The Sportsman by Xenophon

Etext prepared by John Bickers, The Sportsman by Xenophon Translation by H. G. Dakyns Xenophon the Athenian was born 431 B.C. He was a pupil of Socrates. He marched with the Spartans, and was exiled from Athens. Sparta gave him land and property in Scillus, where he lived for many years before having to
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Etext prepared by John Bickers,

The Sportsman

by Xenophon

Translation by H. G. Dakyns

Xenophon the Athenian was born 431 B.C. He was a pupil of Socrates. He marched with the Spartans, and was exiled from Athens. Sparta gave him land and property in Scillus, where he lived for many years before having to move once more, to settle in Corinth. He died in 354 B.C.

The Sportsman is a manual on hunting hares, deer and wild boar, including the topics of dogs, and the benefits of hunting for the young.


This was typed from Dakyns’ series, “The Works of Xenophon,” a four-volume set. The complete list of Xenophon’s works (though there is doubt about some of these) is:

Work Number of books

The Anabasis 7
The Hellenica 7
The Cyropaedia 8 The Memorabilia 4
The Symposium 1
The Economist 1
On Horsemanship 1 The Sportsman 1
The Cavalry General 1 The Apology 1
On Revenues 1
The Hiero 1
The Agesilaus 1
The Polity of the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians 2

Text in brackets “{}” is my transliteration of Greek text into English using an Oxford English Dictionary alphabet table. The diacritical marks have been lost.

A Sportsman’s Manual

Commonly Called



To the gods themselves is due the discovery, to Apollo and Artemis, patrons of the chase and protectors of the hound.[1] As a guerdon they bestowed it upon Cheiron,[2] by reason of his uprightness, and he took it and was glad, and turned the gift to good account. At his feet sat many a disciple, to whom he taught the mystery of hunting and of chivalry[3]–to wit, Cephalus, Asclepius, Melanion, Nestor, Amphiaraus, Peleus, Telamon, Meleager, Theseus and Hippolytus, Palamedes, Odysseus, Menestheus, Diomed, Castor and Polydeuces, Machaon and Podaleirius, Antilochus, Aeneas and Achilles: of whom each in his turn was honoured by the gods. And let none marvel that of these the greater part, albeit well-pleasing to the gods, nevertheless were subject to death–which is the way of nature,[4] but their fame has grown–nor yet that their prime of manhood so far differed. The lifetime of Cheiron sufficed for all his scholars; the fact being that Zeus and Cheiron were brethren, sons of the same father but of different mothers–Zeus of Rhea, and Cheiron of the nymph Nais;[5] and so it is that, though older than all of them, he died not before he had taught the youngest–to wit, the boy Achilles.[6]

[1] Or, “This thing is the invention of no mortal man, but of Apollo and Artemis, to whom belong hunting and dogs.” For the style of exordium L. Dind. cf (Ps.) Dion. “Art. rhet.” ad in.; Galen, “Isagog.” ad in.; Alex. Aphrodis. “Probl.” 2 proem.

[2] The wisest and “justest of all the centaurs,” Hom. “Il.” xi. 831. See Kingsley, “The Heroes,” p. 84.

[3] Or, “the discipline of the hunting field and other noble lore.”

[4] Lit. “since that is nature, but the praise of them grew greatly.”

[5] According to others, Philyra. Pind. “Pyth.” iii. 1, {ethelon Kheirona ke Philuridan}; cf. “Pyth.” vi. 22; “Nem.” iii. 43.

[6] See Paus. iii. 18. 12.

Thanks to the careful heed they paid to dogs and things pertaining to the chase, thanks also to the other training of their boyhood, all these greatly excelled, and on the score of virtue were admired.

If Cephalus was caught into the arms of one that was a goddess,[7] Asclepius[8] obtained yet greater honour. To him it was given to raise the dead and to heal the sick, whereby,[9] even as a god among mortal men, he has obtained to himself imperishable glory. Melanion[10] so far excelled in zest for toil that he alone of all that flower of chivalry who were his rivals[11] obtained the prize of noblest wedlock with Atalanta; while as to Nestor, what need to repeat the well-known tale? so far and wide for many a day has the fame of his virtue penetrated the ears of Hellas.[12]

[7] Hemera (al. Eos). For the rape of Cephalus see Hes. “Theog.” 986; Eur. “Ion,” 269; Paus. i. 3. 1; iii. 18. 7.

[8] Lat. Aesculapius. Father of Podaleirius and Machaon, “the noble leech,” “Il.” ii. 731, iv. 194, 219, xi. 518; “Od.” iv. 232.

[9] Cf. “Anab.” I. ii. 8; Lincke, “z. Xen. Krit.” p. 299.

[10] Melanion, s. Meilanion, Paus. iii. 12. 9; v. 17. 10; v. 19. 1.

[11] “Which were his rival suitors.” As to Atalanta see Paus. viii. 45. 2; iii. 24. 2; v. 19. 2; Grote, “H. G.” i. 199 foll.

[12] Lit. “the virtue of Nestor has so far penetrated the ears of Hellas that I should speak to those who know.” See Hom. “Il.” i. 247, and passim.

Amphiaraus,[13] what time he served as a warrior against Thebes, won for himself the highest praise; and from heaven obtained the honour of a deathless life.[14]

[13] Amphiaraus. Pind. “Nem.” ix. 13-27; “Olymp.” vi. 11-16; Herod. i. 52; Paus. ix. 8. 2; 18. 2-4; ii. 23.2; i. 34; Liv. xlv. 27; Cic. “de Div.” i. 40. See Aesch. “Sept. c. Th.” 392; Eur. “Phoen.” 1122 foll.; Apollod. iii. 6; Strab. ix. 399, 404.

[14] Lit. “to be honoured ever living.”

Peleus kindled in the gods desire to give him Thetis, and to hymn their nuptials at the board of Cheiron.[15]

[15] For the marriage of Peleus and Thetis see Hom. “Il.” xxiv. 61; cf. Pope’s rendering:

To grace those nuptials from the bright abode Yourselves were present; when this minstrel god (Well pleased to share the feast) amid the quire Stood proud to hymn, and tune his youthful lyre (“Homer’s Il.” xxiv.)

Prof. Robinson Ellis (“Comment on Catull.” lxiv.) cites numerous passages: Eur. “I. in T.” 701 foll., 1036 foll.; Pind. “Isthm.” v. 24; “Pyth.” iii. 87-96; Isocr. “Evag.” 192. 6; Apoll. Rh. iv. 791; “Il.” xxiv. 61; Hes. “Theog.” 1006, and “Epithal.” (ap. Tsetz, “Prol. ad Lycophr.):

{tris makar Aiakide kai tetrakis olbie Peleu os toisd’ en megarois ieron lekhos eisanabaineis}.

The mighty Telamon[16] won from the greatest of all states and wedded her whom he desired, Periboea the daughter of Alcathus;[17] and when the first of Hellenes,[18] Heracles[19] the son of Zeus, distributed rewards of valour after taking Troy, to Telamon he gave Hesione.[20]

[16] See “Il.” viii. 283l Paus. i. 42. 1-4.

[17] Or Alcathous, who rebuilt the walls of Megara by Apollo’s aid. Ov. “Met.” viii. 15 foll.

[18] Reading {o protos}; or if with L. D. {tois protois}, “what time Heracles was distributing to the heroes of Hellas (lit. the first of the Hellenes) prizes of valour, to Telamon he gave.”

[19] See Hom. “Il.” v. 640; Strab. xiii. 595.

[20] See Diod. iv. 32; i. 42.

Of Meleager[21] be it said, whereas the honours which he won are manifest, the misfortunes on which he fell, when his father[22] in old age forgot the goddess, were not of his own causing.[23]

[21] For the legend of Meleager see “Il.” ix. 524-599, dramatised by both Sophocles and Euripides, and in our day by Swinburne, “Atalanta in Calydon.” Cf. Paus. iii. 8. 9; viii. 54. 4; Ov. “Met.” viii. 300; Grote, “H. G.” i. 195.

[22] i.e. Oeneus. “Il.” ix. 535.

[23] Or, “may not be laid to his charge.”

Theseus[24] single-handed destroyed the enemies of collective Hellas; and in that he greatly enlarged the boundaries of his fatherland, is still to-day the wonder of mankind.[25]

[24] See “Mem.” II. i. 14; III. v. 10; cf. Isocr. “Phil.” 111; Plut. “Thes.” x. foll.; Diod. iv. 59; Ov. “Met.” vii. 433.

[25] Or, “is held in admiration still to-day.” See Thuc. ii. 15; Strab. ix. 397.

Hippolytus[26] was honoured by our lady Artemis and with her conversed,[27] and in his latter end, by reason of his sobriety and holiness, was reckoned among the blest.

[26] See the play of Euripides. Paus. i. 22; Diod. iv. 62.

[27] Al. “lived on the lips of men.” But cf. Eur. “Hipp.” 85, {soi kai xeneimi kai logois s’ ameibomai}. See Frazer, “Golden Bough,” i. 6, for the Hippolytus-Virbius myth.

Palamedes[28] all his days on earth far outshone those of his own times in wisdom, and when slain unjustly, won from heaven a vengeance such as no other mortal man may boast of.[29] Yet died he not at their hands[30] whom some suppose; else how could the one of them have been accounted all but best, and the other a compeer of the good? No, not they, but base men wrought that deed.

[28] As to Palamedes, son of Nauplius, his genius and treacherous death, see Grote, “H. G.” i. 400; “Mem.” IV. ii. 33; “Apol.” 26; Plat. “Apol.” 41; “Rep.” vii. 522; Eur. fr. “Palam.”; Ov. “Met.” xiii. 56; Paus. x. 31. 1; ii. 20. 3.

[29] For the vengeance see Schol. ad Eur. “Orest.” 422; Philostr. “Her.” x. Cf. Strab. viii. 6. 2 (368); Leake, “Morea,” ii. 358; Baedeker, “Greece,” 245.

[30] i.e. Odysseus and Diomed. (S. 11, I confess, strikes me as somewhat in Xenophon’s manner.) See “Mem.” IV. ii. 33; “Apol.” 26.

Menestheus,[31] through diligence and patient care, the outcome of the chase, so far overshot all men in love of toil that even the chiefs of Hellas must confess themselves inferior in the concerns of war save Nestor only; and Nestor, it is said,[32] excelled not but alone might rival him.

[31] For Menestheus, who led the Athenians against Troy, cf. Hom. “Il.” ii. 552; iv. 327; Philostr. “Her.” ii. 16; Paus. ii. 25. 6; i. 17. 6; Plut. “Thes.” 32, 35.

[32] Or, “so runs the tale,” e.g. in “The Catalogue.” See “Il.” ii. l.c.: {Nestor oios erizen}, “Only Nestor rivalled him, for he was the elder by birth” (W. Leaf).

Odysseus and Diomedes[33] were brilliant for many a single deed of arms, and mainly to these two was due the taking of Troy town.[34]

[33] The two heroes are frequently coupled in Homer, e.g. “Il.” v. 519; x. 241, etc.

[34] Or, “were brilliant in single points, and broadly speaking were the cause that Troy was taken.” See Hygin. “Fab.” 108; Virg. “Aen.” ii. 163.

Castor and Polydeuces,[35] by reason of their glorious display of arts obtained from Cheiron, and for the high honour and prestige therefrom derived, are now immortal.

[35] Castor, Polydeuces, s. Pollux–the great twin brethren. See Grote, “H. G.” i. 232 foll.

Machaon and Podaleirius[36] were trained in this same lore, and proved themselves adepts in works of skill, in argument and feats of arms.[37]

[36] As to the two sons of Asclepius, Machaon and Podaleirius, the leaders of the Achaeans, see “Il.” ii. 728; Schol. ad Pind. “Pyth.” iii. 14; Paus. iii. 26; iv. 3; Strab. vi. 4 (284); Diod. iv. 71. 4; Grote, “H. G.” i. 248.

[37] Or, “in crafts, in reasonings, and in deeds of war.”

Antilochus,[38] in that he died for his father, obtained so great a glory that, in the judgment of Hellas, to him alone belongs the title “philopator,” “who loved his father.”[39]

[38] Antilochus, son of Nestor, slain by Memnon. “Od.” iv. 186 foll.; Pind. “Pyth.” vi. 28; Philostr. “Her.” iv.; “Icon.” ii. 281.

[39] Lit. “to be alone proclaimed Philopator among the Hellenes.” Cf. Plat. “Laws,” 730 D, “He shall be proclaimed the great and perfect citizen, and bear away the palm of virtue”; and for the epithet see Eur. “Or.” 1605; “I. A.” 68.

Aeneas[40] saved the ancestral gods–his father’s and his mother’s;[41] yea, and his own father also, whereby he bore off a reputation for piety so great that to him alone among all on whom they laid their conquering hand in Troy even the enemy granted not to be despoiled.

[40] As to Aeneas see Poseidon’s speech, “Il.” xx. 293 foll.; Grote, “H. G.” i. 413, 427 foll.

[41] Cf. “Hell.” II. iv. 21.

Achilles,[42] lastly, being nursed in this same training, bequeathed to after-days memorials so fair, so ample, that to speak or hear concerning him no man wearies.

[42] “The highest form that floated before Greek imagination was Achilles,” Hegel, “Lectures on the Philosophy of History” (Eng. tr. p. 233); and for a beautiful elaboration of that idea, J. A. Symonds, “Greek Poets,” 2nd series, ch. ii.

Such, by dint of that paintstaking care derived from Cheiron, these all proved themselves; of whom all good men yet still to-day are lovers and all base men envious. So much so that if throughout the length and breadth of Hellas misfortunes at any time befell city or king, it was they who loosed the knot of them;[43] or if all Hellas found herself confronted with the hosts of the Barbarians in strife and battle, once again it was these who nerved the arms of Hellenes to victory and rendered Hellas unconquered and unconquerable.

