Oscar Wilde.

Lady Windermere's fan, and The importance of being Earnest online

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father to son. Gomer, the son of Japheth, was succeeded by his
s«n Togarmah, then followed Haicus, Armenac, Aramais,
Amassia, Gelam, Harma, Aram, Arab, who was slain in battle,
his son Cardus (at twelve years old), Anushaven, who died with-
out issue and was succeeded by Paret, who reigned fifty years
and during his reign the patriarch Joseph died in Egypt, B.C.
1635. These princes all had long reigns. Haicus was the
first of the line to assume the title of king, and he was greatly
distinguished for extending the boundaries of his kingdom.
Gelam extended his borders to the Caspian. Aram was fifty-
eight years on the throne, during which time he had a war with
the Medes, and also with the Oappadocians, in both of which he
had a large force of cavalry in the field. This was about seven-
teen hundred years before the Christian era, and is the first men-
tion of cavalry that I have found in history, either sacred or pro-
fane. In both these wars his cavalry was met by the cavalry of
the enemy, equal to or greater than his in numbers. How long
before this troops may have been mounted on horses it is impos-
sible to say, but from the numbers so used at that period of the
world by the neighboring nations and tribes, as the Medes, the
Cappadocians, etc., it is fair to conclude that the horse had then
been an important factor in all military movements for many
generations. When we consider two opposing armies, each pro-
vided with divisions of five thousand cavalry, the period being
about B.C. 1700, with no dates beyond that are known as relating
to the horse, we are shut up to our own reasoning as to the num-
ber of centuries that may have been required to produce these
great numbers. It must have been at least one century, or it may
have been three of four, and this would carry us back to the head
of the house of Japheth.

If we accept Egyptian chronology, which still lacks much of
being reliable, one of the Pharaohs, named Thutmosis I., invaded
Syria, passing up through Palestine till he reached the latitude of
Aleppo, and then turned eastward and crossed the Euphrates.
His campaign was successful; he fought many battles and returned
laden with spoils, especially horses and chariots of war. This was
liefore the Israelites reached the promised land, and before
Joshua's battle with the "Northern kings," in which they had



30 THE HORSE OF AMERICA.

"horsemen and chariots very many," and which is the earliest
Scriptural instance in which horses were employed in battle.

The territory embracing the ancient countries of Eastern Asia
Minor, bounded on the north by the Black Sea and the Caucas-
ian mountains, on the south by the thirty-seventh degree of
north latitude, and extending to the Caspian Sea, has always
been remarkable for the variety, value, and abundance of its agri-
cultural products. Many of the very early historians have noted
the fact that each one of the countries embraced in this territory
was distinguished for the excellence and numbers of horses pro-
duced, and they appear in about the following order, namely,
Armenia, Cappadocia, Cilicia, Media. The last-named country
embraced Avhat is now the northern part of Persia, and as between
the "Medes" and the "Persians" there is no little confusion in
the public mind, as sometimes one was on top and sometimes the
other. Then, to add to the confusion, the Assyrians came in,
occupying the same country and the same capitals. For our
present purposes it is not necessary to enter into the considera-
tion of these successive dynasties. The Modes were comparatively
newcomers, and as they were a great military people their promi-
nence in horse history resulted more from the spoils of war and
the tribute in horses that they collected from their neighbors
than from their own production. Kitto says that in the time of
the Persian empire the plain of Nissseum was celebrated for its
horses and horse races. This plain was near the city of Nissaea,
around which were fine pr.sture lands, producing excellent clover.
. The horses were "entirely white" (probably grey) and of extraor-
dinary height and beauty, as well as speed. They constituted
part of the luxury of the great, and a tribute in kind was paid
from them to the monarch, who, like all Eastern sovereigns, used
to delight in equestrian display. Some idea of the oisulence of
the country may be had when it is known that, independently of
imposts rendered in money. Media (then the undermost dog),
paid a yearly tribute of not less than three thousand horses,
four thousand mules, and nearly one hundred thousand sheep.
The races, once celebrated through the world, seem to exist no
more.

