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especially the latter. An odd variant' (F, Fig. 30) may represent a twinned four-spoked wheel; it occurs on a tetradrachm of Syracuse of about 500 B.C.
Mr. Myres informs me that Mykenæan and Dipylon cars regularly have plain four-spoked wheels”; and this is normal till Roman times. Six spokes occur in the seventh to the sixth centuries, however,' and later, as on a coin of Chalkis of the third to the second century B.C. ; but most of the apparently six-spoked wheels are perspective views of fourspoked wheels, in which the axle is shown, and also the projecting hub. Eight spokes occur as early as the seventh century (probably), in an Oriental car on a Cyprian vase, and in the sixth century at Klazomenæ, on a painted sarcophagus. But they are not common till much later, as, for example, on an Athenian coin' of the third to the second century B.C.
After I had written the foregoing I came across a most interesting paper, by Professor de Aranzadi, on“ The Groaning and other Waggons of Spain,” which supplies very valuable evidence as to the real nature of these early wheels. The built-up solid wheel of ancient Greece (Fig. 30, A) finds its exact counterpart among the Basques of to-day (Fig. 31). The planks of which the wheel is made are kept together by a transverse plano-convex bar, on the inner side, and by two annular iron bands, which are fastened at the periphery, on the inside and outside of the wheel; but a still simpler kind of wheel (Fig. 31, 6) also occurs. The intermediate stage (Fig. 30, C) is still in use in Spain ; Aranzadi calls it the Cantabrian-Asturian wheel. In this the felloe is formed of six pieces of wood, two of the primary planks remain, and the cross-bar is now biconvex in section. The two peripheral iron bands are also present. In one form from Cangas de Tineo, the two planks fill up the angles which the cross-bar makes with the felloe, and the cross-bar forms the only spoke.
i Brit. Mus. Guide, pl. 9, fig. 34.
3 E.g., on a Melian vase, Conze, Melische Thonge fasse, and Brunn, Gr. Kunst-geschichte, i., p. 109.
* Brit. Mus. Guide, p. 43, fig. 32. 5 Brunn, Gr. Kunst-geschichte, i., fig. 96. 6 Ibid., loc. cit., fig. 135. . Brit. Mus. Guide, pl. 65, fig. 14. * Telesforo de Aranzadi, “ Der ächzende Wagen und Andres aus Spanien," Archiil. für Anthropologie, xxiv., 1896, p. 215.
Fig. 31. Various Spanish Wheels ; after Telesforo de Aranzadi. 1. The outer side of a Basque wheel. 2. The inner side of the same wheel. 3. The
Cantabrian-Asturian wheel. 4. Portuguese wheel, 5. Portuguese cart. 6. Wheel from Larrasoana.
In Portugal, wheels are made out of a single piece of wood (Fig. 31, 4), in which two elliptical holes are cut; the wheel is strengthened by bands of iron. An analogous wheel, built up of three boards, occurs in Galicia. The latter type is found in the ox-carts of the Canary Islands and among the Zuñi Indians of New Mexico, to which places it was brought by the Spaniards. I have been informed that in Mexico, where this kind of wheel is also found, it is sometimes made without any metal parts. A perfectly similar wheel is figured by Gastaldi'; it was made of three pieces of walnut wood; these were clamped by two curved pieces of larch wood, which were let into the wheel; the latter had two semi-circular perforations on each side of the axle. The wheel belonged to the Bronze Age of Northern Italy, and was found in a bog at Mercurago, near Arona.
It is tempting to regard such perforated block-wheels as representing the precursors of spoke-wheels. If in a solid wheel, with four perforations, it was found that the holes could be enlarged without seriously weakening the contrivance, a wheel with four broad spokes would result; and it might be discovered that it was better to make spokes intentionally than to leave them as supports between holes.
I do not, however, think that this was the actual process of evolution. Most probably the wheel was composed originally of a single piece of wood, later it may have been constructed of boards (Fig. 31, 6) which were variously strengthened. Yet later it was discovered that it was not necessary to make the wheel solid, and various expedients, some of which have been noted above, were devised to lighten the wheel and yet retain its strength.
Groaning through Spain, as if still in the pangs of their labour, do we find these various forms of cumbersome wheels, essentially the same as they creaked three millenniums ago in ancient Greece.'
The “groaning cart,” or, as the Spaniards poetically term it, the “ singing cart,” Carro que canta, may still be heard in the picturesque parts of Cantabrian and Atlantic
1 B. Gastaldi, loc. cit., p. 111.
? Block-wheels, which may be mere discs of wood, sometimes perforated with holes, occur in China, Korea, and other parts of Asia.
coasts; but it is probably doomed to disappear, as carts of the same shape, but with an iron hub in the wheels, with felloes, with the axle fastened to the floor of the vehicle, and which do not squeak, are silently but surely replacing them. The friction of the axle against the wedges in the floor of the waggon which keep it in its place, produces the squeaking or jarring sound which from time to time sounds like a tune or its octave; this is useful as a warning to prevent two carts from meeting in a narrow street, and also serves for the recognition of an approaching waggon. In the towns the creaking of carts is forbidden, so the drivers grease the axles with tallow, soap, or bacon, but as soon as they have passed the last house of the town they remove the tallow and put resin and water on the axle to make it groan again, so great is the pleasure they take in it. In Galicia there is a folk-song, which runs as follows:
“When thou wilt that the waggon sings,
Moisten the axle in the river,
When these carts are driven on natural roads, which have been made by repeated use, even the steepest hills are not avoided. They are used for all kinds of field work, for carrying manure, or bringing in the harvest, and also they are very important at weddings for carrying the bride's dowry to the house of the bridegroom.
Professor de Aranzadi gives various details which are important for those who would go into further details of the construction of primitive carts. Dr. Gadow' devotes a chapter to “ Ox-carts and different modes of yoking " in his book on Spain; he gives five excellent figures of carts, and graphically describes “the most awful squeaking, squealing, creaking, croaking, howling noise.” He states, the natives“ either say that the oxen like the music, or that the noise drives away the devil.”
1 Hans Gadow, In Northern Spain, London, 1897, pp. 272-280.
We have already seen that in yet earlier times than those of Rome and Greece the spoke-wheeled war-chariots bore the Assyrian warriors on their paths of conquest, so soon did the early and rapidly perfected wheel of the war-chariot outstrip the backward wheel of the “ slow lumbering wains of the Eleusinian mother.” 1
As Professor Tylor truly observes:
“ In looking at these clumsy vehicles we certainly seem to have primitive forms before us. There is, however, the counterargument which ought not to be overlooked, and which in some measure accounts for the lasting-on of these rude carts, namely, that for heavy carting across rough ground they are convenient as well as cheap and easily repaired. Considering that the railwaycarriage builder gives up the coach-wheel principle and returns to the primitive construction of the pair of wheels fixed to the axle turning in bearings, we see that our ordinary carriage-wheels turning independently on their axles, are best suited to comparatively narrow wheels and to smooth ground or made roads. Here they give greater lightness and speed, and especially have the advantage of easily changing direction and turning, which in the old block-wheel cart can only be done by gradually slewing round in a wide circuit.”
We must now return to Ireland.
It is impossible to say how long ago spoke-wheels were introduced there; we may, however, feel pretty certain that it was during the Bronze Age, and we may also assume that they probably accompanied the war-chariot.
We know that three great branches of the Celtic stock, the Gauls, the British, and the Irish, used war-chariots.
Vergil, Georgics, i., 163.