[43] Reading {eluonto autous}, or if as L. D., {di autous}, transl. “thanks to them, they were loosed.”

For my part, then, my advice to the young is, do not despise hunting or the other training of your boyhood, if you desire to grow up to be good men, good not only in war but in all else of which the issue is perfection in thought, word, and deed.


The first efforts of a youth emerging from boyhood should be directed to the institution of the chase, after which he should come to the rest of education, provided he have the means and with an eye to the same; if his means be ample, in a style worthy of the profit to be derived; or, if they be scant, let him at any rate contribute enthusiasm, in nothing falling short of the power he possesses.

What are the aids and implements of divers sorts with which he who would enter on this field must equip himself? These and the theory of each in particular I will now explain. With a view to success in the work, forewarned is forearmed. Nor let such details be looked upon as insignificant. Without them there will be an end to practical results.[1]

[1] Or, “The question suggests itself–how many instruments and of what sort are required by any one wishing to enter this field? A list of these I propose to give, not omitting the theoretical side of the matter in each case, so that whoever lays his hand to this work may have some knowledge to go upon. It would be a mistake to regard these details as trivial. In fact, without them the undertaking might as well be let alone.”

The net-keeper should be a man with a real passion for the work, and in tongue a Hellene, about twenty years of age, of wiry build, agile at once and strong, with pluck enough to overcome the toils imposed on him,[2] and to take pleasure in the work.

[2] {toutous}, “by this, that, or the other good quality.”

The ordinary small nets should be made of fine Phasian or Carthaginian[3] flax, and so too should the road nets and the larger hayes.[4] These small nets should be nine-threaded [made of three strandes, and each strand of three threads],[5] five spans[6] in depth,[7] and two palms[8] at the nooses or pockets.[9] There should be no knots in the cords that run round, which should be so inserted as to run quite smoothly.[10] The road net should be twelve-threaded, and the larger net (or haye) sixteen. They may be of different sizes, the former varying from twelve to twenty-four or thirty feet, the latter from sixty to one hundred and twenty or one hundred and eighty feet.[11] If larger they will be unwieldy and hard to manage. Both should be thirty-knotted, and the interval of the nooses the same as in the ordinary small nets. At the elbow ends[12] the road net should be furnished with nipples[13] (or eyes), and the larger sort (the haye) with rings, and both alike with a running line of twisted cord. The pronged stakes[14] for the small nets should be ten palms high,[15] as a rule, but there should be some shorter ones besides; those of unequal length will be convenient to equalise the height on uneven ground, and those of equal length on level. They should be sharp-tipped so as to draw out easily[16] and smooth throughout. Those for the road nets should be twice the height,[17] and those for the big (haye) nets five spans long,[18] with small forks, the notches not deep; they should be stout and solid, of a thickness proportionate to their length. The number of props needed for the nets will vary–many or few, according to circumstances; a less number if the tension on the net be great, and a larger number when the nets are slack.[19]

[3] Phasian or Carchedonian. Cf. Pollux, v. 26.

[4] {arkus, enodia, diktua}.

[5] [L. Dind. brackets.] See Pollux, v. 27, ap. Schn.

[6] {spithame}, a span (dodrans) = 7 1/2 inches. Herod. ii. 106; {trispithamos}, Hes. “Op.” 424; Plat. “Alc.” i. 126 C; Aristot. “H. A.” viii. 28. 5; Polyb. v. 3-6.

[7] {to megethos}.

[8] Or, “eight fingers’ breadth +” = 6 inches +. {palaiste} or {palaste}, a palm or four fingers’ breadth = 3 inches +.

[9] {tous brokhous}, a purse or tunnel arrangement with slip loop.

[10] Reading {upheisthosan de oi peridromoi anammatoi}. Lit. “the cords that run round should be inserted without knots.” See Pollux, v. 28 foll.

[11] Lit. “2, 4, 5 fathoms; 10, 20, 30 fathoms.”

[12] {akroleniois}, elbows, Pollux, v. 29; al. {akroliniois}, L. & S., “on the edges or borders.”

[13] {mastous}, al. “tufts.”

[14] {skhalides}, forks or net props. Cf. Pollux, v. 19. 31.

[15] i.e. 30 + inches = 2 1/2 + ft., say 36 inches = 3 ft.

[16] {euperispastoi ta akra}, al. “they should be made so that the nets can be fitted on and off easily, with sharp points”; or “off the points easily.”

[17] {siplasiai}, i.e. 20 palms = 60 + inches, say 72, or 6 ft.

[18] {pentespithamoi}, i.e. 5 x 7 1/2 inches = 37 1/2 inches = 3 ft. 1 1/2 inch; al. 5 x 9 inches = 45 inches = 3 ft. 9 inches.

[19] Or, “if in the particular position the nets are taut, a larger if they lie slack.”

Lastly, for the purpose of carrying the nets and hayes, for either sort[20] there must be a bag of calf-skin; and billhooks to cut down branches and stop gaps in the woods when necessary.[21]

[20] Reading, with Lenz, {ekaterois}, or if, as C. Gesner conj., {e ekatera}, transl. “or either separately.”

[21] Or, “for the purpose of felling wood and stopping up gaps where necessary.”


There are two breeds of sporting dogs: the Castorian and the fox- like.[1] The former get their name from Castor, in memory of the delight he took in the business of the chase, for which he kept this breed by preference.[2] The other breed is literally foxy, being the progeny originally of the dog and the fox, whose natures have in the course of ages become blent.[3]

[1] {Kastoriai}, or Laconian, approaching possibly the harrier type; {alopekides}, i.e. vulpocanine, hybrid between fox and dog.

[2] Or, “get their appellation from the fact that Castor took delight in the business of the chase, and kept this breed specially for the purpose.” Al. {diephulaxen}, “propagated and preserved the breed which we now have.” See Darwin, “Animals and Plants under Domestication,” ii. 202, 209.

[3] Or, “and through lapse of time the twofold characteristics of their progenitors have become blent.” See Timoth. Gaz. ap. Schneid. ad loc. for an ancient superstition as to breeds.

Both species present a large proportion of defective animals[4] which fall short of the type, as being under-sized, or crook-nosed,[5] or gray-eyed,[6] or near-sighted, or ungainly, or stiff-jointed, or deficient in strength, thin-haired, lanky, disproportioned, devoid of pluck or of nose, or unsound of foot. To particularise: an under-sized dog will, ten to one, break off from the chase[7] faint and flagging in the performance of his duty owing to mere diminutiveness. An aquiline nose means no mouth, and consequently an inability to hold the hare fast.[8] A blinking bluish eye implies defect of vision;[9] just as want of shape means ugliness.[10] The stiff-limbed dog will come home limping from the hunting-field;[11] just as want of strength and thinness of coat go hand in hand with incapacity for toil.[12] The lanky-legged, unsymmetrical dog, with his shambling gait and ill- compacted frame, ranges heavily; while the spiritless animal will leave his work to skulk off out of the sun into shade and lie down. Want of nose means scenting the hare with difficulty, or only once in a way; and however courageous he may be, a hound with unsound feet cannot stand the work, but through foot-soreness will eventually give in.[13]

[4] Or, “defective specimens (that is to say, the majority) are to be noted, as follows.”

[5] {grupai}.

[6] {kharopoi}. Al. Arrian, iv. 4, 5.

[7] Or, “will probably retire from the chase and throw up the business through mere diminutiveness.”

[8] Or, “a hook-nosed (? pig-jawed, see Stonehenge, “The Dog,” p. 19, 4th ed.) dog has a bad mouth and cannot hold.”

[9] Or, “a short-sighted, wall-eyed dog has defective vision.”

[10] Or, “they are weedy, ugly brutes as a rule.”

[11] Or, “stiffness of limbs means he will come off.” Cf. “Mem.” III. xiii. 6.

[12] Lit. “a weak, thinly-haired animal is incapable of severe toil.”

[13] Or, “Nor will courage compensate for unsound feet. The toil and moil will be too great to endure, and owing to the pains in his feet he will in the end give in.”

Similarly many different modes of hunting a line of scent are to be seen in the same species of hound.[14] One dog as soon as he has found the trail will go along without sign or symptom to show that he is on the scent; another will vibrate his ears only and keep his tail[15] perfectly still; while a third has just the opposite propensity: he will keep his ears still and wag with the tip of his tail. Others draw their ears together, and assuming a solemn air,[16] drop their tails, tuck them between their legs, and scour along the line. Many do nothing of the sort.[17] They tear madly about, babbling round the line when they light upon it, and senselessly trampling out the scent. Others again will make wide circuits and excursions; either forecasting the line,[18] they overshoot it and leave the hare itself behind, or every time they run against the line they fall to conjecture, and when they catch sight of the quarry are all in a tremor,[19] and will not advance a step till they see the creature begin to stir.

[14] Or, “Also the same dogs will exhibit many styles of coursing: one set as soon as they have got the trail pursue it without a sign, so there is no means of finding out that the animal is on the track.”

[15] “Stern.”

[16] Or “with their noses solemnly fixed on the ground and sterns lowered.”

[17] Or, “have quite a different action”; “exhibit quite another manner.”

[18] i.e. “they cast forwards to make short cuts,” of skirters too lazy to run the line honestly.

[19] Reading {tremousi}, “fall a-trembling”; al. {atremousi}, stand stock-still”; i.e. are “dwellers.”

A particular sort may be described as hounds which, when hunting or pursuing, run forward with a frequent eye to the discoveries of the rest of the pack, because they have no confidence in themselves. Another sort is over-confident–not letting the cleverer members of the pack go on ahead, but keeping them back with nonsensical clamour. Others will wilfully hug every false scent,[20] and with a tremendous display of eagerness, whatever they chance upon, will take the lead, conscious all the while they are playing false;[21] whilst another sort again will behave in a precisely similar style out of sheer ignorance.[22] It is a poor sort of hound which will not leave a stale line[23] for want of recognising the true trail. So, too, a hound that cannot distinguish the trail leading to a hare’s form, and scampers over that of a running hare, hot haste, is no thoroughbred.[24]

[20] Al. “seem to take pleasure in fondling every lie.”

[21] Or, “fully aware themselves that the whole thing is a make- believe.”

[22] Or, “do exactly the same thing because they do not know any better.”

[23] {ek ton trimmon}. Lit. “keep away from beaten paths,” and commonly of footpaths, but here apparently of the hare’s habitual “run,” not necessarily lately traversed, still less the true line.

[24] Lit. “A dog who on the one hand ignores the form track, and on the other tears swiftly over a running track, is not a well-bred dog.” Al. {ta eunaia}, “traces of the form”; {ta dromaia}, “tracks of a running hare.” See Sturz. s.v. {dromaios}.

When it comes to the actual chase, some hounds will show great ardour at first starting, but presently give up from weakness of spirit. Others will run in too hastily[25] and then balk; and go hopelessly astray, as if they had lost the sense of hearing altogether.

[25] So L. & S., {upotheousin} = “cut in before” the rest of the pack and over-run the scent. Al. “flash in for a time, and then lose the scent.”

Many a hound will give up the chase and return from mere distaste for hunting,[26] and not a few from pure affection for mankind. Others with their clamorous yelping on the line do their best to deceive, as if true and false were all one to them.[27] There are others that will not do that, but which in the middle of their running,[28] should they catch the echo of a sound from some other quarter, will leave their own business and incontinently tear off towards it.[29] The fact is,[30] they run on without clear motive, some of them; others taking too much for granted; and a third set to suit their whims and fancies. Others simply play at hunting; or from pure jealousy, keep questing about beside the line, continually rushing along and tumbling over one another.[31]

[26] Or, {misotheron}, “out of antipathy to the quarry.” For {philanthropon} cf. Pollux, ib. 64; Hermog. ap. L. Dind.

[27] Or, “unable apparently to distinguish false from true.” See Sturz, s.v. {poieisthai}. Cf. Plut. “de Exil.” 6. Al. “Gaily substituting false for true.”

[28] “In the heat of the chase.”

[29] “Rush to attack it.”

[30] The fact is, there are as many different modes of following up the chase almost as there are dogs. Some follow up the chase {asaphos}, indistinctly; some {polu upolambanousai}, with a good deal of guess-work; others again {doxazousai}, without conviction, insincerely; others, {peplasmenos}, out of mere pretence, pure humbug, make-believe, or {phthoneros}, in a fit of jealousy, {ekkunousi}, are skirters; al. {ekkinousi}, Sturz, quit the scent.

[31] Al. “unceasingly tearing along, around, and about it.”

The majority of these defects are due to natural disposition, though some must be assigned no doubt to want of scientific training. In either case such hounds are useless, and may well deter the keenest sportsman from the hunting field.[32]

[32] Or, “Naturally, dogs like these damp the sportsman’s ardour, and indeed are enough to sicken him altogether with the chase.”

The characters, bodily and other, exhibited by the finer specimens of the same breed,[33] I will now set forth.

[33] Or, “The features, points, qualities, whether physical or other, which characterise the better indidivuals.” But what does Xenophon mean by {tou autou genous}?


In the first place, this true type of hound should be of large build; and, in the next place, furnished with a light small head, broad and flat in the snout,[1] well knit and sinewy, the lower part of the forehead puckered into strong wrinkles; eyes set well up[2] in the head, black and bright; forehead large and broad; the depression between the eyes pronounced;[3] ears long[4] and thin, without hair on the under side; neck long and flexible, freely moving on its pivot;[5] chest broad and fairly fleshy; shoulder-blades detached a little from the shoulders;[6] the shin-bones of the fore-legs should be small, straight, round, stout and strong; the elbows straight; ribs[7] not deep all along, but sloped away obliquely; the loins muscular, in size a mean between long and short, neither too flexible nor too stiff;[8] flanks, a mean between large and small; the hips (or “couples”) rounded, fleshy behind, not tied together above, but firmly knitted on the inside;[9] the lower or under part of the belly[10] slack, and the belly itself the same, that is, hollow and sunken; tail long, straight, and pointed;[11] thighs (i.e. hams) stout and compact; shanks (i.e. lower thighs) long, round, and solid; hind-legs much longer than the fore-legs, and relatively lean; feet round and cat- like.[12]

[1] Pollux, v. 7; Arrian, “Cyn.” iv.