When Darius the Mede had extended his empire over the
whole of Western Asia and Egypt, he exacted heavy tribute in
horses from all subjugated provinces. This was about 520 B.C.,
and antedated the racing referred to above. In all parts of his



ORIGINAL HABITAT OF THE HORSE. 31

extended empire he built roads and established lines of couriers,
mounted on fleet horses, that there might be no delay in receiv-
ing at his capital and sending out again intelligence of what was
transpiring in any part of his dominions. For this service the
best and fleetest horses were required, and the only guide we
have to determine how these horses were selected we find in the
fact that the tribute collected from the little kingdom of Cilicia,
formerly a part of Cappadocia, was, in addition to a stated sum of
money, one white horse for every day in the year. It is possible
that these white Cilician horses may have been the progenitors of
the white (grey) race horses spoken of in Media.

In describing the general fruitfulness of Cappadocia, Strabo
says: "Cappadocia was also rich in herds and flocks, but more
particularly celebrated for its breed of horses." Strabo speaks
of this as a leading characteristic of the country and doubtless it
had held pre-eminence in this respect for generations before he
wrote. Three hundred and fifty-six years later, when Constan-
tiuswas selecting his presents of horses for the prince and people
of Yemen, in Arabia, he knew just where to look, in all his
dominions, for the best of their kind, and selected two hundred
"well-bred" ones for Arabia. Sir R. Wilson, in discussing the
quality of the Russian cavalry horses about 1810, had evidently
heard of this Cappadocian origin of the Arabian horse, but, un-
fortunately, he got all the parties badly mixed in his reference.
He makes Constantine instead of Constantius the donor of three
hundred Cappadocian horses, instead of two hundred, and they
are given to one of the African princes, instead of to an Arabian
prince. The African traveler, Bruce, found some excellent horses
in Nubia, Africa, and from their high quality and unusually large
size he seems to have jumped to the conclusion that these were
the descendants of the three hundred from Constantine.

After glancing over all the different countries in this great
zone as defined above, and extending from the Bosphorus to the
Caspian Sea, one cannot fail to be impressed with its special
adaptation to the production and sustenance of all varieties of
domestic animals, in their greatest perfection. Here the country
seems to have been made for the horse, and the horse for the
country. Here was a country suited to his nativity, and here we
find records of his existence centuries earlier than in any other
country. The wild ass flourished in this country, but I have not
been able to find any evidence or indication that the horse was



:j2 THE HORSE OF AMERICA.

not always the companion and servant of man. Wherever he is
found in a feral state reasons that are amply satisfactory are
never wanting to account for that state. Ancient historians have
specially noted each of the princij)al countries embraced in this
zone for the superiority and numbers of its horses, but no one
has made any allusion to wild horses, nor suggested that there
may have been a time when their ancestors were wild.

Now, as we have designated a long and wide region of Western
Asia, embracing a number of different nationalities and govern-
ments, as the probable original habitat of the horse, can we go
further and designate the particular nationality or government
in which was his original home and from which he was distrib-
uted to adjoining nations or peoples? In answer to this ques-
tion, we cannot present any dates of record earlier than about
1700 B.C., and this date will apply as well to Media and Cappa-
docia as to Armenia. We must, therefore, consider it in the
light of other facts and circumstances, not dependent upon
specific dates. In the first place, and taking the Mosaic account
of the deluge as the starting point, "'the ark rested on the moun-
tains of Ararat." This is the original name of a country, inter-
sected by a mountain range, and that range took its name from
the country in which it was found. "Mount Ararat" was simply
a very high peak in that range. The distinction should be ob-
served here between "the mountains of Ararat" and "Mount
Ararat." In the second place, it is clearly established by all his-
tory that near the base of this mountain range Japheth and his
descendants had their homes. His son Gomer was highly dis-
tinguished in his day, and his grandson, Togarmah, son of
Gomer, became a powerful chief. To such prominence did he
rise in the affairs of his age that for centuries after his day his
country was called "Togarmah." Hence we have the three
names, Ararat, Togarmah and Armenia applied in sacred and
profane history to the same country that we are now considering.

