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Dogs

  • Max Hilzheimer
Extract

I do not intend in this paper to give a complete history of the dog, but simply to discuss certain problems connected with it, and in particular to describe a number of types belonging to different periods and countries.

Our evidence is for the most part pictorial; .yet it must be used with caution, for difficulties are bound to arise if anmals are represented alone, with no clue to their size. For example, figure 3 shows representations of dogs on coins from Panormus of the 4th century B.c.; artistically they are excellent, but nothing can be inferred as to breed, for this depends on the size, of which we know nothing. On the other hand, figure I, although artistically crude, not only tells us the size of the dog relative to the man beside him, but also that the animal is of Maltese breed (MEAITAIE). This is in fact the only instance in antiquity where a breed can be definitely ascertained, for even when descriptions are given of classical breeds, they are as a rule thoroughly unsatisfactory and establish no certain conclusion.

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* This article originally appeared in German in the Zeitschrift für Hundeforschung (Berlin), April 1931, pp 314, and is printed here by permission of the Editor and the Gesellschaft für Hundeforschung. It has been translated, with annotations, by Roland G. Austin, of Glasgow University.

1 See Imhoof-Blumer, and Keller, O., Tier-und Pflanzenbilden auf Münzen und Gemmen des klassischen Altertums.

2 These dogs, referred to by Strabo, (6, 277) as τά κυνδια ἄ, καλονσι Mελιταϊα, were frequent domestic pets; see Daremberg andSaglio, Dictionnaire des Antiquités, s.v. bestiae cicures, figs. 834 and 840, and fig. 1113 s.v. canis.

3 This is now in the British Museum and is described there as a hunting-dog ; cf. Houghton, W., in Trans. Soc. of Biblical Archaeology, 5, 53; Birch, , History ofAncient Pottery, 1, 147

4 Herodotus, 5, 1; cf. Aelian, , de natura animalium, 7, 38,where the Magnesians and Hyrcanians are said to have the same custom; Aelian adds that an Athenian soldier took his dog into action at Marathon, and that the two together were depicted in one of the paintings on the Stoa Poikile.

5 Res militaris, 4, 26.

6 Aeneas Tacticus, , 31, 32(of the Epirotes and Thessalians). Varro, (de re rustica 2, 9, 15) recommends spiked collars (mellum, millus) as a protection for sheep-dogs; cf. Rich, , Illustriertes Wörterbuch der römischen Altertümer (1862), p. 395.

7 i.e., the cards pecuarius pastoralis; thus Plato (Rep. 416A) speaks of them as ἐπÍκovρoι ποιμνίων ; cf. Daremberg and Saglio, s.v. canis, figs. 1118 (bas-relief from the Capitol), and 1119 (Greek vase, Muséede l’Ermitage).

8 cf. Harting, J.E., British animals extinct within historic times, pp.115205 (the wolf).

9 Keller, O. Die antike Tierwelt, suggests that these were the ‘Chinese’ dogs mentioned by Gratius, Cynegetica 159 (sunt qui Seras alant, genus intractabilis irae); he states that according to Chinese chronicles one of these Tibetan dogs was presented to the reigning emperor in 1121 B.C.; but there is nothing to show that they originated in China. (Keller, p. 108–9, where there is also an account of the Indian dog).

This article originally appeared in German in the Zeitschrift für Hundeforschung (Berlin), April 1931, pp. 3–14, and is printed here by permission of the Editor and the Gesellschaft für Hundeforschung. It has been translated, with annotations, by Roland G. Austin, of Glasgow University.

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Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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