[2] {meteora}, prominent. ?See Sturz, s.v.

[3] {tas diakriseis batheias}, lit. “with a deep frontal sinus.”

[4] Reading {makra}, or if {mikra}, “small.”

[5] Al. “well rounded.”

[6] “Shoulder blades standing out a little from the shoulders”; i.e. “free.”

[7] i.e. “not wholly given up to depth, but well curved”; depth is not everything unless the ribs be also curved. Schneid. cf. Ov. “Met.” iii. 216, “et substricta gerens Sicyonius ilia Ladon,” where the poet is perhaps describing a greyhound, “chyned like a bream.” See Stonehenge, pp. 21, 22. Xenophon’s “Castorians” were more like the Welsh harrier in build, I presume.

[8] Or, “neither soft and spongy nor unyielding.” See Stoneh., p. 23.

[9] “Drawn up underneath it,” lit. “tucked up.”

[10] Al. “flank,” “flanks themselves.”

[11] Or, as we should say, “stern.” See Pollux, v. 59; Arrian, v. 9.

[12] See Stonehenge, p. 24 foll.

Hounds possessed of these points will be strong in build, and at the same time light and active; they will have symmetry at once and pace; a bright, beaming expression; and good mouths.

In following up scent,[13] see how they show their mettle by rapidly quitting beaten paths, keeping their heads sloping to the ground, smiling, as it were to greet the trail; see how they let their ears drop, how they keep moving their eyes to and fro quickly, flourishing their sterns.[14] Forwards they should go with many a circle towards the hare’s form,[15] steadily guided by the line, all together. When they are close to the hare itself, they will make the fact plain to the huntsman by the quickened pace at which they run, as if they would let him know by their fury, by the motion of head and eyes, by rapid changes of gait and gesture,[16] now casting a glance back and now fixing their gaze steadily forward to the creature’s hiding-place,[17] by twistings and turnings of the body, flinging themselves backwards, forwards, and sideways, and lastly, by the genuine exaltation of spirits, visible enough now, and the ecstasy of their pleasure, that they are close upon the quarry.

[13] Lit. “Let them follow up the trail.”

[14] Lit. “fawning and wagging their tails.”

[15] Lit. “bed” or “lair.”

[16] Or, “by rapid shiftings of attitude, by looks now thrown backward and now forwards to the . . .” Reading {kai apo ton anablemmaton kai emblemmaton ton epi tas kathedras tou l.}, or if with L. D., {kai apo ton a. kai emblemmaton eis ton ulen kai anastremmaton ton epi tas k.}, transl. “now looking back at the huntsman and now staring hard into the covert, and again right-about-face in the direction of the hare’s sitting-place.”

[17] Lit. “form”; “the place where puss is seated.”

Once she is off, the pack should pursue with vigour.[18] They must not relax their hold, but with yelp and bark full cry insist on keeping close and dogging puss at every turn. Twist for twist and turn for turn, they, too, must follow in a succession of swift and brilliant bursts, interrupted by frequent doublings; while ever and again they give tongue and yet again till the very welkin rings.[19] One thing they must not do, and that is, leave the scent and return crestfallen to the huntsman.[20]

[18] Lit. “let them follow up the chase vigorously, and not relax, with yelp and bark.”

[19] {dikaios}, Sturz, “non temere”; “and not without good reason.” Al. “a right good honest salvo of barks.”

[20] Lit. “Let them not hark back to join the huntsman, and desert the trail.”

Along with this build and method of working, hounds should possess four points. They should have pluck, sound feet, keen noses, and sleek coats. The spirited, plucky hound will prove his mettle by refusing to leave the chase, however stifling the weather; a good nose is shown by his capacity for scenting the hare on barren and dry ground exposed to the sun, and that when the orb is at the zenith;[21] soundness of foot in the fact that the dog may course over mountains during the same season, and yet his feet will not be torn to pieces; and a good coat means the possession of light, thick, soft, and silky hair.[22]

[21] i.e. “at mid-day”; or, “in the height of summer”; al. “during the dog-days”; “at the rising of the dog-star.”

[22] See Pollux, ib. 59; Arrian, vi. 1.

As to the colour proper for a hound,[23] it should not be simply tawny, nor absolutely black or white, which is not a sign of breeding, but monotonous–a simplicity suggestive of the wild animal.[24] Accordingly the red dog should show a bloom of white hair about the muzzle, and so should the black, the white commonly showing red. On the top of the thigh the hair should be straight and thick, as also on the loins and on the lower portion of the stern, but of a moderate thickness only on the upper parts.

[23] See Stonehenge, p. 25; Darwin, op. cit. ii. 109.

[24] But see Pollux, ib. 65, who apparently read {gennaion touto to aploun alla therides}; al. Arrian, vi. See Jaques de Fouilloux, “La Venerie” (ap. E. Talbot, “Oeuvres completes de Xenophon,” traduction, ii. 318).

There is a good deal to be said for taking your hounds frequently into the mountains; not so much for taking them on to cultivated land.[25] And for this reason: the fells offer facilities for hunting and for following the quarry without interruption, while cultivated land, owing to the number of cross roads and beaten paths, presents opportunities for neither. Moreover, quite apart from finding a hare, it is an excellent thing to take your dogs on to rough ground. It is there they will become sound of foot, and in general the benefit to their physique in working over such ground will amply repay you.[26]

[25] Or, “pretty often, and less frequently over.”

[26] Lit. “they must be benefited in their bodies generally by working over such ground.”

They should be taken out in summer till mid-day; in winter from sunrise to sundown; in autumn any time except mid-day; and in spring any time before evening. These times will hit the mean of temperature.[27]

[27] Or, “You may count on a moderate temperature at these times.”


The tracks of hares are long in winter owing to the length of night, and short for the opposite reason during summer. In winter, however, their scent does not lie in early morning, when the rime is on the ground, or earth is frozen.[1] The fact is, hoar frost by its own inherent force absorbs its heat, whilst black frost freezes it.[2]

[1] Or, “when there is hoar frost or black frost” (lit. “ice”).

[2] Or, “the ice congeals them,” “encases as it were in itself the heat,” i.e. the warm scent; aliter, “causes the tracks to freeze at the top.”

The hounds, moreover, with their noses nipped by the cold,[3] cannot under these conditions[4] use their sense of smell, until the sun or the mere advance of day dissolves the scent. Then the noses of the hounds recover, and the scent of the trail begins to exhale itself perceptibly.[5]

[3] Reading {malkiosai}, Cobet, “N. Lect.” 131. “Mnem.” 3, 306; Rutherford, “N. Phry.” p. 135. = “nipped, or numb with cold.” For vulg. {malakiosai} = “whose noses are tender,” see Lenz ad loc.

[4] Lit. “when the tracks are in this case.”

[5] As it evaporates. Aliter, “is perceptible to smell as it is wafted by the breeze to greet them.”

Heavy dews also will obliterate scent by its depressing effect;[6] and rains occurring after long intervals, while bringing out odours from the earth,[7] will render the soil bad for scent until it dries again. Southerly winds will not improve scent–being moisture-laden they disperse it; whereas northerly winds, provided the scent has not been previously destroyed, tend to fix and preserve it. Rains will drown and wash it away, and so will drizzle; while the moon by her heat[8]– especially a full moon–will dull its edge; in fact the trail is rarest–most irregular[9]–at such times, for the hares in their joy at the light with frolic and gambol[10] literally throw themselves high into the air and set long intervals between one footfall and another. Or again, the trail will become confused and misleading when crossed by that of foxes.[11]

[6] Cf. Plut. “Q. Nat.” 917 F, ap. Schneid.

[7] Cf. Theophr. “C. Pl.” xix. 5, 6; xx. 4.

[8] Reading {to thermo}. Aristot. “Gen. An.” iv. 10. Zeune cf. Plut. “Symp.” iii. 10, 657. Macrob. “Sat.” vii. 16; Athen. 276 E. Al. {to thermon}. See Lenz ad loc., “the moon, especially a full moon, dulls the heat (or odour) of the tracks.”

[9] Cf. Poll. v. 67; ib. 66.

[10] “Playing with one another, in the rivalry of sport.”

[11] Lit. “when foxes have gone through before.”

Spring with its tempered mildness is the season to render the scent clear, except where possibly the soil, bursting with flowers, may mislead the pack, by mingling the perfume of flowers with the true scent.[12] In summer scent is thin and indistinct; the earth being baked through and through absorbs the thinner warmth inherent in the trail, while the dogs themselves are less keen scented at that season through the general relaxation of their bodies.[13] In autumn scent lies clean, all the products of the soil by that time, if cultivable, being already garnered, or, if wild, withered away with age, so that the odours of various fruits are no longer a disturbing cause through blowing on to the line.[14] In winter, summer, and autumn, moreover, as opposed to spring, the trail of a hare lies for the most part in straight lines, but in the earlier season it is highly complicated, for the little creatures are perpetually coupling and particularly at this season, so that of necessity as they roam together for the purpose they make the line intricate as described.

[12] i.e. “with the scent into a composite and confusing whole.”

[13] Or, “owing to the relaxed condition of their frames.”

[14] Lit. “The fruity odours do not, as commingling currents, injure the trail.”

The scent of the line leading to the hare’s form lies longer than that of a hare on the run, and for this reason: in proceeding to her form the hare keeps stopping,[15] the other is in rapid motion; consequently, the ground in one case is thickly saturated all along with scent, in the other sparsely and superficially. So, too, scent lies better in woody than on barren ground, since, whilst running to and fro or sitting up, the creature comes in contact with a variety of objects. Everything that earth produces or bears upon her bosom will serve as puss’s resting-place. These are her screen, her couch, her canopy;[16] apart, it may be, or close at hand, or at some middle point, among them she lies ensconced. At times, with an effort taxing all her strength, she will spring across to where some jutting point or clinging undergrowth on sea or freshet may attract her.

[15] “The form tracks are made by the hare leisurely proceeding and stopping at times; those on the run quickly.”

[16] Lit. “Anything and everything will serve to couch under, or above, within, beside, now at some distance off, and now hard by, and now midway between.”

The couching hare[17] constructs her form for the most part in sheltered spots during cold weather and in shady thickets during the hot season, but in spring and autumn on ground exposed to the sun. Not so the running[18] animal, for the simple reason that she is scared out of her wits by the hounds.[19]

[17] “The form-frequenting hare.”

[18] “Her roving congener,” i.e. the hunted hare that squats. The distinction drawn is between the form chosen by the hare for her own comfort, and her squatting-place to escape the hounds when hunted.

[19] i.e. “the dogs have turned her head and made her as mad as a March hare.”

In reclining the hare draws up the thighs under the flanks,[20] putting its fore-legs together, as a rule, and stretching them out, resting its chin on the tips of its feet. It spreads its ears out over the shoulder-blades, and so shelters the tender parts of its body; its hair serves as a protection,[21] being thick and of a downy texture. When awake it keeps on blinking its eyelids,[22] but when asleep the eyelids remain wide open and motionless, and the eyes rigidly fixed; during sleep it moves its nostrils frequently, if awake less often.

[20] Pollux, v. 72.

[21] Or, “as a waterproof.”

[22] So Pollux, ib.

When the earth is bursting with new verdure,[23] fields and farm-lands rather than mountains are their habitat.[24] When tracked by the huntsman their habit is everywhere to await approach, except only in case of some excessive scare during the night, in which case they will be on the move.

[23] “When the ground teems with vegetation.”

[24] Or, “they frequent cultivated lands,” etc.

The fecundity of the hare is extraordinary. The female, having produced one litter, is on the point of producing a second when she is already impregnated for a third.[25]

[25] Re hyper-foetation cf. Pollux, v. 73, ap. Schneid.; Herod. iii. 108; Aristot. “H. A.” iv. 5; Erastosthenes, “Catasterism,” 34; Aelian, “V. H.” ii. 12; Plin. “N. H.” vii. 55.

The scent of the leveret lies stronger[26] than that of the grown animal. While the limbs are still soft and supple they trail full length on the ground. Every true sportsman, however, will leave these quite young creatures to roam freely.[27] “They are for the goddess.” Full-grown yearlings will run their first chase very swiftly,[28] but they cannot keep up the pace; in spite of agility they lack strength.

[26] Cf. Pollux, v. 74.

[27] {aphiasi}, cf. Arrian, xxii. 1, “let them go free”; Aesch. “P. V.” 666; Plat. “Prot.” 320 A.

[28] Or, “will make the running over the first ring.”

To find the trail you must work the dogs downwards through the cultivated lands, beginning at the top. Any hares that do not come into the tilled districts must be sought in the meadows and the glades; near rivulets, among the stones, or in woody ground. If the quarry makes off,[29] there should be no shouting, that the hounds may not grow too eager and fail to discover the line. When found by the hounds, and the chase has begun, the hare will at times cross streams, bend and double and creep for shelter into clefts and crannied lurking-places;[30] since they have not only the hounds to dread, but eagles also; and, so long as they are yearlings, are apt to be carried off in the clutches of these birds, in the act of crossing some slope or bare hillside. When they are bigger they have the hounds after them to hunt them down and make away with them. The fleetest-footed would appear to be those of the low marsh lands. The vagabond kind[31] addicted to every sort of ground are difficult to hunt, for they know the short cuts, running chiefly up steeps or across flats, over inequalities unequally, and downhill scarcely at all.

[29] Or, “shifts her ground.”

[30] Or, “in their terror not of dogs only, but of eagles, since up to a year old they are liable to be seized by these birds of prey while crossing some bottom or bare ground, while if bigger . . .”