During the continuance of the dynasty of King Haic or Haicus,
the son of Togarmah, the Armenians became a very j^rosperous
and powerful people. They did not seem to be an aggressive or
Avarlike people, although their boundaries were greatly extended,
but a thrifty agricultural and industrious people. Breeding and
marketing horses seem to have been their leading employments.
In the twenty-seventh chapter of the Prophet Ezekiel he gives a
catalogue of the different peoples trading with the great



ORIGINAL HABITAT OF THE HORSE. 33

Phoenician merchants and the products of their countries, in which
they traded. This catalogue was written five hundred and fifty-
eight years before the Christian era, and is very remarkable
for its extent and completeness. It not only shows what the
Phoenicians carried away to the West, in their "Ships of
Tarshish," but also what they brought back for distribution
among their customers in Western Asia. I willquote, from
the revised version, two or three of the classes of articles
enumerated, embracing both import and export trade. Of
foreign imports he says: "Tarshish" (Spain and beyond) "was
thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kinds of riches;
with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded for thy wares." Of
articles for export he says: "They of the house of Togarmah
traded for thy wares with horses and war-horses and mules."
"Togarmah" here means "Armenia," and this is the only in-
stance in which horses are mentioned in the catalogue. I will
give another quotation, not because it is conclusive in itself, but
because it is confirmatory of Strabo's statement that there were
no horses in Arabia in his day. He says: "Arabia and all the
princes of Kedar, they were the merchants of thy hand; in lambs,
and rams, and goats, in these were they thy merchants." Other
products from more southern portions of Arabia are enumerated,
but no horses. This is the initial step toward the general dis-
tribution of horsesj by the Phoenician merchants, which will be
developed in the next chapter.

In speaking of Media (Vol. II., p. 265), Strabo says: "The
country is peculiarly adapted, as well as Armenia, to the breed-
ing of horses." Of one district not far from the Caspian he re-
marks: "Here, it is said, fifty thousand mares were pastured in
the time of the Persians, and were the king's stud. The Nes-
saean horses, the best and the largest in the king's province,
were of this breed, according to some writers, but according to
others they were from Armenia." Again he says: "Cappadocia
paid to the Persians, yearly, in addition to a tribute in silver,
one thousand five hundred horses, two thousand mules, and fifty
thousand sheep, and the Medes contributed nearly double this
amount."

Of Armenia he says, p. 271: "The country is so well adapted,
being nothing inferior in this respect to Media, for breeding horses
that the race of Nessaean horses, which the king of Persia used.



34 THE HORSE OF AMERICA.

is found here also; the satrap of Armenia used to send annually
to the king of Persia twenty thousand young horses."

The Ness^an horses, so famous for their speed, were the
"thoroughbreds" of their day, and there can hardly be a doubt
they originated in Armenia, and, just like our own "thorough-
breds," they were essentially the result of careful selection
through a series of generations, and of breeding only from
animals possessing the desired qualifications in the highest
degree. In the earlier days of racing in Media, it appears that
white was the fashionable color, but I am disposed to think that
grey, growing white with age, was the color intended to be ex-
pressed by the writers of that period. The "albino" color is
abnormal and supposed to indicate tenderness and lack of stamina.

There is one fact, in considering this question, to which I have
probably not given sufficient prominence and weight. So far as
the records go, the three countries of Armenia, Cappadocia, and
Media are synchronous in having mounted troops in their
armies seventeen hundred years before the Christian era. We
must, therefore, consider the conditions of these countries ante-
cedent to the period of 1700 B.C. Of Cappadocia we know abso-
lutely nothing historically until it was conquered by Cyrus, king
of Persia, about 588 B.C. Of Media the earliest knowledge we
have of a historical character does not go back further than about
842 B.C. It should be observed that I here speak of "historical"
knowledge and not of uncertain traditions of many centuries
earlier. Both of these nations with their distinctive nationalities
have, long since, been wiped off the surface of the earth.

