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More about riding in harness

It is unlikely we will be mistaken if we assume that the carts already existed for 2000 years BC Already ancient Persians drove the fours in a four-wheeled covered wagon. In the same carriage was transported the body of Alexander the Great from Alexandria to Babylon in 323 BC.

The Greeks already had carts in the so-called Heroic era. This is evident from many verses of Hellas (eg. song 5 St. 720 or song 24 St. 322-326).

The harness consisted apparently of a yoke, chest strap, girth, bridle and reins. Both the harness and the carts were very luxuriously decorated. So the battle chariot in which Darius III participated in the battle of Issus (333 BC) was decorated with gold and silver works of the best masters of the time.

Judging by the preserved in Pompeii stucco work can be judged that the harness was decorated with the same luxury.
The Romans riding in harness, was widespread, at least the historians describe the luxurious chariot used during the Empire. These include primarily two-wheeled triumphal chariots on which the solemn entry of the victorious generals was made. In such a chariot harnessed usually four gray horses. As you know, Nero, returning from Olympia entered Rome in a chariot, which was harnessed to 10 horses nearby.

The same or similar chariots were used for competitions and for religious fests, while four-wheeled carts used for ordinary travel and for the carriage of Luggage. The latter were called “rheda”, while the front chariots were the Romans called “carucca” or “carrocha” where the Italian “carrozza”, the French “carrosse”, and the English “carriage”.

During the dark middle ages, riding in harness, was little developed and the knights considered humiliating to ride in carriages. In addition, the condition of the roads could not contribute to the spread of this type of driving. However, quite out of use riding in the carriages did not come out, as it is known , for example, that the Earl of Derby lost his life in 1253 due to the fall of the crew. That Charles IV, when visiting Paris in 1377, rode in a luxurious, richly decorated two-wheeled cart pulled by four white mules.

In 1568 a noticeable improvement was made in the design of the carriage. It consisted in the fact that the body of the wagon began to attach to the racks with leather straps, and not put it directly on the axis as before. It is surprising how such an important improvement found itself so little spread that in 1610 Henry IV was killed in Paris in a wagon, which differed in the previous design.

In 1610 poyavilis in Germany the first coach with glass Windows. The carriage was double and made for the day of the wedding of the infantine Mary of Spain with king Ferdinand III.

Somewhat earlier, in 1599, was taken from Italy to France like coach Marshal Bassompierre. In Sweden, the first such coach appeared in the reign of king John III (1568-1592). Since that time, riding in a carriage has become increasingly common. In Paris appeared isotopomeres, who passed over in the hiring of horses and carriages. This man was called Nicholas Sauvage, whose name will always be remembered with gratitude posterity. His stable was decorated with the image of St. Fiacre, and that is why, as rumor has it, all Parisian cabs are called “fiacres”.

About the same time engaged in air fishing in London, a retired naval officer. Its crews were called “hackneys”.

Until half of the 17th century, the design of the carriages was characterized by the fact that the goats were absent and the driver sat astride one of the horses, the front wheels were placed not under the body, but somewhat in front, which made it difficult to move when turning.

These inconveniences were eliminated in the reign of Louis XVI, who had a luxurious double covered carriage (carosse coupe) with glass Windows, coachmen’s goats, as well as a movable front and wooden springs.

A little later in Germany came into use the carriage on standing springs, the so-called “berlines”. But as these and in General all of the coach was noted for its many shortcomings. For example, the housing of the carriage on springs hanging high, so had to substitute a small ladder to enter it.

The consequence of this design of the crews was that the homeowners were forced to significantly increase the roofs of the entrances for the unhindered entry of the crews. Thanks to the insistence of homeowners appeared in 1786 and quickly became fashionable convertibles “cabriolets”, the height of which often reached 20 feet. Fashion for high crews lasted lo 19th century. With the advent of lying springs, the height of the carriages has decreased dramatically.

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