[31] {oi . . . planetai}, see Ael. op. cit. xiii. 14.

Whilst being hunted they are most visible in crossing ground that has been turned up by the plough, if, that is, they have any trace of red about them, or through stubble, owing to reflection. So, too, they are visible enough on beaten paths or roads, presuming these are fairly level, since the bright hue of their coats lights up by contrast. On the other hand, they are not noticeable when they seek the cover of rocks, hills, screes, or scrub, owing to similarity of colour. Getting a fair start of the hounds, they will stop short, sit up and rise themselves up on their haunches,[32] and listen for any bark or other clamour of the hounds hard by; and when the sound reaches them, off and away they go. At times, too, without hearing, merely fancying or persuading themselves that they hear the hounds, they will fall to skipping backwards and forwards along the same trail,[33] interchanging leaps, and interlacing lines of scent,[34] and so make off and away.

[32] Cf. the German “Mannerchen machen,” “play the mannikin.” Shaks. “V. and A.” 697 foll.

[33] Passage imitated by Arrian, xvi. 1.

[34] Lit. “imprinting track upon track,” but it is better perhaps to avoid the language of woodcraft at this point.

These animals will give the longest run when found upon the open, there being nothing there to screen the view; the shortest run when started out of thickets, where the very darkness is an obstacle.

There are two distinct kinds of hare–the big kind, which is somewhat dark in colour[35] with a large white patch on the forehead; and the smaller kind, which is yellow-brown with only a little white. The tail of the former kind is variegated in a circle; of the other, white at the side.[36] The eyes of the large kind are slightly inclined to gray;[37] of the smaller, bluish. The black about the tips of the ears is largely spread in the one, but slightly in the other species. Of these two species, the smaller is to be met with in most of the islands, desert and inhabited alike. As regards numbers they are more abundant in the islands than on the mainland; the fact being that in most of these there are no foxes to attack and carry off either the grown animal or its young; nor yet eagles, whose habitat is on lofty mountains rather than the lower type of hills which characterise the islands.[38] Again, sportsmen seldom visit the desert islands, and as to those which are inhabited, the population is but thinly scattered and the folk themselves not addicted to the chase; while in the case of the sacred islands,[39] the importation of dogs is not allowed. If, then, we consider what a small proportion of hares existent at the moment will be hunted down and again the steady increase of the stock through reproduction, the enormous numbers will not be surprising.[40]

[35] {epiperknoi}. Cf. Pollux, v. 67 foll., “mottled with black.” Blane.

[36] Reading {paraseiron}, perhaps “mottled”; vulg. {paraseron}. Al. {parasuron}, “ecourtee,” Gail.

[37] {upokharopoi}, “subfulvi,” Sturz, i.e. “inclined to tawny”; al. “fairly lustrous.” Cf. {ommata moi glaukas kharopotera pollon ‘Athanas}, Theocr. xx. 25; but see Aristot. “H. A.” i. 10; “Gen. An.” v. 1. 20.

[38] Lit. “and those on the islands are for the most part of low altitude.”

[39] e.g. Delos. See Strab. x. 456; Plut. “Mor.” 290 B; and so Lagia, Plin. iv. 12.

[40] Lit. “As the inhabitants hunt down but a few of them, these constantly being added to by reproduction, there must needs be a large number of them.”

The hare has not a keen sight for many reasons. To begin with, its eyes are set too prominently on the skull, and the eyelids are clipped and blear,[41] and afford no protection to the pupils.[42] Naturally the sight is indistinct and purblind.[43] Along with which, although asleep, for the most part it does not enjoy visual repose.[44] Again, its very fleetness of foot contributes largely towards dim- sightedness. It can only take a rapid glance at things in passing, and then off before perceiving what the particular object is.[45]

[41] Or, “defective.”

[42] Al. “against the sun’s rays.”

[43] Or, “dull and mal-concentrated.” See Pollux, v. 69.

[44] i.e. “its eyes are not rested, because it sleeps with them open.”

[45] i.e. “it goes so quick, that before it can notice what the particular object is, it must avert its gaze to the next, and then the next, and so on.”

The alarm, too, of those hounds for ever at its heels pursuing combines with everything[46] to rob the creature of all prescience; so that for this reason alone it will run its head into a hundred dangers unawares, and fall into the toils. If it held on its course uphill,[47] it would seldom meet with such a fate; but now, through its propensity to circle round and its attachment to the place where it was born and bred, it courts destruction. Owing to its speed it is not often overtaken by the hounds by fair hunting.[48] When caught, it is the victim of a misfortune alien to its physical nature.

[46] {meta touton}, sc. “with these other causes”; al. “with the dogs”; i.e. “like a second nightmare pack.”

[47] Reading {orthion}, or if {orthon}, transl. “straight on.”

[48] {kata podas}, i.e. “by running down”; cf. “Mem.” II. vi. 9; “Cyrop.” I. vi. 40, re two kinds of hound: the one for scent, the other for speed.

The fact is, there is no other animal of equal size which is at all its match in speed. Witness the conformation of its body: the light, small drooping head [narrow in front];[49] the [thin cylindrical][50] neck, not stiff and of a moderate length; straight shoulder-blades, loosely slung above; the fore-legs attached to them, light and set close together;[51] the undistended chest;[52] the light symmetrical sides; the supple, well-rounded loins; the fleshy buttocks; the somewhat sunken flanks;[53] the hips, well rounded, plump at every part, but with a proper interval above; the long and solid thighs, on the outside tense and not too flabby on the inside; the long, stout lower legs or shanks; the fore-feet, exceedingly pliant, thin, and straight; the hind-feet firm and broad; front and hind alike totally regardless of rough ground; the hind-legs far longer than the fore, inclined outwards somewhat; the fur[54] short and light.

[49] Reading {katophere [stenen ek tou emprosthen]}. See Lenz ad loc. pp. 23, 24. Pollux, v. 69.

[50] Reading {[lepton, periphere]}.

[51] {sugkola}, al. “compactly knit.”

[52] Lit. {ou barutonon}, “not deep sounding” = {ou sarkodes}, Pollux, ib.

[53] Reading {lagonas ugras lagaras ikanos}.

[54] {trikhona}, “the coat.”

I say an animal so happily constructed must needs be strong and pliant; the perfection of lightness and agility. If proof of this lightness and agility be needed, here is a fact in illustration. When proceeding quietly, its method of progression is by leaps; no one ever saw or is likely to see a hare walking. What it does is to place the hind-feet in front of the fore-feet and outside them, and so to run, if running one can call it. The action prints itself plainly on snow. The tail is not conducive to swiftness of pace, being ill adapted by its stumpiness to act as a rudder to direct the body. The animal has to do this by means of one or other ear;[55] as may be seen, when she is on the point of being caught by the hounds.[56] At that instant you may see her drop and shoot out aslant one of her ears towards the point of attack, and then, apparently throwing her full weight on that pivot, turn sharp round and in a moment leave her assailants far behind.

[55] So Ael. “N. A.” xiii. 14.

[56] Pollux, v. 71. For punctuation, see Lenz ad loc. p. 25.

So winsome a creature is it, that to note the whole of the proceedings from the start–the quest by scent, the find, the pack in pursuit full cry, the final capture–a man might well forget all other loves.[57]

[57] See Arrian, xvi. 6, his criticism. Schneid. cf. Plut. “Mor.” 1096 C. Hermog. iii. 319, 11, ed. Walz.

Here it should be added that the sportsman, who finds himself on cultivated lands, should rigidly keep his hands off the fruits of the season, and leave springs and streams alone. To meddle with them is ugly and base, not to speak of the bad example of lawlessness set to the beholder. During the close season[58] all hunting gear should be taken down and put away.

[58] Al. “wahrend der Jagdferien,” Lenz; “on Sundays,” as we might say. See some remarks on S. 34 in “Hellenica Essays,” “Xenophon,” p. 349.


The equipment of the dogs consists of collar straps, leashes, and surcingles,[1] and the collar should be broad and soft so as not to rub the dog’s coat; the leash should have a noose for the hand,[2] and nothing else. The plan of making collar and leash all in one is a clumsy contrivance for keeping a hound in check.[3] The surcingle should be broad in the thongs so as not to gall the hound’s flanks, and with spurs stitched on to the leather, to preserve the purity of the breed.[4]

[1] {stelmoniai}, al. {telamonias}, broad belts or girths, corselets. Pollux, v. 55.

[2] Pollux, v. 56.

[3] Lit. “since those who make the collar out of the leash do not keep hold (al. take care) of their hounds well.”

[4] See “A Day with Xenophon’s Harriers,” “Macmillan’s Mag.” Jan. 1895, p. 183.

As to taking the hounds out to hunt, no hound ought to be taken out which refuses its food, a conclusive proof that the animal is ailing. Nor again, when a violent wind is blowing, for three good reasons: the scent will not lie, the hounds cannot smell,[5] neither the nets nor hayes will stand. In the absence, however, of any of these hindrances, take them out every other day.[6] Do not let your hounds get into the habit of hunting foxes. Nothing is so ruinous; and just at the moment when you want them, they will not be forthcoming. On the other hand, vary the hunting-ground in taking them out; which will give the pack a wider experience in hunting and their master a better knowledge of the country. The start should be early in the morning, unless the scent is to fail the hounds entirely.[7] The dilatory sportsman robs the pack of finding and himself of profit.[8] Subtle and delicate by nature, scent will not last all day.

[5] “You cannot trust the hound’s nose.”

[6] “Every third day,” {dia trites tes emeras}.

[7] Lit. “in order that they may not be deprived of following up the scent.”

[8] Or, “a late start means the hounds will be robbed of a find and the huntsman of his reward.”

The net-keeper should wear a light costume. His business is to fix the nets about the runs,[9] paths, bends, and hollows, and darksome spots, brooks, dry torrents, or perennial mountain streams. These are the places to which the hare chiefly betakes itself for refuge; though there are of course endless others. These, and the side passages into, and exits from them, whether well marked or ill defined, are to be stopped just as day breaks; not too early, so that, in case the line of nets be in the neighbourhood of covert to be searched for game,[10] the animal may not be scared at hearing the thud close by.[11] If, on the contrary, there should be a wide gap between the two points, there is less to hinder making the net lines clear and clean quite early, so that nothing may cling to them. The keeper must fix the forked props slantwise, so as to stand the strain when subjected to tension. He must attach the nooses equally on the points; and see that the props are regularly fixed, raising the pouch towards the middle;[12] and into the slip-rope he must insert a large, long stone, to prevent the net from stretching in the opposite direction, when it has got the hare inside. He will fix the rows of poles with stretches of net sufficiently high to prevent the creature leaping over.[13] In hunting, “no procrastination” should be the motto, since it is sportsmanlike at once and a proof of energy by all means to effect a capture quickly. He will stretch the larger (haye) nets upon level spaces; and proceed to plant the road nets upon roads and at converging points of tracks and footpaths;[14] he must attach the border-ropes to the ground, draw together the elbows or side ends of the nets, fix the forked props between the upper meshes,[15] adjust the skirting ropes upon the tops, and close up gaps.

[9] See Pollux, v. 35.

[10] Al. “of the game to be hunted up.”

[11] {omou}, “e propinquo.” Schn. cf. “Cyrop.” III. i. 2; VI. iii. 7.

[12] Or, “giving the funnel or belly a lift in the middle.” {kekruphalon}, Pollux, v. 31.

[13] This sentence according to Lenz is out of its place, referring solely to the haye nets; the order of the words should be {ta de diktua teineto en apedois stoikhizeto de, k.t.l.} If so, transl. “He should stretch the hayes on level ground and fix, etc.; The road nets should be planted . . . etc.”

[14] Al. “at convenient points or where paths converge.” See Schneid. s.v. {sumpheronta}.

[15] {sardonion}, Pollux, v. 31. Al. “fixing the stakes between the edges.”

Then he will play sentinel and go his rounds; if a prop or funnel wants supporting, he will set it up; and when the hare comes with the hounds behind her he will urge her forwards to the toils, with shout and halloa thundering at her heels. When she is fairly entangled, he is to calm the fury of the hounds, without touching them, by soothing, encouraging tones. He is also to signal to the huntsman with a shout, that the quarry is taken, or has escaped this side or that, or that he has not seen it, or where he last caught sight of it.[16]

[16] Or, “‘caught,’ ‘escaped,’ (this side or that), ‘not seen,’ ‘marked.'”

The sportsman himself should sally forth in a loose, light hunting dress,[17] and footgear[18] to match; he should carry a stout stick in his hand, the net-keeper following. They should proceed to the hunting-field in silence, to prevent the hare, if by chance there should be one close by, from making off at the sound of voices. When they have reached the covert, he will tie the hounds to trees, each separately, so that they can be easily slipped from the leash, and proceed to fix the nets, funnel and hayes, as above described. When that is done, and while the net-keeper mounts guard, the master himself will take the hounds and sally forth to rouse the game.[19] Then with prayer and promise to Apollo and to Artemis, our Lady of the Chase,[20] to share with them the produce of spoil, he lets slip a single hound, the cunningest at scenting of the pack. [If it be winter, the hour will be sunrise, or if summer, before day-dawn, and in the other seasons at some hour midway.] As soon as the hound has unravelled the true line[21] he will let slip another; and then, if these carry on the line, at rapid intervals he will slip the others one by one; and himself follow, without too great hurry,[22] addressing each of the dogs by name every now and then, but not too frequently, for fear of over-exciting them before the proper moment.

[17] {emelemenen} = neglige, plain, unpretentious.

[18] Pollux, v. 18.

[19] Al. “intent on the working of the pack.”

[20] “To thee thy share of this chase, Lord Apollo; and thine to thee, O Huntress Queen!”

[21] Or, “carries a line straight away from the many that interlace.”

[22] Or, “without forcing the pace.”