When we reach Armenia, we reach a people with a most re-
markable history, extending back for more than four thousand
years. This history, although not wholly free from criticism or
doubt, seems to be honestly written and worthy of a liberal
measure of confidence. That ■ the children of Japheth should
have settled at the foot of the mountains of Ararat strikes every
one as a very natural event, but that their descendants should still
be there, through all the triumphs and oppressions of four thou-
sand years, is one of the most stupendous facts in the history of
the world. From the very first we know of them they seem to
have been an agricultural people, strongly attached to their
native soil. When they ruled over the land from the Caspian to
the Mediterranean, they built no great cities, but adhered stead-
fastly to the rural pursuits of their fathers, and this, probably,



ORIGINAL HABITAT OF THE HORSE. 35

•was the chief cause of their weakness. Their wealth and sources
of wealth were chiefly in their horses, and these they sold to the
merchants of Sidon and Tyre, who carried them to all the nations
of Europe and Africa, commencing with Egypt, and supplying all
wants as far as Spain and Morocco, and beyond, probably, as far
as Britain. The Phcenician merchants were the first to open
commercial transactions with Europe and Africa, and they were
in control of the commerce of the world long before King Solomon
entered into commercial partnership with Hiram, king of Tyre.
Armenia had horses to sell long before they had horses in Egypt,
and Phoenicia had ships and enterprise to carry them there.
There is a fitting of interests here that seems to point to Armenia
as the great original source of supply, and as the original habitat
of the horse.



CHAPTER III.

EARLY DISTRIBUTION OF HORSES.

First evidences of horses in Egypt about 1700 B.C. — Supported by Egyptiai*
records and history — The Patriarch Job had no horses — Solomon's great
cavalry force organized — Arabia as described by Strabo at the beginning of
our era — No horses then in Arabia — Coustantius sends two hundred
Cappadocian horses into Arabia a.d. 356 — Arabia tlie last country to be
supplied with horses — The ancient Phoenician merchants and their colonies
— Hannibal's cav^alry forces in the Punic Wars — Distant ramifications of
Phoenician trade and colonization — Commerce reached as far as Britain and
the Baltic — Probable source of Britain's earliest horses.

Having considered the different theories or opinions as to the
original habitat of the horse and the means and facilities by which
distribution to the different portions of the earth may have been
effected, I have omitted land migration, which will be self-evident
to all as an important factor in the problem. It is now in order,
therefore, to consider such dates and facts as are pertinent and
may be gleaned from history, sacred and profane.

When Abraham, with Sarah his wife, visited Egypt about 1920
B.C., the Pharaoh for her sake bestowed upon him many gifts:
"Sheep and oxen and he asses and men servants and maid serv-
ants and she asses and camels." Among these great gifts there
were no horses, evidently because Egypt had no horses at that
time. There is no mention nor reference to horses in Egypt till
Joseph became prime minister two hundred years later, when
there were a few horses, and they were traded or sold to Joseph by
their owners in exchange for food, not in droves, but as individ-
uals. These scriptural facts in the experiences of Abraham and
Joseph seem to be circumstantially sustained by the discoveries
of those learned Egyptologists who, in late years and with the
spade in their hands, have resurrected so much of history that had
been buried for thousands of years. It was during the reign of
the Hyksos, or Shepherd Kings, that Abraham and Joseph were
in Egypt, and in order to approximate the time when horses were
first introduced, we must glance at a few facts in connection with



EARLY DISTRIBUTION OF HORSES. 37

what is known of the Hyksos. Some have claimed they were from
Ohaldea, some from Northern Syria and Asia Minor, and some
again from Phoenicia, and it is one of the strangest things in his-
tory that a great nation should be overthrown and held in sub-
jection for over five hundred years and nobody know who did it.
Then again, it is equally incomprehensible that any nation should
have subdued Egypt and held it in bondage so long and yet never
have claimed the honor of having done so. Still another mystery
remains that never has been solved, and that is, what became of
the Shepherds and their followers when they were driven out?
At the period of the conquest the governing class was rent by
factions and under a weak and tyrannical king. The Delta and
the Valley of the Nile were crowded with slaves, many of them
of Asiatic origin. The elevated plains and mountain sides were
covered with fierce and intractable nomads, all of Asiatic origin,
tending their flocks. Some brave and skillful shejaherd organized
the shepherds and the slaves and at their head swept down upon
the government with a power that was so mighty as to be irre-
sistible. Manetho, the great Egyptian historian of more than
two thousand years ago, thus describes the event: "Under this
king, then, I know not wherefore, the god caused to blow upon
us a baleful wind, and in the face of all probability bands from
the East, people of ignoble race, came upon us unawares, at-
tacked the country and subdued it easily and without fighting."
In remarking upon this same event Professor. Maspero, who stands
at the very head of the Egyptologists, says: "It is possible that they
{the shepherds) owed this rapid victory to the presence in their
armies of a factor hitherto unknown to the Africans — the war
chariot — and before the horse and his driver the Egyptians gave
way in a body." In view of the direct declaration of Manetho
that the question of the succession was settled "without figlit-
ing," the mere suggestion of an unsustained "possibility" from
Maspero that the result may have been determined by the war
chariots cannot be accepted. All the authorities agree that the
horse was introduced into Egypt at some period during the rule
of the Shepherd Kings, but there is absolutely no evidence that
this was at the beginning or anywhere near the beginning of that
rule.

