ON HUNTING, A SPORTSMAN'S MANUAL, OR, CYNEGETICUS
To cope with the wild boar the huntsman needs to have a variety of dogs, Indian, Cretan, Locrian, and Laconian,303 along with a stock of nets, javelins, boar-spears, and foot-traps.
To begin with, the hounds must be no ordinary specimens of the species named,304 in order to do battle with the beast in question.
The nets should be made of the same flaxen cord305 as those for hares above described. They should be forty-five threaded in three strands, each strand consisting of fifteen threads. The height from the upper rim306 (i.e. from top to bottom) should be ten meshes, and the depth of the nooses or pockets one elbow-length (say fifteen inches).307 The ropes running round the net should be half as thick again as the cords of the net; and at the extremities308 they should be fitted with rings, and should be inserted (in and out) under the nooses, with the end passing out through the rings. Fifteen nets will be sufficient.309
The javelins should be of all sorts,310 having blades of a good breadth and razor-sharpness, and stout shafts.
The boar-spears should in the first place have blades fifteen inches long, and in the middle of the socket two solid projecting teeth of wrought metal,311 and shafts of cornel-wood a spear-shaft’s thickness.
The foot-traps should resemble those used for deer.
These hunts should be conducted not singly,312 but in parties, since the wild boar can be captured only by the collective energy of several men, and that not easily.
I will now explain how each part of the gear is to be used in hunting.
The company being come to some place where a boar is thought to lie, the first step is to bring up the pack,313 which done, they will loose a single Laconian bitch, and keeping the rest in leash, beat about with this one hound.314 As soon as she has got on the boar’s track, let them follow in order, one after another, close on the tracking hound, who gives the lead to the whole company.315 Even to the huntsmen themselves many a mark of the creature will be plain, such as his footprints on soft portions of the ground, and in the thick undergrowth of forests broken twigs; and, where there are single trees, the scars made by his tusks.316 As she follows up the trail the hound will, as a general rule, finally arrive at some well-wooded spot; since, as a general rule, the boar lies ensconced in places of the sort, that are warm in winter and cool in summer.
As soon as she has reached his lair she will give tongue; but the boar will not get up, not he, in nine cases out of ten. The huntsman will thereupon recover the hound, and tie her up also with the rest at a good distance from the lair.317 He will then launch his toils into the wild boar’s harbourage,318 placing the nooses upon any forked branches of wood to hand. Out of the net itself he must construct a deep forward-jutting gulf or bosom, posting young shoots on this side and that within, as stays or beams,319 so that the rays of light may penetrate as freely as possible through the nooses into the bosom,320 and the interior be as fully lit up as possible when the creature makes his charge. The string round the top of the net must be attached to some stout tree, and not to any mere shrub or thorn-bush, since these light-bending branches will give way to strain on open ground.321 All about each net it will be well to stop with timber even places322 “where harbrough nis to see,” so that the hulking brute may drive a straight course323 into the toils without tacking.
As soon as the nets are fixed, the party will come back and let the hounds slip one and all; then each will snatch up his javelin324 and boar-spear, and advance. Some one man, the most practised hand, will cheer on the hounds, and the rest will follow in good order at some considerable distance from one another, so as to leave the animal a free passage; since if he falls into the thick of them as he makes off, there is a fair chance of being wounded, for he will certainly vent his fury on the first creature he falls foul of.
As soon as the hounds are near his lair, they will make their onslaught. The boar, bewildered by the uproar, will rise up and toss the first hound that ventures to attack him in front. He will then run and fall into the toils; or if not, then after him full cry.325 Even if the ground on which the toils environ him be sloping, he will recover himself promptly;326 but if level, he will at once plant himself firm as a rock, as if deliberating with himself.327 At that conjuncture the hounds will press hard upon him, while their masters had best keep a narrow eye upon the boar and let fly their javelins and a pelt of stones, being planted in a ring behind him and a good way off, until the instant when with a forward heave of his body he stretches the net tight and strains the skirting-rope. Thereupon he who is most skilful of the company and of the stoutest nerve will advance from the front and deliver a home thrust with his hunting-spear.
Should the animal for all that rain of javelins and stones refuse to stretch the skirting-rope, should he rather relax328 in that direction and make a right-about-face turn bearing down on his assailant, there is nothing for it, under these circumstances, but to seize a boar-spear, and advance; firmly clutching it with the left hand forward and with the right behind; the left is to steady it, and the right to give it impulse; and so the feet,329 the left advanced in correspondence with the left arm, and right with right. As he advances, he will make a lunge forward with the boar-spear,330 planting his legs apart not much wider than in wrestling,331 and keeping his left side turned towards his left hand; and then, with his eye fixed steadily on the beast’s eye, he will note every turn and movement of the creature’s head. As he brings down the boar-spear to the thrust, he must take good heed the animal does not knock it out of his hands by a side movement of the head;332 for if so he will follow up the impetus of that rude knock. In case of that misfortune, the huntsman must throw himself upon his face and clutch tight hold of the brushwood under him, since if the wild boar should attack him in that posture, owing to the upward curve of its tusks, it cannot get under him;333 whereas if caught erect, he must be wounded. What will happen then is, that the beast will try to raise him up, and failing that will stand upon and trample him.