Meanwhile the hounds are busily at work; onwards they press with eager spirit, disentangling the line, double or treble, as the case may be.[23] To and fro they weave a curious web,[24] now across, now parallel with the line,[25] whose threads are interlaced, here overlapped, and here revolving in a circle; now straight, now crooked; here close, there rare; at one time clear enough, at another dimly owned. Past one another the hounds jostle–tails waving fast, ears dropt, and eyes flashing.

[23] “Discovering two or three scents, as the case may be”; “unravelling her line, be it single or double.”

[24] {prophoreisthai} = {diazesthai}, Pollux, vii. 52. Schneid. cf. Aristoph. “Birds,” 4, {apoloumeth’ allos ten odon prophoroumeno}.

Still up and down, old sinner, must we pace; ‘Twill kill us both, this vain, long, wearing race (Kennedy).

[25] See Arrian, xx. 2.

But when they are really close to the hare they will make the matter plain to the huntsman by various signs–the quivering of their bodies backwards and forwards, sterns and all; the ardour meaning business; the rush and emulaton; the hurry-scurry to be first; the patient following-up of the whole pack; at one moment massed together, and at another separated; and once again the steady onward rush. At last they have reached the hare’s form, and are in the act to spring upon her. But she on a sudden will start up and bring about her ears the barking clamour of the whole pack as she makes off full speed. Then as the chase grows hot, the view halloo! of the huntsman may be heard: “So ho, good hounds! that’s she! cleverly now, good hounds! so ho, good hounds!”[26] And so, wrapping his cloak[27] about his left arm, and snatching up his club, he joins the hounds in the race after the hare, taking care not to get in their way,[28] which would stop proceedings.[29] The hare, once off, is quickly out of sight of her pursuers; but, as a rule, will make a circuit back to the place where she was found.[30]

[26] Reading {io kunes, io kunes, sophos ge o kunes, kalos ge o kunes}. Al. {io kunes, io kakos} = “To her, dogs! that won’t do!” “Ho, ho, Hunde! Ho, ho, falsch! Recht so, Hunde! schon so, Hunde!” (Lenz).

[27] {o ampekhetai}, “the shawl or plaid which he carries on his shoulders.” See Pollux, v. 10.

[28] “Not to head the chase.” Sir Alex. Grant, “Xen.” p. 167.

[29] {aporon}, “which would be awkward” (see Arrian, xxv. 8).

[30] “Where the nets are set,” Sir A. Grant. See his comment, l.c.

He must shout then to the keeper, “Mark her, boy, mark her! hey, lad! hey, lad!” and the latter will make known whether the hare is caught or not. Supposing the hare to be caught in her first ring, the huntsman has only to call in the hounds and beat up another. If not, his business is to follow up the pack full speed, and not give in, but on through thick and through thin, for toil is sweet. And if again they chance upon her in the chevy,[31] his cheery shout will be heard once more, “Right so! right so, hounds! forward on, good hounds!”

[31] {apantosi diokousai auton}, al. “come across the huntsman again.”

But if the pack have got too long a start of him, and he cannot overtake them, however eagerly he follows up the hunt–perhaps he has altogether missed the chase, or even if they are ranging close and giving tongue and sticking to the scent, he cannot see them–still as he tears along he can interrogate the passer-by: “Hilloa there, have you seen my hounds?” he shouts, and having at length ascertained their whereabouts, if they are on the line, he will post himself close by, and cheer them on, repeating turn and turn about the name of every hound, and pitching the tone of his voice sharp or deep, soft or loud; and besides all other familiar calls, if the chase be on a hillside,[32] he can keep up their spirits with a constant “Well done, good hounds! well done, good hounds! good hounds!” Or if any are at fault, having overshot the line, he will call to them, “Back, hounds! back, will you! try back!”

[32] Or, “if the chase sweeps over a mountain-side.”

As soon as the hounds have got back to (where they missed) the line,[33] he must cast them round, making many a circle to and fro; and where the line fails, he should plant a stake[34] as a sign-post to guide the eye, and so cast round the dogs from that point,[35] till they have found the right scent, with coaxing and encouragement. As soon as the line of scent is clear,[36] off go the dogs, throwing themselves on to it, springing from side to side, swarming together, conjecturing, and giving signs to one another, and taking bearings[37] they will not mistake–helter-skelter off they go in pursuit. Once they dart off along the line of scent thus hotly, the huntsman should keep up but without hurrying, or out of zeal they will overshoot the line. As soon as they are once more in close neighbourhood of the hare, and once again have given their master clear indications of the fact, then let him give what heed he can, she does not move off farther in sheer terror of the hounds.

[33] {prosstosi}, al. “whenever they check.”

[34] Al. (1) “take a stake or one of the poles as a sign-post,” (2) “draw a line on the ground.”

[35] {suneirein}. Zeune cf. “Cyrop.” VII. v. 6, “draw the dogs along by the nets.” Blane.

[36] “As the scent grows warmer,” the translator in “Macmillan’s Mag.” above referred to. Aristot. “H. A.” ix. 44. 4.

[37] Lit. “fixing landmarks for themselves.”

They meanwhile, with sterns wagging, tumbling and leaping over one another’s backs,[38] at intervals loudly giving tongue, and lifting up their heads and peering into their master’s face, as much as to say, “There is no mistake about it this time,”[39] will presently of themselves start the hare and be after her full cry, with bark and clamour.[40] Thereupon, whether the hare falls into the toils of the funnel net or rushes past outside or inside, whatever incident betide, the net-keeper must with a shout proclaim the fact. Should the hare be caught, the huntsman has only to begin looking for another; if not, he must follow up the chase once more with like encouragement.

[38] Or, “whisking their tails and frisking wildly, and jostling against one another, and leaping over one another at a great rate.” Al. “over one obstacle, and then another.”

[39] Or, “this is the true line at last.”

[40] Al. “with a crash of tongues.”

When at length the hounds show symptoms of fatigue, and it is already late in the day, the time has come for the huntsman to look for his hare that lies dead-beat; nor must he wittingly leave any patch of green or clod of earth untested.[41] Backwards and forwards he must try and try again the ground,[42] to be sure that nothing has been overlooked. The fact is, the little creature lies in a small compass, and from fatigue and fear will not get up. As he leads the hounds on he will cheer and encourage them, addressing with many a soft term the docile creature, the self-willed, stubborn brute more rarely, and to a moderate extent the hound of average capacity, till he either succeeds in running down or driving into the toils some victim.[43] After which he will pick up his nets, both small and large alike, giving every hound a rub down, and return home from the hunting-field, taking care, if it should chance to be a summer’s noon, to halt a bit, so that the feet of his hounds may not be blistered on the road.

[41] Lit. “anything which earth puts forth or bears upon her bosom.”

[42] Or, “Many and many a cast back must he make.”

[43] The famous stanzas in “Venus and Adonis” may fitly close this chapter.

And when thou hast on foot the purblind hare, Mark the poor wretch, to overshoot his troubles How he outruns the wind and with what care He cranks and crosses with a thousand doubles: The many musets through the which he goes Are like a labyrinth to amaze his foes.

Sometimes he runs among a flock of sheep, To make the cunning hounds mistake their smell, And sometimes where earth-delving conies keep, To stop the loud pursuers in their yell, And sometimes sorteth with a herd of deer: Danger deviseth shifts; wit waits on fear:

For there his smell with others being mingled, The hot scent-snuffing hounds are driven to doubt, Ceasing their clamorous cry till they have singled With much ado the cold fault cleanly out: Then do they spend their mouths: Echo replies, As if another chase were in the skies.

By this, poor Wat, far off upon a hill, Stands on his hinder legs with listening ear, To hearken if his foes pursue him still: Anon their loud alarums he doth hear;
And now his grief may be compared well To one sore sick that hears the passing-bell.

Then shalt thou see the dew-bedabbled wretch Turn, and return, indenting with the way; Each envious brier his weary legs doth scratch, Each shadow makes him stop, each murmur stay: For misery is trodden on by many,
And being low never relieved by any.


For breeding purposes choose winter, and release the bitches from hard work;[1] which will enable them to profit by repose and to produce a fine progeny towards spring, since that season is the best to promote the growth of the young dogs. The bitch is in heat for fourteen days,[2] and the moment at which to put her to the male, with a view to rapid and successful impregnation, is when the heat is passing off. Choose a good dog for the purpose. When the bitch is ready to whelp she should not be taken out hunting continuously, but at intervals sufficient to avoid a miscarriage through her over-love of toil. The period of gestation lasts for sixty days. When littered the puppies should be left to ther own dam, and not placed under another bitch; foster-nursing does not promote growth in the same way, whilst nothing is so good for them as their own mother’s milk and her breath,[3] and the tenderness of her caresses.[4]

[1] Or, “Winter is the time at which to pair dogs for breeding, the bitches to be released from hard work, so that with the repose so secured they may produce a fine litter in spring.”

[2] Lit. “this necessity holds.” Cf. Aristot. “H. A.” vi. 20; Arrian, xxvii., xxxi. 3.

[3] Cf. Eur. “Tro.” 753, {o khrotos edu pneuma}.

[4] Cf. Arrian, xxx. 2; Pollux, v. 50; Columella, vii. 12, 12, ap. Schneid.

Presently, when the puppies are strong enough to roam about, they should be given milk[5] for a whole year, along with what will form their staple diet in the future, but nothing else. A heavy diet will distort the legs of a young dog, engender disease in other limbs, and the internal mechanism will get out of order.[6]

[5] See Arrian, xxxi.; Stonehenge, p. 264.

[6] Or, “the internal organs get wrong” ({adika}). Cf. “Memorabilia,” IV. iv. 5.

They should have short names given them, which will be easy to call out.[7] The following may serve as specimens:–Psyche, Pluck, Buckler, Spigot, Lance, Lurcher, Watch, Keeper, Brigade, Fencer, Butcher, Blazer, Prowess, Craftsman, Forester, Counsellor, Spoiler, Hurry, Fury, Growler, Riot, Bloomer, Rome, Blossom, Hebe, Hilary, Jolity, Gazer, Eyebright, Much, Force, Trooper, Bustle, Bubbler, Rockdove, Stubborn, Yelp, Killer, Pele-mele, Strongboy, Sky, Sunbeam, Bodkin, Wistful, Gnome, Tracks, Dash.[8]

[7] Cf. Arrian, xxxi. 2; Oppian, “Cyn,” i. 443; ap. Schneid.

[8] The following is Xenophon’s list:–

{Psukhe} = Soul
{Thumos} = Spirit
{Porpax} = Hasp of shield
{Sturax} = Spike of spear at the butt end {Logkhe} = Lance
{Lokhos} = Ambush, or “Company”
{Phroura} = Watch
{Phulax} = Guard
{Taxis} = Order, Rank, Post, Brigade {Xiphon} = Swordsman
{Phonax} = Slaughterer, cf. “King Death” {Phlegon} = Blazer
{‘Alke} = Prowess, Victory
{Teukhon} = Craftsman
{‘Uleus} = Woodsman, “Dashwood”
{Medas} = Counsellor
{Porthon} = Spoiler, “Rob Roy”
{Sperkhon} = Hastener, “Rocket”
{‘Orge} = Fury, Rage
{Bremon} = Growler, Roarer
{‘Ubris} = Hybris, Riot, Insolence
{Thallon} = Blooming, “Gaudy”
{‘Rome} = Strength, “Romeo”
{‘Antheus} = Blossom
{‘Eba} = Youth
{Getheus} = Gladsome
{Khara} = Joy
{Leusson} = Gazer
{Augo} = Daybeam
{Polus} = Much
{Bia} = Force
{Stikhon} = Stepping in rank and file {Spoude} = Much ado
{Bruas} = Gusher
{Oinas} = (1) Vine, (2) Rockdove. See Aristot. “H. A.” v. 13, 14; i. 3, 10; Ael. “N. A.” iv. 58. = Columba livia = rockdove, the colour of ripening grapes; al. {oinas} = the vine.
{Sterros} = “Stiff,” “King Sturdy”
{Krauge} = Clamour. Cf. Plat. “Rep.” 607 B. {Kainon} = Killer
{Turbas} = “Topsy-turvy”
{Sthenon} = Strong man
{Aither} = Ether
{‘Aktis} = Ray of light
{Aikhme} = Spear-point
{Nors} = Clever (girl)
{Gnome} = Maxim
{Stibon} = Tracker
{‘Orme} = Dash. So Arrian (“Cyn.” viii. 5) named his favourite hound.

For other names see Herodian, {peri mon. l} (on monosyllables), 12. 7; “Corp. Inscr.” iv. p. 184, n. 8319; Arrian, v. 6, xix.; Colum. vii. 12, 13. According to Pollux, v. 47, Xenophon had a dog named {ippokentauros} (cf. “Cyrop.” IV. iii. 17).

The young hounds may be taken out to the chase at the age of eight months[9] if bitches, or if males at the age of ten. They should not be let loose on the trail of a hare sitting,[10] but should be kept attached by long leashes and allowed to follow on a line while scenting,[11] with free scope to run along the trail.[12]

[9] Cf. Pollux, v. 54; al. Arrian, xxv., xxvi.

[10] Pollux, v. 12.

[11] “The dogs that are trailing,” Blane.

[12] See Stonehenge, “Entering of greyhound and deerhound, of foxhounds and harriers,” pp. 284, 285.

As soon as a hare is found, provided the young hounds have the right points[13] for running, they should not be let loose straight off: the huntsman should wait until the hare has got a good start and is out of sight, then let the young hounds go.[14] The result of letting slip young hounds, possessed of all the requisite points and full of pluck,[15] is that the sight of the hare will make them strain too violently and pull them to bits,[16] while their frames are as yet unknit; a catastrophe against which every sportsman should strenuously guard. If, on the other hand, the young hounds do not promise well for running,[17] there is no harm in letting them go. From the start they will give up all hope of striking the hare, and consequently escape the injury in question.[18]

[13] For points see the same authority: the harrier, p. 59; the foxhound, p. 54.