No records or delineations of the horse have been found in any
of the temples or tombs of Egypt prior to the beginning of the
■eighteenth dynasty, which was probably about the year 1570 B.C.



38 THE HORSE OF AMERICA.

and contemporaneous with the birth of Moses. If the Shepherd
Kings left behind them any records or delineations of the horse
it would be quite natural for the true kingly line to destroy and
erase every vestige of whatever would revive a memory to them so
bitter and hateful. But the absence of all traces of horses under
the seventeenth dynasty of the Shepherds does not prove that
there was none, for we have direct proof in Joseph's case* that
they were there one hundred and fifty-six years, and in Jacob's
burial one hundred and nineteen years before the beginning of
the eighteenth dynasty.

The question as to the time when they procured their horses
having now been approximately settled, the inquiry naturally
follows as to where they came from? In answering this question.
there seems to be no hesitation or doubt. They came from
Northern Syria, which embraces not only the northeastern
coast of the Mediterranean, including Phoenicia, but the countries
north and east of it trading there, which means the great horse-
breeding countries of Armenia and Cappadocia. Being largely
engaged in the Egyptian trade for many centuries, it is probable
the Phoenician merchants were the principal agents in supplying^
them. In speaking of the horse in Egypt, Prof. Masj^ero says:
"The horse when once introduced into Egypt soon became fairly
adapted to its environment. It retained both its height and
size, keeping the convex forehead — which gav3 the head a slightly
curved profile — the slender neck, the narrow hind -quarters, the
lean and sinewy legs and the long, flowing tail which had char-
acterized it in its native country. The climate, however, was
enervating, and constant care had to be taken, by the introduc-
tion of new blood from Syria, to prevent the breed from de-
teriorating. The Pharaohs kept studs of horses in the principal
cities of the Nile valley, and the great feudal lords, following their
example, vied with each other in the possession of numerous
breeding stables."

There are some facts here that are Avorthy of special emphasis:
(1) There were no horses in Egypt till the period of the Shepherd
Kings, i.e., about the time of Joseph. (2) All Egyptologists
down to the present day agree that the supply of Egyptian horses
was procured from Northern Syria. (3) The Egyptians and the
Arabians were adjoining nations in constant, friendly intercourse,
exchanging the products of their respective countries, and yet
there is no shadow of an intimation that the Arabians had then.



EARLY DISTBIBUTIOX OF HORSES. 39

ever owned a horse. It is reasonable to conclude, therefore, not
only from what is written, but from what is implied, that the
Arabians at about the period of 1600 B.C. had no horses. North-
ern Syria, as the source of Egyptian supply, points directly to
Armenia, adjoining on the east, as the original source. When
Strabo wrote at the beginning of the Christian era that there
were no horses in Arabia at that time, he would still have been
within the bounds of the truth if he had said there had been
none there for more the sixteen hundred years before his day.
All these considerations confirm the history that has come down
to us from Philostorgius.

As early as the dynasties of the Shepherd Kings and Avhile the
Israelites were still in Egyptian bondage, the Phoenician mer-
chants had accumulated great wealth and great poAver and were
literally the masters of the seas. The Phoenicians were a com-
mercial and maritime people and the Egyptians were, in fact, de-
pendent upon them for all their foreign supplies. These condi-
tions leave hardly a doubt that Egypt's first supply of horses came
through the Phoenicians. But upon the establishment of the



Online LibraryOscar WildeLady Windermere's fan, and The importance of being Earnest → online text (page 5 of 61)