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CALCAR

CALCAR (μύωψ, ἐγκεντρίς), a spur, an implement to which we find no reference in the Homeric writings, in which riding is so rarely mentioned, a goad (κέντρον) taking its place. Even in later Greek authors, it is often difficult to determine whether a goad or a spur is signified. But in Theophr. Char. xxi., where the μικροφιλότιμος, after taking part in a πομπή, walks about the market-place ἐν τοῖς μύωψι, we have a clear reference to spurs. Cf. Anth. P. 5.203; Diod. 17.20; Pollux, 1.210, 10.54, and perhaps Plat. Apol. 30 E, where, however, it is not clear whether μύωψ is a spur, or the fly from whose goading bite the spur was named. Similarly in works of art spurs are but seldom represented. A spur, however, is indicated on one foot of an Amazon on a vase of probably the 4th century (Bulletin de l'Académie de Bruxelles, xi. p. 76); and the left foot of the statue of an Amazon in the Vatican, which is held to be a copy from Pheidias, shows how the spur was fastened to the foot,

Calcaria, Bronze Spurs. (British Museum.)

although the spur itself has been broken off. Bronze spurs have also been found at Dodona (Académie des Inscriptions, June 1877).

Among the Romans the name leaves us in no [p. 1.332]doubt about the use of this appliance ( “calcaria dicta, quia in calce hominis ligantur ad stimulandos equos,” Isid. Orig. 20.16, 6), and we find the word used as early as Plautus (As. 3.3, 118), and very frequently in later writers. Numerous examples of Roman spurs are in the museums.

[J.Y] [J.H.F]

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  • Cross-references from this page (1):
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 17.20
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