From this extremity there is but one means of escape, and one alone, for the luckless prisoner. One of his fellow-huntsmen must approach with boar-spear and provoke the boar, making as though he would let fly at him; but let fly he must not, for fear of hitting the man under him. The boar, on seeing this, will leave the fallen man, and in rage and fury turn to grapple his assailant. The other will seize the instant to spring to his feet, and not forget to clutch his boar-spear as he rises to his legs again; since rescue cannot be nobly purchased save by victory.334 Let him again bring the weapon to bear in the same fashion, and make a lunge at a point within the shoulder-blade, where lies the throat;335 and planting his body firmly press with all his force.336 The boar, by dint of his might and battle rage, will still push on, and were it not that the teeth of the lance-blade hindered,337 would push his way up to the holder of the boar-spear even though the shaft run right through him.338
Nay, so tremendous is the animal’s power, that a property which no one ever would suspect belongs to him. Lay a few hairs upon the tusk of a boar just dead, and they will shrivel up instantly,339 so hot are they, these tusks. Nay, while the creature is living, under fierce excitement they will be all aglow; or else how comes it that though he fail to gore the dogs, yet at the blow the fine hairs of their coats are singed in flecks and patches?340
So much and even greater trouble may be loked for from the wild boar before capture; I speak of the male animal. If it should be a sow that falls into the toils, the huntsman should run up and prod her, taking care not to be pushed off his legs and fall, in which case he cannot escape being trampled on and bitten. Ergo, he will not voluntarily get under those feet; but if involuntarily he should come to such a pass, the same means341 of helping each the other to get up again will serve, as in the case of the male animal; and when he has regained his legs, he must ply the boar-spear vigorously till she too has died the death.
Wild pigs may be captured further in the following fashion: The nets are fixed for them at the entrances of woody glens,342 in coppices and hollows, and on screes, where there are outlets into rank meadow-lands, marshes, and clear pools.343 The appointed person mounts guard at the nets with his boar-spear, while the others work the dogs, exploring the best and likeliest spots. As soon as the quarry is found the chase commences. If then an animal falls into the net, the net-keeper will grip his boar-spear and344 advance, when he will ply it as I have described; if he escape the net, then after him full cry. In hot, sultry weather the boar may be run down by the hounds and captured. Though a monster in strength, the creature becomes short of breath and will give in from sheer exhaustion.
It is a form of sport which costs the lives of many hounds and endangers those of the huntsmen themselves. Supposing that the animal has given in from exhaustion at some moment in the chase, and they are forced to come to close quarters;345 whether he has taken to the water, or stands at bay against some craggy bank, or does not choose to come out from some thicket (since neither net nor anything else hinders him from bearing down like a tornado on whoever approaches); still, even so, advance they must, come what come may, to the attack. And now for a display of that hardihood which first induced them to indulge a passion not fit for carpet knights346—in other words, they must ply their boar-spears and assume that poise of body347 already described, since if one must meet misfortune, let it not be for want of observing the best rules.348
Foot-traps are also set for the wild boar, similar to those for deer and in the same sort of places; the same inspections and methods of pursuit are needed, with consequent attacks and an appeal to the boar-spear in the end.
Any attempt to capture the young pigs will cost the huntsman some rough work.349 The young are not left alone, as long as they are small; and when the hounds have hit upon them or they get wind of something wrong, they will disappear like magic, vanishing into the forest. As a rule, both parents attend on their own progeny, and are not pleasant then to meddle with, being more disposed to do battle for their young than for themselves.
303 For these breeds see Pollux, v. 37: for the Laconian, Pind. “Fr.” 73; Soph. “Aj.” 8; cf. Shakesp. “Mids. N. D.” iv. 1. 119, 129 foll.
304 Or, “these hounds of the breed named must not be any ordinary specimens”; but what does Xenophon mean by ek toutou tou genous?
305 i.e. “of Phasian or Cathaginian fine flax.”
306 tou koruphaiou.
307 pugon. The distance from the elbow to the first joint of the finger = 20 daktuloi = 5 palaistai = 1 1/4 ft. + (L. & S.)
308 ep akrois. Cf. akreleniois.
