Reference numberCLP/16/45
TitlePaper, 'De equuleo' [on a Roman torture method involving a horse] by Joanne Ward
DescriptionWard describes a Roman method of torture, equuleo or equuleus (little horse), in which the torture victim is stretched over the back of a horse. Ward explains the name of the torture method as thus: 'Equuleus igitur, si ad vocis originem attendamus, pullem equinum, vel parvum equum; significat, ut ex his Tullii [Tully, or Cicero] verbis intelligimus: "Chrysippus omnia in perfectis et maturis docet esse meliora; ut in equo, quam in equuleo." Atque hinc formam, pariter ac nomen, machina, de qua agimus, primo acceptit.' In the paper he compares this torture method with crucifixion. He concludes by noting that evidence of this torture method exists in the texts of ancient writers: 'In summa autem, cum tota hujusce rei probatio veterum scriptorum testimoniis praecipue nitatur, ut plura adferre, quae haud parva copia sese obtulerunt, supervacaneum duximus; ita nec pauciora ad plenam ejus explicationem sufficere existimavimus. Verum quaecunque de ea apud antiquos leguntur, uni aut alteri speciei supra descriptae facile tribui possunt. Qui ad auctoris igitur aetatem, et diversos loquendi modos diversis temporibus de equuleo usurpatos attenderit; nihil, opinor, difficultatis in posterum inveniet, quid de hoc tormenti genere statuere debeat; in quo explicando tot viri eruditi hactenus se frustra torferunt.' Note at end of paper reads 'To be sent to Mr [John] Machin's in Broad Street [London]'. Machin was the Secretary of the Royal Society 1718-1747. Includes two engraved figures showing two forms of imposing torture, one involving a horse and one involving crucifixion.

Subject: History

Read to the Royal Society on 29 January 1729

Published in Philosophical Transactions as 'De eqvvleo'
Physical descriptionInk on paper
Digital imagesView item on Science in the Making
Access statusOpen
Related materialDOI: 10.1098/rstl.1729.0034
Related records in the catalogueRBO/15/23
Fellows associated with this archive
NA7786Machin; John (- 1751) - 1751
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