A passionate little blog started by a deerhound dog in Scotland called Rogue ‘Brylach’ MacAllister and Passed to Rascal ‘Logan’ Dorrator Heath

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Roman / Pictish Deerhounds

A New Point of View
Behold the feeble deer, what war they rage ;
In timid breasts what baleful furies rage !
For death reciprocal each forehead bounds ;
In mercy, feeling Ceasar, send the hounds.

Now, where else would you find a Scottish educator, orthographer, phonologist and linguistics expert, a Celtic/Iberian Roman epigrammatist, some pottery and trophies found in Caledonia and deerhound history from the era of the Picts all in a few brief paragraphs?

The above poem comes from a translation of a Marcus Valerius Martialis epigram by James Elphinston. I won’t go into too much historic detail about either of these men of words but rather suggest you follow the links if you wish to find out more about them.

Of interest to us is the reference to the hunting and the hounds and it’s double meaning as a depiction of battle, clearly drawing on the experience of the hunt. The hunt, a pastime that the Romans enjoyed and participated in, both for pleasure and through a necessity for food.

To support this thought and in-keeping with the period that the lifestyle depicting epigram above was created, I’ve posted images below of Roman Artifacts found in the area we now refer to as Argyll, Scotland. These objects date from an age before the Christ to around 300 AD and feature a vase, part of a trophy, a small carving and some ornate horns.

Note the large hounds portrayed on each of these pieces - deerhounds ? Wolf-dogs ? The large grey hounds that were shipped from Pictland to Rome when first arrested to wow the spectators at the colosseum. Who knows the truth.

Visit the National Museums of Scotland to find out more. But in the meantime - enjoy!

Deerhound Club Newsletters 2010