[14] See Arrian’s comment and dissent, xxv. 4.

[15] Lit. “which are at once well shaped and have the spirit for the chase in them.”

[16] Al. “they will overstrain themselves with the hare in sight, and break a blood-vessel.” See Arrian, xxxi. 4, {regnuntai gar autais ai lagones}.

[17] Or, “are defectively built for the chase.”

[18] Or, “will not suffer such mishap.”

As to the trail of a hare on the run, there is no harm in letting them follow it up till they overtake her.[19] When the hare is caught the carcass should be given to the young hounds to tear in pieces.[20]

[19] Perhaps read {eos an thelosi}, “as long as they choose.” The MSS. have {elthosi}.

[20] See Stonehenge, p. 287, “blooded, so as to make him understand the nature of the scent”; ib. 284.

As soon as these young hounds refuse to stay close to the nets and begin to scatter, they must be called back; till they have been accustomed to find the hare by following her up; or else, if not taught to quest for her (time after time) in proper style, they may end by becoming skirters[21]–a bad education.[22]

[21] {ekkunoi}, cf. Arrian, xxv. 5.

[22] {poneron mathema}, ib. 9.

As long as they are pups, they should have their food given them near the nets, when these are being taken up,[23] so that if from inexperience they should lose their way on the hunting-field, they may come back for it and not be altogether lost. In time they will be quit of this instinct themselves,[24] when their hostile feeling towards the animal is developed, and they will be more concerned about the quarry than disposed to give their food a thought.[25]

[23] {anairontai} sc. {ai arkues}, see above, vi. 26.

[24] Or, “abandon the practice.”

[25] See Stonehenge, p. 289 (another context): “. . . the desire for game in a well-bred dog is much greater than the appetite for food, unless the stomach has long been deprived of it.”

As a rule, the master should give the dogs their food with his own hand; since, however much the animal may be in want of food without his knowing who is to blame for that, it is impossible to have his hunger satisfied without his forming an affection for his benefactor.[26]

[26] Or, “If want in itself does not reveal to him the cause of his suffering, to be given food when hungry for it will arouse in him affection for the donor.”


The time to track hares is after a fall of snow deep enough to conceal the ground completely. As long as there are black patches intermixed, the hare will be hard to find. It is true that outside these the tracks will remain visible for a long time, when the snow comes down with a north wind blowing, because the snow does not melt immediately; but if the wind be mild with gleams of sunshine, they will not last long, because the snow is quickly thawed. When it snows steadily and without intermission there is nothing to be done; the tracks will be covered up. Nor, again, if there be a strong wind blowing, which will whirl and drift the snow about and obliterate the tracks. It will not do to take the hounds into the field in that case;[1] since owing to excessive frost the snow will blister[2] the feet and noses of the dogs and destroy the hare’s scent. Then is the time for the sportsman to take the haye nets and set off with a comrade up to the hills, and leave the cultivated lands behind; and when he has got upon the tracks to follow up the clue. If the tracks are much involved, and he follows them only to find himself back again ere along at the same place,[3] he must make a series of circuits and sweep round the medley of tracks, till he finds out where they really lead.[4]

[1] Lit. “I say it is no use setting out with dogs to this chase.”

[2] {kaei}. Cf. Arrian, xiv. 5.

[3] Reading {ekonta} sc. {ton kunegeten . . .} or if {ekonta, kuklous} [sc. {ta ikhne}], transl. “if the tracks are involved, doubling on themselves and coming back eventually to the same place.”

[4] Or, “where the end of the string is.”

The hare makes many windings, being at a loss to find a resting-place, and at the same time she is accustomed to deal subtly[5] in her method of progression, because her footsteps lead perpetually to her pursuit.

[5] {tekhnazein}. Cf. Ael. “N. A.” vi. 47, ap. Schneid. A fact for Uncle Remus.

As soon as the track is clear,[6] the huntsman will push on a little farther; and it will bring him either to some embowered spot[7] or craggy bank; since gusts of wind will drift the snow beyond such spots, whereby a store of couching-places[8] is reserved[9]; and that is what puss seeks.

[6] “Discovered.”

[7] “Thicket or overhanging crag.”

[8] {eunasima}, “places well adapted for a form.”

[9] Al. “many places suited for her form are left aside by puss, but this she seeks.”

If the tracks conduct the huntsman to this kind of covert he had better not approach too near, for fear the creature should move off. Let him make a circuit round; the chances are that she is there; and that will soon be clear; for if so, the tracks will not trend outwards from the place at any point.[10]

[10] L. Dind. emend. {oudamoi}, “the tracks will not pass in any direction outwards from such ground.”

And now when it is clear that puss is there, there let her bide; she will not sir; let him set off and seek another, before the tracks are indistinct; being careful only to note the time of day; so that, in case he discovers others, there will be daylight enough for him to set up the nets.[11] When the final moment has come, he will stretch the big haye nets round the first one and then the other victim (precisely as in the case of one of those black thawed patches above named), so as to enclose within the toils whatever the creature is resting on.[12] As soon as the nets are posted, up he must go and start her. If she contrive to extricate herself from the nets,[13] he must after her, following her tracks; and presently he will find himself at a second similar piece of ground (unless, as is not improbable, she smothers herself in the snow beforehand).[14] Accordingly he must discover where she is and spread his toils once more; and, if she has energy still left, pursue the chase. Even without the nets, caught she will be, from sheer fatigue,[15] owing to the depth of the snow, which balls itself under her shaggy feet and clings to her, a sheer dead weight.

[11] Al. “to envelop the victims in the nets.”

[12] Lit. “whatever the creature is in contact with inside.”

[13] Cf. Aesch. “Prom.” 87, Poto tropo tesd’ ekkulisthesei tukhes}.

[14] Or, “if the creature is not first suffocated in the snow itself.”

[15] See Pollux, v. 50. “She must presently be tired out in the heavy snow, which balls itself like a fatal clog clinging to the under part of her hairy feet.”


For hunting fawns[1] and deer,[2] Indian dogs[3] should be employed, as being strong, large, and fleet-footed, and not devoid of spirit; with these points they will prove well equal to the toil.

[1] See Hom. “Il.” xxii. 189, x. 361; “Od.” iv. 35; Aelian, “N. A.” xiv. 14; xvii. 26; Geopon. xix. 5.

[2] {e elaphos} (generic, Attic) = hart or hind, of roe (Capreolus caprea) or red (Cervus elaphus) deer alike, I suppose. See St. John, “Nat. Hist. and Sport in Moray.”

[3] Of the Persian or Grecian greyhound type perhaps. See Aristot. “H. A.” viii. 28; Aelian, “N. A.” viii. 1; Pollux, v. 37, 38, 43; Plin. “H. N.” vii. 2, viii. 28; Oppian, “Cyn.” i. 413.

Quite young fawns[4] should be captured in spring, that being the season at which the dams calve.[5] Some one should go beforehand into the rank meadowlands[6] and reconnoitre where the hinds are congregated, and wherever that may be, the master of the hounds will set off–with his hounds and a supply of javelins–before daylight to the place in question. Here he will attach the hounds to trees[7] some distance off, for fear of their barking,[8] when they catch sight of the deer. That done he will choose a specular point himself and keep a sharp look-out.[9] As day breaks he will espy the hinds leading their fawns to the places where they will lay them severally to rest.[10] Having made them lie down and suckled them, they will cast anxious glances this way and that to see that no one watches them; and then they will severally withdraw to the side opposite and mount guard, each over her own offspring. The huntsman, who has seen it all,[11] will loose the dogs, and with javelins in hand himself advance towards the nearest fawn in the direction of where he saw it laid to rest; carefully noting the lie of the land,[12] for fear of making some mistake; since the place itself will present a very different aspect on approach from what it looked like at a distance.

[4] See above, v. 14. I do not know that any one has answered Schneider’s question: Quidni sensum eundem servavit homo religiosus in hinnulis?

[5] “The fawns (of the roe deer) are born in the spring, usually early in May,” Lydekker, “R. N. H.” ii. p. 383; of the red deer “generally in the early part of June,” ib. 346.

[6] {orgadas} = “gagnages,” du Fouilloux, “Comment le veneur doit aller en queste aux taillis ou gaignages pour voir le cerf a veue,” ap. Talbot, op. cit. i. p. 331.

[7] Or, “off the wood.”

[8] It seems they were not trained to restrain themselves.

[9] Or, “set himself to observe from some higher place.” Cf. Aristoph. “Wasps,” 361, {nun de xun oplois} | {andres oplitai diataxamenoi} | {kata tas diodous skopiorountai}. Philostr. 784.

[10] See Pollux, v. 77; Aristot. “H. A.” ix. 5. Mr. Scrope ap. Lydekker, “R. N. H.” ii. p. 346, states that the dam of the red deer makes her offspring “lie down by a pressure of her nose,” etc.

[11] Lit. “when he sees these things.”

[12] Or, “the features of the scene”; “the topography.”

When his eye has lit upon the object of his search, he will approach quite close. The fawn will keep perfectly still, glued[13] as it were to earth, and with loud bleats suffer itself to be picked up; unless it happen to be drenched with rain; in which case, it will not stay quiet in one place. No doubt, the internal moisture of the animal congeals quickly with the cold[14] and causes it to shift its ground. Caught in that case it must needs be; but the hounds will have work enough to run the creature down.[15] The huntsman having seized the fawn, will hand it to the keeper. The bleating will continue; and the hind, partly seeing and partly hearing, will bear down full tilt upon the man who has got her young, in her desire to rescue it. Now is the moment to urge on the hounds and ply the javelins. And so having mastered this one, he will proceed against the rest, and employ the same method of the chase in dealing with them.

[13] {piesas}, “noosling, nestling, buried.”

[14] “The blood runs cold.”

[15] Or, “but it will give them a good chase; the dogs will have their work cut out.”

Young fawns may be captured in the way described. Those that are already big will give more trouble, since they graze with their mothers and the other deer, and when pursued retire in the middle of the herd or occasionally in front, but very seldom in the rear. The deer, moreover, in order to protect their young will do battle with the hounds and trample them under foot; so that capture is not easy, unless you come at once to close quarters and scatter the herd, with the result that one or another of the fawns is isolated. The effort implies[16] a strain, and the hounds will be left behind in the first heat of the race, since the very absence of their dams[17] will intensify the young deer’s terror, and the speed of a fawn, that age and size, is quite incredible.[18] But at the second or third run they will be quickly captured; since their bodies being young and still unformed cannot hold out long against fatigue.

[16] Lit. “after that violent effort.”

[17] Or, “alarm at the absence of the herd will lend the creature wings.”

[18] Or, “is past compare”; “is beyond all telling.”

Foot-gins[19] or caltrops may be set for deer on mountains, in the neighbourhood of meadows and streams and wooded glens, on cross- roads[20] or in tilled fields at spots which they frequent.[21] These gins should be made of twisted yew twigs[22] stripped of the bark to prevent their rotting. They should have well-rounded hooplike “crowns”[23] with alternate rows of nails of wood and iron woven into the coil.[24] The iron nails should be larger, so that while the wooden ones yield to the foot, the others may press into it.[25] The noose of the cord which will be laid upon “the crown” should be woven out of esparto and so should the rope itself, this kind of grass being least liable to rot. The rope and noose itself should both alike be stout. The log or clog of wood attached should be made of common or of holm oak with the bark on, three spans in length, and a palm in thickness.[26]

[19] {podostrabai}, podostrabai so called. Cf. “the boot.”

[20] {en tais diodois}, “at points where paths issue,” or “cross.”

[21] {pros o ti prosie}, “against whatever they are likely to approach.”

[22] Or, “should be woven out of Smilax”; “Ebenholz,” Lenz; “Ifs,” Gail.

[23] {tas de stephanas euk. ekh.} “having circular rims.”

[24] {en to plokano} (al. {plokamo}) = the plaited rope, which formed the {stephane}. See Pollux, v. 32, ap. Schneid. and Lenz.

[25] Al. “so as to press into the foot, if the wooden ones yield.”

[26] Or, “27 inches x 3.”

To set the trap, dig a hole in the soil to a depth of fifteen inches,[27] circular in shape, with a circumference at the top exactly corresponding to the crown and narrowing towards the bottom. For the rope and wooden clog likewise remove sufficient earth to let them both be lightly buried. That done, place the foot-gin deep enough to be just even with the surface of the soil,[28] and round the circle of the crown the cord-noose. The cord itself and wooden clog must now be lowered into their respective places. Which done, place on the crown some rods of spindle-tree,[29] but not so as to stick out beyond the outer rim; and above these again light leaves, such as the season may provide. After this put a final coating of earth upon the leaves; in the first place the surface soil from the holes just dug, and atop of that some unbroken solid earth from a distance, so that the lie of the trap may be as much as possible unnoticed by the deer. Any earth left over should be carried to a distance from the gin. The mere smell of the newly-turned-up soil will suffice to make the animal suspicious;[30] and smell it readily she will.

[27] Or, “remove a mass of soil to the depth of five palms so as to form a circular hole corresponding in size with the rim above- named.”

[28] Or, “like a door over the cavity, somewhat below the surface, flatwise”; i.e. “in a horizontal position.”

[29] So literally, but really Carthamus creticus, a thistle-like plant used for making spindles (Sprengel ap. L. & S.), the Euonymous europaeus being our spindle-tree. Aristot. “H. A.” ix. 40, 49; Theocr. iv. 52.

[30] Lit. “if she once sniffs the new-turned soil the deer grows shy, and that she will quickly do.” See Plat. “Laws,” 933 A; “Phaedr.” 242 C; “Mem.” II. i. 4.

