Billeder på siden

covered in 1891 on the banks of the Danube,' about thirtyseven miles to the east of Vienna. It belonged to the period of transition between those of Hallstadt and La Tène, that is to say, about the commencement of the fourth century B.C., or at the time when iron was replacing bronze for cutting implements in that part of Europe. Amongst other subjects a chariot race is engraved on this bucket, or situla. The wheels of the chariots are either block-wheels with four nearly circular perforations, or spoke-wheels with four very broad spokes; this was evidently the character of the

FIG. 26.. Celtic Chariot, from the Göttweiger Situla ; after Szombathy. wheels of the war chariots of the Celts; we may assume that those of their waggons were of yet ruder construction.

The Roman evidence has been conveniently summarised by J. Yates and G. E. Marindin in their article on the Plaustrum.The body consisted of a platform, with or without sides; these were upright boards or open-work rails, or a large wicker basket was fastened on the platform. The wheels ordinarily had no spokes,' but were solid, of the kind called tympana, or“ drums," nearly a foot in thickness, and

J. Szombathy, “ Die Göttweiger Situla," Correspondenz-Blatt Deutsch Anth. Gesell, xxiii., 1892, p. 9.

? A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, edited by W. Smith, W. Wayte, and G. E. Marindin, 1891. The plaustrum was a heavy twowheeled cart; the four-wheeled was the plaustrum majus.

: Non sunt radiatæ, Prob. ad Verg. Georg., i., 165.

made either by sawing them whole from the trunk of a tree or by nailing together boards. These wheels were fastened to the axle, which revolved within wooden rings attached to the under side of the platform. Although these wheels were excellent for the preservation of the roads, they turned with a long circuit, and advanced slowly and with a creaking sound.' They were usually drawn by oxen, but sometimes by mules. The Greek äua&a corresponded both to the plaustrum and the plaustrum majus; “ the four-wheeled wain” is mentioned in the Odyssey, ix., 241, and Herodotus, i., 188.

Professor Tylor figures an ox-waggon that is carved on the Antonine Column; it appears to have solid wheels, and the square end of the axle proves that it and its drum-wheels turned round together. He points out that the ancient Roman farm-carts were mostly made with wheels built up of several pieces of wood nailed together, “as are their successors which are used to this day with wonderfully little change, as in Greece and Portugal.” The bullock-cart of the Azores' is a striking relic from the classic world; “ its wheels are studded with huge iron nails by way of tire.”. Although the block-wheel was still in use in the

Fig. 27. Agricultural Scene on a Vase in the Campana Collection, Louvre ; after Duruy.

Italy of the Roman Empire, spoke-wheels were also employed even for agricultural vehicles, but I have been unable to gather any Italian evidence of the transition stages.

i Stridentia plaustra, Verg. Georg., iii., 536. ? Bullar, Winter in the Azores, i., p. 121; cf. Tylor, loc. cit., fig. 12, p. 80.

: E. B. Tylor, “On the Origin of the Plough and Wheel-Carriage,” Journ. Anth. Inst., X., 1880, p. 80.

My friend, Mr. J. L. Myers, of Christchurch, Oxford, has very kindly given me several references to early Greek chariot wheels which have supplied links in the evolution of spokes that I was in search of. The block-wheel is shown in A, Fig. 30. This is evidently a built-up wheel, but there is no rim or felloe to it.

Wheels with three spokes, evidently derived from this, are figured by Duruy from various sources.' The spirited little agricultural scene (Fig. 27), depicted on a vase in the Campana collection in the Louvre, gives a clue to the structure of the wheel, which is seen on a larger scale on another vase (Fig. 28), copied by Duruy from Gerhard.' The wheel


Fig. 28. Ancient Greek Carriage on a Vase ; after Duruy, from Gerhard.

(B, Fig. 30) figured by Harrison and Verrall’ from an archaic Greek plate in the British Museum of the sixth century B.C., which also consists of three spokes, is another example of the same type of wheel. A variety with two

IV. Duruy, Histoire des Grecs, 1887, i., pp. 251, 373, 732. ? Auserlesene Vasenbilder, Taf. ccxvii. 3 Jane Harrison and Margaret Verrall, Mythology and Monuments of Ancient Athens, 1890, p. 289, fig. 30.

of the spokes slightly curved is admirably rendered on an Etruscan silver coin in the British Museum' (C, Fig. 30), the date of which may be about the middle of the fifth century, or earlier. A wheel of this description was found by Gastaldi ' in the turbary of Mercurago, near Arona in North Italy;“ it is a wheel of elegant form, in which there is not the slightest trace of any metal.” The figure given by Gastaldi (on page 112 of his book) proves that these wheels could be made most skilfully in the Bronze Age.

The four-spoked wheel is characteristic of Greek vehicles, and may be seen on innumerable coins and vases. It was in use in the Mykenæan Period. A war-chariot of the heroic


FIG. 29. Mykenæan War Chariot of the Heroic Age on the François Vase ; after Duruy.

age is painted upon the François vase (Fig. 29) with this kind of wheel; in order to give greater support to the felloe, the spokes either splay out or are clamped by triangular blocks. An interesting feature in this wheel is the indication of lashing at the junction of the spokes with the hub; it looks as if these were fastened together by means of leather thongs. It is impossible to say whether in this instance actual lashing is intended, or whether the wheels were decorated with a pattern which had its origin in an antecedent method of fastening; examples of the latter will be found in my little book, Evolution in Art. A method of supporting and strengthening the rim, analogous to the last device, is found on an Euboian coin of the early part of the sixth century B.C.,' but in this case (D, Fig. 30) small struts are employed.

1 B. V. Head, A Guide to the Principal Gold and Silver Coins of the Ancients, from circ. B.C. 700 to A.D. I, British Museum, 3rd ed., 1889, pl. xv., fig. 1.

? B. Gastaldi, Lake Habitations and Pre-historic Remains in the Turbaries and Marl-Beds of Northern and Central Italy, London, 1865.

3 From Duruy, loc. cit., p. 155, after Monum. dell' Instit, archeol. IV. tav. liv., lv. ; and W. Helbig, Das homerische Epos aus den Denkm. erläut., fig. 18, p.


FIG. 30.
A Series of Early Greek Chariot Wheels from Various Sources.

The shape of the spokes of Greek wheels and the method of their insertion into their respective felloes vary considerably; in E, Fig. 30, will be found four variants; of these No. 1 is from a coin of Tarentum ; No. 2 is from a car of Triptolemus, on a vase, in which again there is a chevron ornament on the spokes at their insertion in the hub which is suggestive of tying. Nos. 3 and 4 are common forms,

1 Brit. Mus. Guide, pl. 5, fig. 21, ? Ibid., pl. 7, fig. 5.

3 Duruy, loc. cit., i., p. 53 ; see also Harrison and Verrall, loc. cit., p. cix., fig. 22 ; p. cxxxix., fig. 36.

« ForrigeFortsæt »