plough. The antiquity of its use in Greece may be inferred from the fact
that its invention is a subject of legend, being variously attributed to
Zeus (Diod. 3.63
), Dionysus (Arrian, Ind. 7
), Triptolemus (Plin. Nat. 7.199
), or the Athenian hero Buzyges (Hesych. sub voce
). The plough appears again in Athenian legend in the story of the
who fought against the Persians at
Ancient Greek Plough. (Gerhard, |
Gefässe, pl. 1.)
The simplest and earliest form of the plough was that called αὐτόγυον,
so called because the γύης
or plough-tail and the other parts were of
one piece. It was made by taking a young tree with two branches proceeding
from its trunk in opposite directions, so that, while the trunk served for
the pole, one of the branches stood upwards and became the tail, and the
other penetrated the ground, and, being covered sometimes with bronze or
iron, fulfilled the purpose of a share. This form is exhibited in fig. 1 of
the annexed woodcut, taken from a medal.
Primitive forms of the Plough and accompanying instruments.
But even in Homer (Hom. Il. 10.353
) we hear
of the πηκτὸν ἄροτρον,
separate pieces of wood; and Hesiod (O. et D.
advises the farmer to have a plough of each sort, describes the πηκτὸν ἄροτρον
as consisting of the γύης
plough-tail), to be made of a bent piece of ilex; the ῎ελυμα
share-beam), to be
made of oak; and the ἱστοβοεύς
pole), to be made of bay or elm, the parts
being joined by nails. Fig. 2 of the above woodcut shows a plough which
differs somewhat from Hesiod's in having no distinct γύης,
but consisting of ἱστοβοεύς,
handle). It is the plough still used in
Mysia, according to Sir C. Fellows, who observes (Excurs. in Asia
1838, p. 71) that each portion of this instrument is
still called by its ancient Greek name, and adds that it seems suited only
to the light soil where he observed it, that it is held by one hand only,
that the form of the share (ὕννις
fig. 3) varies, and that the plough is frequently used without any share.
“It is drawn by two oxen, yoked from the pole, and guided by a
long reed or thin stick (κάτρινος
which has a spud or scraper at the end for cleaning the share.”
For the yoke see fig. 4; for the κάτρινος,
The plough was no doubt usually drawn by oxen, but mules were esteemed for
this work (Hom. Il. 10.351
; Od. 8.124
The later and more developed πηκτὸν
may be regarded as consisting of a share (῞υννις, ὕνις, ὕννη, ὕννης
) fitted into a
), from which rose the
), and, curving in the
opposite direction, the ῥυμός,
and curved part of which was the γύης,
upper the ἱστοβοεύς
or pole, across which
was fastened the ζυγόν
or yoke. The
accompanying wooduct, given by Ginzrot from a
Ancient Greek Plough. (Ginzrot, |
Fahrwerke, p. 34.)
bas-relief on the base of a statute of Demeter in Magnesia, shows
strengthened by a piece of wood
rising from the ἔλυμα,
and also two
) behind the share. The part of the handle
which the ploughman grasped was called χειρολαβής;
the part where the handle entered the ἔλυμα, ἀλύη;
the tip of the share, νύμφη.
, Schol.; Etym. Mag.
p. 173; Pollux, 1.252;
Hesych.) The arrangements of the yoke are treated of under JUGUM
In ancient works of art the
parts of the plough are often represented as not nailed together, but lashed
The Italian plough, the invention of which the Romans referred to Greek
(Verg. G. 1.19
) or even Egyptian (Tib. 1.7
had the same simple origin as the Greek (as may be inferred from Etruscan
art), and a similar development. Its share was originally of bronze (Macr.
5.19, 13). Virgil, in a passage
1.169-75) probably suggested by Hesiod,
recommends that the plough-tail (buris, bura
should be made of elm, bent to the proper shape while growing, the yoke and
) of smoke-dried linden or beech.