309 Reading ikanai, vid. Lenz ad loc. and ii. 4.
310 Al. “of various material.” See Pollux, v. 20 ap. Schneid.
311 Wrought of copper (or bronze).
312 Lit. “There should be a band of huntsmen”; or, “It will take the united energies of several to capture this game.” See Hom. “Il.” ix. 543, of the Calydonian boar:
ton d’ uios Oineos apekteinen Meleagros, polleon ek polion theretoras andras ageiras kai kunas . ou men gar k’ edame pauroisi brotoisin tossos een, pollous de pures epebes’ alegeines.
“But him slew Meleagros the son of Oineus, having gathered together from many cities huntsmen and hounds; for not of few men could the boar be slain, so mighty was he; and many an one brought he to the grievous pyre” (W. Leaf).
313 kunegesion, “a hunting establishment, huntsmen and hounds, a pack of hounds,” L. & S. cf. Herod. i. 36; Pollux. v. 17. In Aristot. “H. A.” viii. 5. 2, of wolves in a pack; v. monopeirai. upagein—“stealthily?”
314 Or, “go on a voyage of discovery.”
315 Reading te ikhneuouse, or if vulg. ikhneusei, transl. “set her to follow the trail, at the head of the whole train.”
316 Schneid. cf. Aristot. “H. A.” vi. 18; Plin. viii. 52; Virg. “Georg.” iii. 255, “ipse ruit, dentesque Sabellicus exacuit sus”; Hom. “Il.” xi. 416, xiii. 475; Hes. “Shield,” 389; Eur. “Phoen.” 1389; Ovid, “Met.” viii. 369.
317 Lit. “accordingly recover the dog, and tie her up also with the rest,” etc.
318 ormous. Lit. “moorings,” i.e. “favourite haunts.” Cf. dusorma below. Al. “stelle die Fallnetze auf die Wechsel,” Lenz.
319 anteridas. See a note in the “Class. Rev.” X. i. p. 7, by G. S. Sale: “It can only mean long sticks used as stretchers or spreaders to hold up the net between and beyond the props.” Cf. Thuc. vii. 36, 2.
320 Or, “within the bay of network.”
321 sunekhontai en tois psilois ai e. “Denn diese werden an unbestandenen Orten durch die Leine niedergezogen,” Lenz; sunelkontai conj. Schn.; sunerkhontai al., “concurrunt,” vid. Sturz.
322 ta dusorma, met. from “bad harbourage.” Cf. Arsch. “Pers.” 448; “Ag.” 194. Cf. Lat. “importunus,” also of “rough ground.”
323 Or, “make his rush.”
324 Lit. “then they will take their javelins and boar-spears and advance.”
325 Or, “a pretty chase must follow.”
326 Or, “if within the prison of the net the ground be sloping, it will not take long to make him spring up; he will be up again on his legs in no time.”
327 Or, “being concerned about himself.”
328 epanieis. See Sturz, s.v.
329 Lit. “forwards the left foot will follow the left arm and the right foot the other.”
330 “Statum venatoris aprum venabulo excipientis pinxit Philostratus,” “Imag.” i. 28, Schn.
331 Or, “he will step forward and take one stride not much longer than that of a wrestler, and thrust forward his boar-spear.”
332 Cf. Hes. “Shield,” 387; Hom. “Il.” xii. 148: “Then forth rushed the twain, and fought in front of the gates like wild boars that in the mountains abide the assailing crew of men and dogs, and charging on either flank they crush the wood around them, cutting it at the root, and the clatter of their tusks waxes loud, till one smite them and take their life away” (A. Lang).
333 “Safety can only be won with honour by some master-stroke of victory.”
334 sphage. Aristot. “H. A.” i. 14. 2. “Straight at the jugular.”
335 Or, “throwing his whole weight on the thrust, press home with all his force.”
336 Or, “but for the intervention of the two projecting teeth of the lance-blade.” See the account of the passage of arms between Col. Pollock and a boar in his “Incidents of Foreign Sport and Travel.” There the man was mounted, but alone.
337 Lit. “force his heavy bulk along the shaft right up to the holder of the boar-spear.”
338 euthus, i.e. “for a few seconds after death.”
339 The belief is still current, I am told, in parts of India.
340 dianastaseis, “the same methods of mutual recovery.”
341 Al. “at the passages from woodland lakes into oak-coppices.”
342 udata, “waters,” lakes, pools, rivers, etc.
343 Or, “and proceed to tackle him.”
344 Reading prosienai [ta probolia]. [The last two words are probably a gloss, and should be omitted, since prosienai (from prosiemi) ta probolia = “ply,” or “apply their boar-spears,” is hardly Greek.] See Schneid. “Add. et Corr.” and L. Dind. ad loc.
345 ekponein, “to exercise this passion to the full.”
346 Lit. “assume their boar-spears and that forward attitude of body.”
347 Lit. “it will not be at any rate from behaving correctly.”
348 Lit. “the piglings will resent it (sc. to aliskesthai) strongly”; al. “the adult (sub. to therion) will stand anything rather.”
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