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were unknown, and such animals as the hare, wild boar, and stag were in much request as articles of food, it would not be an easy task in a thickly-wooded country to capture many of these creatures without the aid of nets and such like poaching gear. These nets were of different kinds, according to the game pursued. In hare-hunting three sorts are especially mentioned by Xenophon; one was a large sean-like net used for surrounding coverts, another was a small kind for catching the hare in narrow tracks and paths and openings between bushes, and a third was made in the shape of a purse, the mouth of which was kept open by placing in it branches of trees, which served as a decoy. The following are Xenophon's instructions to the harehunter :
• The huntsman (kuvnyérns) should go to the chase in a plain light dress, with shoes of a similar description, and with a thick staff in his hand : the man who manages the nets should follow him, and they should proceed to the hunting-ground in silence, lest the hare, if she happen to be near, should run off on hearing their voices. Having tied the dogs to trees, each separately, that they may be easily unfastened, let them fix the smaller and larger nets, as has been said; - and then let the net-keeper continue on the watch, while the huntsman takes the dogs and proceeds to bring the game towards the net. Next, vowing to Apollo and to Diana the Huntress to offer them a share of what is captured, let him loose that one of his dogs which is most skilful in tracking; and let this be done, if it is winter, at sunrise; if summer, before daybreak; and at other seasons between the two. When the dog, out of all the tracks that intersect one another, has found the right, let the hunter set loose another dog, and when this one has gained the track, let him loose the others one by one, at no long intervals, and follow them, not urging them, but calling each by name, yet not frequently, lest they should be excited before the proper time. The dogs will hasten forward with joy and spirit, discovering two or three tracks, as the case may be, proceeding along and over them, as they intersect, form circles, run straight or winding, are strong or weak, recognised or unrecognised; the animals passing by one another, waving their tails about incessantly, hanging down their ears, and casting bright gleams from their eyes. When they are near the hare, they will make it known to the huntsman by shaking not only their tails but their whole bodies, advancing as it were with hostile ardour, hastening emulously past each other, running resolutely in concert, coming quickly together, separating and again advancing, till at last they will hit upon the hare's hiding-place, and rush towards
She starting up suddenly, will raise behind her, as she flies, a loud barking and clamour from the dogs; and then let the men call after her, as she is pursued, “ Forward, dogs, forward! Right, dogs ! Well done, dogs!” (Kúves, io Kúves, capus ye û kúves, kalós ye û kúves), and then let the huntsman, wrapping his cloak round his hand, and taking his staff, run along the track of the dogs toward the hare, taking
care not to come in the teeth of them, for that would perplex them. The hare running away, and soon getting out of sight, will in general come round again to the place from which she started. * “At him, boy, at him, boy! now boy, now boy!” and the lad must intimate whether she is caught or not. If she is caught in the first run, he must call in the dogs, and seek for another; if not, he must still run on with the dogs with all possible speed, not relaxing, but hurrying forward with the utmost exertion. If the dogs, as they pursue, fall in with her again, he must shout, “ Bravo, bravo, dogs! forward!” (mebe! and if the dogs get far before him, and he is unable, pursuing their track, to come up with them, but misses the way which they have taken, or cannot see them, though they are running somewhere near, or yelping, or still on the scent, he may, as he runs on, call out to any one that he meets, “ Have you seen my dogs anywhere?” When he has discovered where they are, he may, if they are on the track, go up to them and encourage them, repeating as often as he can the name of each dog, and varying the tones of his
voice, making it sharp or grate, gentle or strong. In addition to other exhortations, he may, if the pursuit is on a hill, call out, “Well done, dogs! well done!” but if they are not on the track, but have gone beyond it, he must call to them, “ Hark back, hark back, dogs!” After they have come apa the track, he must lead them round, making many and frequent circles, and wherever the scent is obscure, he ought to take a stake as a mark for himself, and draw the dogs round by this, cheering them and soothing them until they plainly recognise the track. They, as soon as the track is clear, will throw themselves forward, and leap from side to side, will seem to have a common feeling, and to be forming conjettures, making signs to one another, and fixing as it were recognised bounds for themselves, will start forward quickly in pursuit; but while they thus run hither and thither over the track you must not urge them or run on with them, lest through eagerness they should go beyond it. But when they are close upon the hare, and make it plain to the huntsman that they are so, he must take care lest through fear of the dogs the hare dart off in advance. The dogs themselves, whisking about their tails, running against and frequently leaping over one another, yelping, tossing up their heads, looking towards the huntsman, and intimating that these are the true tracks of the hare, will rouse her of themselves, and spring upon her with loud cries Should she run into the nets, or flee past them, whether on the outside or the inside, let the net-keeper who is stationed at each of these parts call out that such is the case. Should the hare be captured, the huntsman may proceed to seek another; if not, he may still continue to pursue her, using the same incitements to the dogs as before.'t
Although by a modern sportsman this mode of hunting a hare
* The Greek word for a hare (Layús) is masculine; but we have used the feminine pronoun in accordance with the English custom.
