of Lusitania, and the frequency of the mild western breezes, gave rise to the fable here mentioned, which has been generally received by the ancients; and that not merely by the poets, as Virgil, Geor. B. iii. 1. 274, 275, but by practical writers, as Varro, B. ii. c. 1, and Columella, B. vi. c. 27. Justin, however, B. xliv. c. 3, attributes the opinion to the great size of the horses, and their remarkable fleetness, from which they were said to be the sons of the wind.—B.

3 The origin and meaning of this name is not known.—B.

4 Martial describes the peculiar short, quick step of the "asturco," in one of his Epigrams, B. xiv. Ep. 199.—B.

5 "Alterno crurum explicatu glomeratio;" it would not be possible to give a literal translation, but we may judge of the meaning by the context. —B. He clearly alludes to a movement like our canter.

6 "Tolutim carpere incursus;" Hardouin explains this by a reference to Plautus, Asinaria, A. iii. sc. 3,1. 116. "Tolutim ni badizas"—"If you do not amble, lifting up your feet."

7 Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. viii. c. 24, gives an account of the diseases of horses.—B.

8 "Genere veterino;" so called, according to Hardouin, from "vectllra," "carriage," as applicable to horses, asses, and mules; Lemaire, vol. iii. p. 497.—B.

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