The hunter should take his hounds and inspect the traps upon the mountains, early in the morning if possible, though he should do so also during the day at other times. Those set on cultivated land must always be inspected early, before the sun is up in fact,[31] and for this reason: on the hills, so desert is the region,[32] the creatures may be caught not only at night but at any time of day; while, on the cultivated lands, owing to their chronic apprehension of mankind in daytime, night is the only time.[33]

[31] “Before the sun is up.”

[32] Or, “thanks to the lonesomeness of the region.”

[33] “It is night or never, owing to the dread of man which haunts the creature’s mind during daytime.”

As soon as the huntsman finds a gin uprooted he will let slip his hounds and with cheery encouragement[34] follow along the wake of the wooden clog, with a keen eye to the direction of its march. That for the most part will be plain enough, since stones will be displaced, and the furrow which the clog makes as it trails along will be conspicuous on tilled ground; or if the deer should strike across rough ground, the rocks will show pieces of bark torn from the clog, and the chase will consequently be all the easier.[35]

[34] See vi. 20; “with view-halloo.”

[35] Or, “along that track will not be difficult.”

Should the deer have been caught by one of its fore-feet it will soon be taken, because in the act of running it will beat and batter its own face and body; if by the hind-leg, the clog comes trailing along and must needs impede the action of every limb. Sometimes, too, as it is whirled along it will come in contact with the forked branches of some tree, and then unless the animal can snap the rope in twain, she is fairly caught; there ends the chase. But even so, if caught in this way or overdone with fatigue, it were well not to come too close the quarry, should it chance to be a stag, or he will lunge out with his antlers and his feet; better therefore let fly your javelins from a distance.

These animals may also be captured without aid of gin or caltrop, by sheer coursing in hot summer time; they get so tired, they will stand still to be shot down. If hard pressed they will plunge into the sea or take to water of any sort in their perplexity, and at times will drop down from sheer want of breath.[36]

[36] “From mere shortness of breath.”


To cope with the wild boar the huntsman needs to have a variety of dogs, Indian, Cretan, Locrian, and Laconian,[1] along with a stock of nets, javelins, boar-spears, and foot-traps.

[1] 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.

To begin with, the hounds must be no ordinary specimens of the species named,[2] in order to do battle with the beast in question.

[2] Or, “these hounds of the breed named must not be any ordinary specimens”; but what does Xenophon mean by {ek toutou tou genous}?

The nets should be made of the same flaxen cord[3] 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 rim[4] (i.e. from top to bottom) should be ten meshes, and the depth of the nooses or pockets one elbow-length (say fifteen inches).[5] The ropes running round the net should be half as thick again as the cords of the net; and at the extremities[6] 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.[7]

[3] i.e. “of Phasian or Cathaginian fine flax.”

[4] {tou koruphaiou}.

[5] {pugon}. The distance from the elbow to the first joint of the finger = 20 {daktuloi} = 5 {palaistai} = 1 1/4 ft. + (L. & S.)

[6] {ep akrois}. Cf. {akreleniois}.

[7] Reading {ikanai}, vid. Lenz ad loc. and ii. 4.

The javelins should be of all sorts,[8] having blades of a good breadth and razor-sharpness, and stout shafts.

[8] Al. “of various material.” See Pollux, v. 20 ap. Schneid.

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,[9] and shafts of cornel-wood a spear-shaft’s thickness.

[9] Wrought of copper (or bronze).

The foot-traps should resemble those used for deer.

These hunts should be conducted not singly,[10] but in parties, since the wild boar can be captured only by the collective energy of several men, and that not easily.

[10] 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).

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,[11] which done, they will loose a single Laconian bitch, and keeping the rest in leash, beat about with this one hound.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14] 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.

[11] {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?”

[12] Or, “go on a voyage of discovery.”

[13] Reading {te ikhneuouse}, or if vulg. {ikhneusei}, transl. “set her to follow the trail, at the head of the whole train.”

[14] 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.

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.[15] He will then launch his toils into the wild boar’s harbourage,[16] 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,[17] so that the rays of light may penetrate as freely as possible through the nooses into the bosom,[18] 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.[19] All about each net it will be well to stop with timber even places[20] “where harbrough nis to see,” so that the hulking brute may drive a straight course[21] into the toils without tacking.

[15] Lit. “accordingly recover the dog, and tie her up also with the rest,” etc.

[16] {ormous}. Lit. “moorings,” i.e. “favourite haunts.” Cf. {dusorma} below. Al. “stelle die Fallnetze auf die Wechsel,” Lenz.

[17] {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.

[18] Or, “within the bay of network.”

[19] {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.

[20] {ta dusorma}, met. from “bad harbourage.” Cf. Arsch. “Pers.” 448; “Ag.” 194. Cf. Lat. “importunus,” also of “rough ground.”

[21] Or, “make his rush.”

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 javelin[22] 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.

[22] Lit. “then they will take their javelins and boar-spears and advance.”

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.[23] Even if the ground on which the toils environ him be sloping, he will recover himself promptly;[24] but if level, he will at once plant himself firm as a rock, as if deliberating with himself.[25] 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.

[23] Or, “a pretty chase must follow.”

[24] 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.”

[25] Or, “being concerned about himself.”

Should the animal for all that rain of javelins and stones refuse to stretch the skirting-rope, should he rather relax[26] 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,[27] 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,[27] planting his legs apart not much wider than in wrestling,[28] 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;[29] 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;[30] 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.

[26] {epanieis}. See Sturz, s.v.

[27] Lit. “forwards the left foot will follow the left arm and the right foot the other.”

[28] “Statum venatoris aprum venabulo excipientis pinxit Philostratus,” “Imag.” i. 28, Schn.

[29] Or, “he will step forward and take one stride not much longer than that of a wrestler, and thrust forward his boar-spear.”

[30] 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).

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.[31] 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;[32] and planting his body firmly press with all his force.[33] 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,[34] would push his way up to the holder of the boar-spear even though the shaft run right through him.[35]

[31] “Safety can only be won with honour by some master-stroke of victory.”

[32] {sphage}. Aristot. “H. A.” i. 14. 2. “Straight at the jugular.”

[33] Or, “throwing his whole weight on the thrust, press home with all his force.”

[34] 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.

[35] Lit. “force his heavy bulk along the shaft right up to the holder of the boar-spear.”

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,[36] 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?[37]

[36] {euthus}, i.e. “for a few seconds after death.”

[37] The belief is still current, I am told, in parts of India.

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 means[38] 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.

[38] {dianastaseis}, “the same methods of mutual recovery.”

Wild pigs may be captured further in the following fashion: The nets are fixed for them at the entrances of woody glens,[39] in coppices and hollows, and on screes, where there are outlets into rank meadow- lands, marshes, and clear pools.[40] 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 and[41] 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.

[39] Al. “at the passages from woodland lakes into oak-coppices.”

[40] {udata}, “waters,” lakes, pools, rivers, etc.

[41] Or, “and proceed to tackle him.”

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;[42] 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 knights[43]–in other words, they must ply their boar-spears and assume that poise of body[44] already described, since if one must meet misfortune, let it not be for want of observing the best rules.[45]

[42] 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.

[43] {ekponein}, “to exercise this passion to the full.”

[44] Lit. “assume their boar-spears and that forward attitude of body.”

[45] Lit. “it will not be at any rate from behaving correctly.”

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.[46] 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.

[46] Lit. “the piglings will resent it (sc. {to aliskesthai}) strongly”; al. “the adult (sub. {to therion}) will stand anything rather.”


Lions, leopards, lynxes, panthers, bears and all other such game are to be captured in foreign countries–about Mount Pangaeus and Cittus beyond Macedonia;[1] or again, in Nysa beyond Syria, and upon other mountains suited to the breeding of large game.

[1] Of these places, Mt. Pangaeus (mod. Pirnari) (see “Hell.” V. ii. 17), Cittus (s. Cissus, mod. Khortiatzi), N. W. of the Chalcidice, Mysian Olympus, and Pindus are well known. Nysa has not been verified hitherto, I think. Sturz cf. Bochart, “Hieroz.” Part I. lib. iii. c. 1, p. 722. Strabo, 637 (xv. 1. 7), mentions a Mount Nysa in India sacred to Dionysus, and cites Soph. “Frag.” 782–

{othen kateidon ton bebakkhiomenen
brotoisi kleinon Nusan . . . k.t.l.},

but it is a far cry from Xenophon’s Syria to India. Possibly it is to be sought for in the region of Mt. Amanus.

In the mountains, owing to the difficulty of the ground,[2] some of these animals are captured by means of poison–the drug aconite–which the hunters throw down for them,[3] taking care to mix it with the favourite food of the wild best, near pools and drinking-places or wherever else they are likely to pay visits. Others of them, as they descend into the plains at night, may be cut off by parties mounted upon horseback and well armed, and so captured, but not without causing considerable danger to their captors.[4]

[2] Or, “the inaccessibility of their habitats.”

[3] “The method is for the trapper to throw it down mixed with the food which the particular creature likes best.”

[4] For the poison method see Pollux, v. 82; Plin. “H. N.” viii. 27.

In some cases the custom is to construct large circular pits of some depth, leaving a single pillar of earth in the centre, on the top of which at nightfall they set a goat fast-bound, and hedge the pit about with timber, so as to prevent the wild beasts seeing over, and without a portal of admission. What happens then is this: the wild beasts, hearing the bleating in the night, keep scampering round the barrier, and finding no passage, leap over it, and are caught.[5]

[5] See “Tales from the Fjeld,” Sir George W. Dasent, “Father Bruin in the Corner.”


With regard to methods of procedure in the hunting-field, enough has been said.[1] But there are many benefits which the enthusiastic sportsman may expect to derive from this pursuit.[2] I speak of the health which will thereby accrue to the physical frame, the quickening of the eye and ear, the defiance of old age, and last, but not least, the warlike training which it ensures. To begin with, when some day he has to tramp along rough ways under arms, the heavy infantry soldier will not faint or flag–he will stand the toil from being long accustomed to the same experiences in capturing wild beasts. In the next place, men so trained will be capable of sleeping on hard couches, and prove brave guardians of the posts assigned them. In the actual encounter with the enemy, they will know at once how to attack and to carry out the word of command as it passes along the lines, because it was just so in the old hunting days that they captured the wild game. If posted in the van of battle, they will not desert their ranks, because endurance is engrained in them. In the rout of the enemy their footsteps will not falter nor fail: straight as an arrow they will follow the flying foe, on every kind of ground, through long habituation.[3] Or if their own army encounter a reverse on wooded and precipitous ground beset with difficulties, these will be the men to save themselves with honour and to extricate their friends; since long acquaintance with the business of the chase has widened their intelligence.[4]

[1] Or, “Respecting the methods employed in different forms of the chase, I have said my say.” As to the genuineness of this and the following chapter see L. Dind. ad loc.; K. Lincke, “Xenophon’s Dialog.” {peri oikonomias}, p. 132.

[2] Lit. “this work”; and in reference to the highly Xenophontine argument which follows see “Hellenica Essays,” p. 342; cf. “Cyrop.” I. vi. 28, 39-41.

[3] “For the sake of ‘auld lang syne.'”

[4] Or, “will place them on the vantage-ground of experts.”

Nay, even under the worst of circumstances, when a whole mob of fellow-combatants[5] has been put to flight, how often ere now has a handful[6] of such men, by virtue of their bodily health[7] and courage, caught the victorious enemy roaming blindly in some intricacy of ground, renewed the fight, and routed him. Since so it must ever be; to those whose souls and bodies are in happy case success is near at hand.[8]

[5] Or, “allies.”

[6] Or, “a forlorn hope.”

[7] {euexia}, al. {eutaxia}, “by good discipline.”

[8] “Fortune favours the brave,” reading {to eutukhesai} (L. D.); or if {tou eutukhesai}, (vulg.) “those whose health of soul and body is established are ipso facto nigh unto good fortune.”

It was through knowledge that they owed success against their foes to such a training, that our own forefathers paid so careful a heed to the young.[9] Though they had but a scant supply of fruits, it was an immemorial custom “not to hinder[10] the hunter from hunting any of earth’s offspring”; and in addition, “not to hunt by night[11] within many furlongs of the city,” in order that the adepts in that art might not rob the young lads of their game. They saw plainly that among the many pleasures to which youth is prone, this one alone is productive of the greatest blessings. In other words, it tends to make them sound of soul and upright, being trained in the real world of actual things[12] [and, as was said before, our ancestors could not but perceive they owed their success in war to such instrumentality[13]]; and the chase alone deprives them of none of the other fair and noble pursuits that they may choose to cultivate, as do those other evil pleasures, which ought never to be learned. Of such stuff are good soldiers and good generals made.[14] Naturally, those from whose souls and bodies the sweat of toil has washed all base and wanton thoughts, who have implanted in them a passion for manly virtue–these, I say, are the true nobles.[15] Not theirs will it be to allow their city or its sacred soil to suffer wrong.

[9] Al. “looked upon the chase as a pursuit incumbent on the young.”

[10] {me koluein [dia] to meden ton epi te ge phuomenon agreuein}. The commentators generally omit {dia}, in which case translate as in text. Lenz reads {un koluein dia meden} (see his note ad v. 34), and translates (p. 61), “Dass man die Jager nicht hindern solle, in allem was die Erde hervorbrachte zu jagen,” “not to hinder the huntsmen from ranging over any of the crops which spring from earth”; (but if so, we should expect {dia medenos}). Sturz, s.v. {agreuein}, notes “festive,” “because the hunter does not hunt vegetable products.” So Gail, “parce que le chasseur rien veut pas aux productions de la terre.”

[11] Or, “set their face against night-hunting,” cf. “Mem.” IV. vii. 4; Plat. “Soph.” 220 D; “Stranger: There is one mode of striking which is done at night, and by the light of a fire, and is called by the hunters themselves firing, or spearing by firelight” (Jowett); for which see Scott, “Guy Mannering,” ch. x. It seems “night hunting was not to be practised within a certain considerable radius, whereby the proficients in that art might deprive it (lit. in order that they might not deprive) them (the young huntsmen) of their game.”