† The translation given above is from Bohn's 'Classical Library' We hare compared it with the original as we proceeded.
by tracking her to her form, and then, if possible, chopping her, or making her rush frantically into the nets, will be regarded perhaps as tame work compared to a day with a good pack of harriers; still it is easy to see in the above remarks of Xenophon the spirit of a real lover of the chase, as well as to recognise in them much good advice.
On the difficult question of scent, Xenophon says that the spring and autumn are the best seasons for finding it; that in summer the scent is uncertain, for the ground being warm absorbs the warmth which the scent has; that in winter, when there is hoar-frost or ice, there is no scent; that much dew dulls the scent by keeping it down ; and that southerly winds make it faint ; thus reversing the Englishman's notion that
A southerly wind and a cloudy sky
Proclaim a hunting morning. The moon often comes in for blame in causing some disaster or other. Not only does the full orb make lunatics, but it sadly interferes with hare-hunting : 'Scent is most scarce when the moon is full, for the hares, pleased with the light, and jumping up as they sport together, place their steps at long intervals. The ancient sportsman of Scillus, however, rightly says that the scent is perplexed when foxes have crossed the ground previously.
Xenophon, we doubt not, must have had a keen eye for marking a hare in her form ; coursing was not known in his days, nor practised till long afterwards; otherwise no one, we suspect, would more often have halted the advancing line by the wellknown Soho! supposing that word had been Greek. Here is his description of a hare in her form :
• The hare, when it is disposed to settle, makes her form (eủvì) for the most part in warm spots, when it is cold; when it is hot, in shady ones; in spring and autumn in places exposed to the sun. . . . As she reclines, she draws the inner part of her thighs under her flanks, putting the fore-legs together, for the most part, and stretching them out, resting the chin on the tips of the feet, and spreading the ears over the shoulder-blades, by which means it covers the soft parts of the neck.'
Xenophon gives a very good description of the different parts of the hare's body, and sums up with the remark that it is impossible that an animal composed of such parts should not be strong, agile, and extremely nimble. He had, however, some odd notions about certain particular uses to which parts of its body were occasionally applied. The tail of the hare is too short to allow of its being used as a rudder, so the animal steers itself by Vol. 118.-No. 236.