The pole (temo
) [p. 1.160]
be eight feet long, and the plough is furnished with earth-boards or
), rising on each side and
bending outwardly in such a manner as to throw on either hand the soil which
had been previously loosened and raised by the share, and adjusted to the
share-beam, which was made double for the purpose of receiving them:
“Binae aures, duplici aptantur dentalia
dorso.” Keightley, however, holds that this
is merely a poetical use of the plural, and that the dentale
was single. According to Palladius (1.43), it was
desirable to have ploughs both with earth-boards (aurita
) and without them (simplicia
), according to Virgil, is used to
turn the plough at the end of the furrow: “Stivaque, quae currus a
tergo torqueat imos.” Servius, however, in his note on this line,
to mean “the handle by
which the plough is directed.” It is probable that, as the
--i.e. the two share-beams, which
Virgil supposes were in the form of the Greek letter Δ
which he describes by duplici
was fastened to the
left share-beam, and the stiva
to the right; so
that, instead of the simple plough of the Greeks, that described by Virgil,
and used no doubt in his country (see the following woodcut), was more like
the modern Lancashire plough, which is commonly held behind with both hands.
Sometimes, however, the stiva
Hes. Op. et Dies,
was used alone and instead of the tail, as in the Mysian plough above
represented. To a plough so constructed the language of Columella was
especially applicable, “Arator stivae paene rectus innititur”
(1.9); and the expressions of Ovid, “Stivaeque innixus arator”
8.218), and “Inde premens stivam designat
moenia sulco” (Fast.
place of “stiva,” Ovid also uses the less appropriate term
“capulus” (Ep. de Ponto,
“Ipse manu capulum prensi moderatus aratri.” When the
plough was held either by the stiva
by the buris
alone, a piece of wood (manicula
) was fixed across the summit, and on this
the labourer pressed with both hands. Besides guiding the plough in a
straight line, his duty was to force the share to a sufficient depth into
the soil. Virgil alludes to this in the phrase “Depresso
1.45). The cross-bar, which is seen in
Sir C. Fellows's drawing, and which passes from the pole to the share for
the purpose of giving additional strength, was called σπάθη,
in Latin fulcrum.
Plin. Nat. 18.171
if.) was used by the
Romans as it is with us. It was inserted into the pole so as to depend
vertically before the share, cutting through the roots which came in its
way, and thus preparing for the more complete loosening and overturning of
the soil by the share. The share (comer, vomis
sometimes lashed under the dentale,
imbedded in it (indutilis:
Cato, Cat. Agr. 135
, considers this arrangement
preferable). Pliny (l.c.
) describes the ordinary
form of vomer
as pointed like a crowbar; another,
for use in light lands, did not extend over the whole of the dentale,
but formed a slender point to its end;
another shape, broader, sharper and sword-like, pierced the ground with its
point, and with its edge did the work of a culter.
Pliny also describes (l.c.
) a Rhaetian plough called
(Sillig), furnished with two small wheels (rotae, rotulae
), invented not long before his time;
and Servius (l.c.
) mentions the use of them in the
country of Virgil. The annexed woodcut shows the
Ancient Roman Plough.
form of a wheel-plough, as represented on a piece of engraved
jasper, of Roman workman-ship. It also shows distinctly the temo
or pole, the coulter or culter,
or plough-tail, and the handle or
(Caylus, Rec. d'Ant.
v. pl. 83, No. 6). It corresponds, in all essential particulars, with the
plough now used about Mantua and Venice, of which an engraving is given
Modern Italian Plough.
- 1. Buris.
- 2. Temo.
- 3. Dentale.
- 4. Culter.
- 5. Vomer.
- 6. Aures.
In Varro (L. L.
5.135) and Columella (R. R.
2.4), the word dens
and the later dentale,
originally not distinct parts of the plough. Urvum
is used by Servius (ad Verg. l.c.
) in the
sense generally given to buris,
which term he
applies to the upper part of the pole, while Festus explains urvum
as forma simillima uncini,
curvatione buris et dentis, cui praefigitur vomer.
The operations of ploughing are described under AGRICULTURA