[12] Lit. “in truth and reality (not among visionary phantoms).”

[13] These words are commonly regarded as an addition; and what does {te} signify?

[14] Or, “Here you have the making of brave soldiers and generals. Here in embryo are to be found your future soldiers and generals worthy the name.”

[15] {outoi aristoi}: these are prima virorum, the true aristocrats.

Some people tell us it is not right to indulge a taste for hunting, lest it lead to neglect of home concerns, not knowing that those who are benefactors of their country and their friends are in proportion all the more devoted to domestic duties. If lovers of the chase pre- eminently fit themselves to be useful to the fatherland, that is as much as to say they will not squander their private means; since with the state itself the domestic fortunes of each are saved or lost. The real fact is, these men are saviours, not of their own fortunes only, but of the private fortunes of the rest, of yours and mine. Yet there are not a few irrational people amongst these cavillers who, out of jealousy, would rather perish, thanks to their own baseness, than owe their lives to the virtue of their neighbours. So true is it that the mass of pleasures are but evil,[16] to which men succumb, and thereby are incited to adopt the worse cause in speech and course in action.[17] And with what result?–from vain and empty arguments they contract emnities, and reap the fruit of evil deeds, diseases, losses, death–to the undoing of themselves, their children, and their friends.[18] Having their senses dulled to things evil, while more than commonly alive to pleasures, how shall these be turned to good account for the salvation of the state? Yet from these evils every one will easily hold aloof, if once enamoured of those joys whose brief I hold, since a chivalrous education teaches obedience to laws, and renders justice familiar to tongue and ear.[19]

[16] See “Hellenica Essays,” p. 371.

[17] “To depravity of speech and conduct” (whether as advocates or performers). See Aristoph. “Clouds.”

[18] Or, “bring down on themselves, their children, and their friends a spring of misfortunes in the shape of diseases, losses, or even death.”

[19] “For what does a chivalrous education teach save to obey the law, and to make the theme of justice familiar to tongue and ear?”

In the one camp are those who, subjecting themselves ever to new toil and fresh instruction, have, at the cost of lessons and exercises painful to themselves, obtained to their several states salvation; and in the other are those who for the very irksomeness of the process choose not to be taught, but rather to pass away their days in pleasures unseasonable–nature’s abjects these.[20] Not theirs is it to obey either laws or good instruction;[21] nay, how should they, who never toil, discover what a good man ought to be?–in other words, wisdom and justice are alike beyond their power. Subject to indiscipline, they have many a fault to find with him who is well educated.

[20] Lit. “the sorriest of mankind these by nature.”

[21] Or, “virtuous argument”; {logois agathois}, lit. “good words.”

Through the instrumentality of such as these nothing can go well; whereas every blessing which mankind enjoys has been discovered by the efforts of the nobler sort. Nobler, I say, are those who choose to toil.[22]

[22] Or, “of choice spirits; and who are the choice spirits?–Clearly those who choose to toil.”

And this has been proved conclusively by a notable example. If we look back to the men of old who sat at the feet of Cheiron–whose names I mentioned–we see that it was by dedicating the years of their youth to the chase[23] that they learnt all their noble lore; and therefrom they attained to great renown, and are admired even to this day for their virtue–virtue who numbers all men as her lovers, as is very plain. Only because of the pains it costs to win her the greater number fall away; for the achievement of her is hid in obscurity; while the pains that cleave to her are manifest. Perchance, if only she were endowed with a visible bodily frame, men would less have neglected her, knowing that even as she is visible to them, so they also are not hid from her eyes. For is it not so that when a man moves in the presence of him whom he dearly loves,[24] he rises to a height above himself, being incapable of aught base or foul in word or deed in sight of him?[25] But fondly dreaming that the eye of virtue is closed to them, they are guilty of many a base thing and foul before her very face, who is hidden from their eyes. Yet she is present everywhere, being dowered with immortality; and those who are perfect in goodness[26] she honours, but the wicked she thrusts aside from honour. If only men could know that she regards them, how eagerly would they rush to the embrace of toilful training and tribulation,[27] by which alone she is hardly taken; and so should they gain the mastery over her, and she should be laid captive at their feet.

[23] Or, “that they made their first essay in hunting when mere boys, and from hunting upwards were taught many noble arts.”

[24] Lit. “is beheld by his beloved.” Cf. “Symp.” iv. 4; viii. 31.

[25] Lit. “in order not to be seen of him.”

[26] Lit. “good with respect to her.”

[27] Or, “to those toils and that training.”


Now what astonishes me in the “sophists,” as they are called,[1] is, that though they profess, the greater part of them, to lead the young to virtue, they really lead them in the opposite direction. Never have we set eyes on the man anywhere who owed his goodness to the sophists of to-day.[2] Nor do their writings contain anything[3] calculated to make men good, but they have written volumes on vain and frivolous subjects, in which the young may find pleasures that pall, but the essence of virtue is not in them. The result of this literature is to inflict unncessary waste of time on those who look to learn something from it all and look in vain, cutting them off from wholesome occupations and even teaching what is bad. I cannot then but blame them for certain large offences[4] more than lightly; but as regards the subject matter of their writings my charge is, that while full of far-fetched phraseology,[5] of solid wholesome sentiments, by which the young might be trained to virtue, I see not a vestige. Speaking as a plain man, I know that to be taught what is good by one’s own nature is best of all,[6] and next best to learn of those who really do know some good thing rather than of those who have an art to deceive. It may well be that I fail to express myself in subtle language,[7] nor do I pretend to aim at subtlety; what I do aim at is to express rightly-conceived thoughts such as may serve the need of those who have been nobly disciplined in virtue; for it is not words and names that give instruction, but thoughts and sentiments worthy the name.

[1] Cf. Isocr. “Against the Sophists”; “Antidosis”; “Hel. Encom.”; Plat. “Sophist.”

[2] Who are these {oi nun sophistai}?

[3] Lit. “do they present writings to the world.”

[4] Or, “as to certain weightier matters gravely.”

[5] {remata} = “words and phrases”; {ynomai} = “moral maxims, just thoughts.”

[6] “Being myself but a private individual and a plain man.” According to Hartman, “A. X. N.” p. 350, “ridicule detorquet Hesiodeum”:

{outos men panaristos os auto panta noese esthlos d’ au kakeinos os eu eiponti pithetai}.

[7] Al. “in true sophistic style.” The writer seems to say: “I lack subtlety of expression (nor is that at all my object); what I do aim at is to trace with some exactness, to present with the lucidity appropriate to them, certain thoughts demanded by persons well educated in the school of virtue.”

Nor am I singular in thus reproaching the modern type of sophist (not the true philosopher, be it understood); it is a general reproach that the wisdom he professes consists in word-subtleties, not in ideas.[8] Certainly it does not escape my notice that an orderly sequence of ideas adds beauty to the composition:[9] I mean it will be easy to find fault with what is written incorrectly.[10] Nevertheless, I warrant it is written in this fashion with an eye to rectitude, to make the reader wise and good, not more sophistical. For I would wish my writings not to seem but rather to be useful. I would have them stand the test of ages in their blamelessness.[11]

[8] {onomasi}, “in names”; {noemasi}, “thoughts and ideas.”

[9] Or, “I am alive to the advantage to be got from methodic, orderly expression artistically and morally.”

[10] This passage, since H. Estienne (Stephanus) first wrote against it “huic loco meae conjecturae succumbunt,” has been a puzzle to all commentators. The words run: {ou lanthanei de me oti kalos kai exes gegraphthai} [{gegraptai} in the margin of one MS.] {radion gar estai autois takhu me orthos mempsasthai’ kaitoi gegraptai ge outos k.t.l.} For {takhu me orthos} (1) {takhu ti me orthos}, (2) {to} (or {ta}) {me orthos}, have been suggested. It is not clear whether {autois} = {tois sophistais} (e.g. “it will be easy for these people to lay a finger at once on blots, however unfairly”), or = {tois suggrammasi} (sc. my(?) compositions; so {auta}, S. 7 below, {ou gar dokein auta boulomai k.t.l.}) (e.g. “since it will be easy offhand to find fault with them incorrectly”) [or if {ta me orthos}, “what is incorrect in them”]. I append the three translations of Gail, Lenz, and Talbot. “Je sais combien il est avantageux de presenter des ouvrages methodiquement ecrits; aussi par le meme sera-t-il plus facile de prouver aux sophistes leur futilite!” {radion gar estai} [sub. {emoi}] {mempsasthai outois takhu (to) me} (sous-entendu) {gegraphthai orthos} (Gail). “Zwar entgeht mir nicht, dass es schon say die Worte kunstvoll zu ordnen, denn leichter wird ihnen sonst, schnell, aber mit Unrecht zu tadeln” (Lenz). “Aussi leur sera-t-il facile de me reprocher d’ecrire vite et sans ordre” (Talbot). As if {takhu me orthos} were the reproachful comment of the sophist on the author’s treatise.

[11] i.e. “the arguments to be blameless at once and irrefutable for all time.”

That is my point of view. The sophist has quite another–words with him are for the sake of deception, writing for personal gain; to benefit any other living soul at all is quite beside his mark. There never was nor is there now a sage among them to whom the title “wise” could be applied. No! the appellation “sophist” suffices for each and all, which among men of common sense[12] sounds like a stigma. My advice then is to mistrust the sonorous catch-words[13] of the sophist, and not to despise the reasoned conclusions[14] of the philosopher; for the sophist is a hunter after the rich and young, the philosopher is the common friend of all; he neither honours nor despises the fortunes of men.

[12] L. Dind. cf. Eur. “Heracl.” 370, {tou tauta kalos an eie} | {para g’ eu phronousin}.

[13] {paraggelmata}. Cf. Aesch. “Ag.” 480, “telegraph”; Lys. 121. 32; Dem. 569. 1; “words of command”; Dion. H. “De Comp.” 248, “instructions, precepts.”

[14] {enthumemata}.

Nor would I have you envy or imitate those either who recklessly pursue the path of self-aggrandisement,[15] whether in private or in public life; but consider well[16] that the best of men,[17] the true nobility, are discovered by their virtues;[18] they are a laborious upwards-striving race; whilst the base are in evil plight[19] and are discovered by their demerits.[20] Since in proportion as they rob the private citizen of his means and despoil the state[21] they are less serviceable with a view to the public safety than any private citizen;[22] and what can be worse or more disgraceful for purposes of war than the bodily form of people so incapable of toil?[23] Think of huntsmen by contrast, surrendering to the common weal person and property alike in perfect condition for service of the citizens. They have both a battle to wage certainly: only the one set are for attacking beasts; and the other their own friends.[24] And naturally the assailant of his own friends does not win the general esteem;[25] whilst the huntsman in attacking a wild beast may win renown. If successful in his capture, he was won a victory over a hostile brood; or failing, in the first place, it is a feather in his cap that his attempt is made against enemies of the whole community; and secondly, that it is not to the detriment of man nor for love of gain that the field is taken; and thirdly, as the outcome of the very attempt, the hunter is improved in many respects, and all the wiser: by what means we will explain. Were it not for the very excess of his pains, his well-reasoned devices, his manifold precautions, he would never capture the quarry at all; since the antagonists he deals with are doing battle for bare life and in their native haunts,[26] and are consequently in great force. So that if he fails to overmatch the beasts by a zest for toil transcending theirs and plentiful intelligence, the huntsman’s labours are in vain.

[15] Or, “surrender themselves heedlessly to the ways of self- seeking.” But the phraseology here seems to savour of extreme youth, or else senility.

[16] {enthumethenta}. Query, in reference to {enthumemata} above?

[17] Reading {andron}. For the vulg. {auton} see Schneid. ad loc., who suggests {ton aston}.

[18] “Recognisable for the better.”

[19] “They are not famous but infamous”; “the bad fare as their name suggests” (i.e. badly).

[20] “Recognisable for the worse.”

[21] Or, “what with private extortionsand public peculation.”

[22] {ton idioton}, “laymen,” I suppose, as opposed to “professional” lawyers or politicians.

[23] “What with their incapacity for hard work, their physique for purposes of war is a mockery and a sham.”

[24] Cf. Plat. “Soph.”

[25] Or, “earns but an evil reputation in the world.”

[26] “They are being bearded in their dens.”

I go back to my proposition then. Those self-seeking politicians, who want to feather their own nests,[27] practise to win victories over their own side, but the sportsman confines himself to the common enemy. This training of theirs renders the one set more able to cope with the foreign foe, the others far less able. The hunting of the one is carried on with self-restraint, of the others with effrontery. The one can look down with contempt upon maliciousness and sordid love of gain, the other cannot. The very speech and intonation of the one has melody, of the other harshness. And with regard to things divine, the one set know no obstacle to their impiety, the others are of all men the most pious. Indeed ancient tales affirm[28] that the very gods themselves take joy in this work[29] as actors and spectators. So that,[30] with due reflection on these things, the young who act upon my admonitions will be found, perchance, beloved of heaven and reverent of soul, checked by the thought that some one of the gods is eyeing their performance.[31]

[27] Or, “Those people who would fain have the lion’s share in the state.”

[28] Or, “an ancient story obtains.”

[29] Sc. “of the chase.”

[30] Or {uparkhein} = “it may be considered as given.” Scheid. cf. “Pol. Ath.” iii. 9, {oste uparkhein demokratian einai}.

[31] Lit. “that the things in question are beheld by some divinity.”

These are the youths who will prove a blessing to their parents, and not to their parents only but to the whole state; to every citizen alike and individual friend.

Nay, what has sex to do with it? It is not only men enamoured of the chase that have become heroes, but among women there are also to whom our lady Artemis has granted a like boon–Atalanta, and Procris, and many another huntress fair.