means of its long ears, turning one or the other obliquely to one side, according to the direction which it desires to take. (!) *
Hares in the winter time, and when snow covered the ground, were caught in the following manner. Dogs were not to be used, as the snow 'parched' (kalei) their noses, and the scent was excessively bad; but the hunter was to go out with a companion to the hills, taking with him his nets, and was to search for marks of the hare's feet in the snow. When the track shows itself plainly, the hunter may proceed straightforward, and it will lead him either to a shady or to a steep place, because the wind carries the snow over such spots. When the foot-tracks lead to these places, he must not approach too near lest the hare should start, but make a circuit round her; for it is to be expected that a hare is there, and it will presently become certain, since there will be no track from such spots leading out in any other direction.' The hunter was then to leave the place and look out for further tracks, according to the time of day, before they became obliterated. He was next to surround the different places with his nets, and arouse the hare into them. If she escaped the net he was to run on her track again, till he arrived at her lair, which he was to surround with nets; at length the hare would be caught, either in a net, or from exhaustion in consequence of the weight of snow that would attach itself to her legs and feet. Callimachus † alludes to hare-tracking in an epigram which Horace † has translated. Oppian § also recommends snowtracking in winter, which, he says, is attended with no great difficulty, because all marks in snow are readily recognised, and the soiled foot-prints remain visible for some time. Virgil seems to allude to tracking when he speaks of sundry winter occupations :
Tunc gruibus pedicas et retia ponere cervis,
Auritosque sequi lepores.'-(Georg. i. 308.) It is by no means an easy matter to make out, with any degree of certainty, the form of some of the implements employed by ancient sportsmen. The laqueus of the Latin writers was clearly an instrument for strangling the game: the word was probably not used in any very definite sense. It would appear that the laqueus, as used in war, was a long noose-rope, like the lasso still in use for catching wild horses in America; but there is no evidence, as far as we have been able to ascertain, that wild
* Ælian thought that the hare when chased lashed the back of her neck with her ears to impel her to greater speed (κέχρηται αυτούς προς το μη ελινύειν μηδε okveiv, olov uvwt., 'Nat. Hist.' xiii. 14). † Callim. Ep. 33. # Sat. I. ii. 105. § Cyneg. i. 454.
animals were captured by the sportsmen of ancient Greece and Rome with this noose-rope.
Hares and cranes were caught by the laqueus,* so that the snare, in all probability, was identical with the 'grin' or 'gin' of the modern poacher. Gratius speaks of laquci curraces, which we feel sure denote such snares as we have alluded to; the words, running nooses' speak for themselves, and it is altogether a mistake to refer the adjective to the game, and suppose the laquei to be attached to the feet of running animals. Large game too, such as stags, were caught by means of these laquei, and we can easily understand how a strong ‘noose’ set carefully in the runs and amongst the bushes frequented by these animals would capture them just as readily as smaller game. A very simple method of taking a hare—though we might be inclined to think not a very effective one—was to knock her over as she fled along, by a well-directed 'shot' with a crooked stick. The Greek layosórov denotes etymologically
something to throw at hares;' it is used by Theocritus and other writers to signify (a shepherd's staff.' We are unable to give further information as to its success in hare-hunting ; but the Scholiast on Theocritus (Id. iv. 49)
• Αίθ' ής μοι ροικόν το λαγωβόλον, ώς τυ πατάξω
Would I had my crooked staff that I might hit you,' is an authority for its use in sporting.†
Oppian [ speaks of a three-pronged fork for killing hares (Xaywodóvos Tplaiva); what was the particular use of this murderous implement we cannot tell, and leave the solution of the question to the reader's ingenuity.
The many wily inventions,' says the learned translator of Arrian's “ Treatise on Coursing,” devised by man's ingenuity of old for ensnaring noxious and timid animals, appear to us more like instruments of lawless poaching, than fair hunting, and fully justify the conclusion of rian's 24th Chapter de Venatione; wherein, with the spirit of a genuine courser he exclaims, “there is as much difference between a fair trial of speed in a good run, and ensnaring a poor animal without an effort, as between the secret piratical assaults of robbers at sea and the victorious naval engagements of the Athenians at Salamis, at Psyt
* Hor. Epod. ii. 35.
+ The Lagobolon is a piece of wood with which hares, as they run away, are struck.'-Schol. Theoc. ad loc. There is no reason to doubt that the ancient Greeks acquired considerable skill in the use of the lagobolon. It is well known that the modern Bedouins in Palestine and Syria are very dexterous and successful in the capture of partridges and small bustards by means of their throw-sticks, which they use pretty much after the fashion of an Australian boomerang. Kiessling, in his note on Theocritus (Id. Sup. cit.), refers to Spanheim ad Callimachi H. in Dian. v. 2, for further information on this subject. $ Cyneg. i. 154. 2 1 2