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Horses in Roman times | Les chevaux à l'époque romaine | Pferde in römischer Zeit
Archaeology & the Cavallery in Roman times
Archaeology provides us with a wealth of evidence on equipment, tack, riding techniques,such as the various types of horse bits or remains of the Roman saddle.
Experimental Archaeology | Junkelmann, Reiter Roms | Rome's Horsemen |
Ancient texts on horsemanship | Les textes anciens sur l'équitation | Antike Texte zur Reitkunst
There are a number of texts on horsemanship dating to Antiquity. Here are just two from the 2nd and 1st millennium BCE.
Xenophon, The Art of Horsemanship
The most important text on ancient horsemanship is Xenophon's "The Art of Horsemanship" (Περὶ ἱππικῆς), written around 350 BCE. Xenophon - an Athenian politician - starts his work with these words:
"Inasmuch as we have had a long experience of cavalry, and consequently claim familiarity with the art of horsemanship, we wish to explain to our younger friends what we believe to be the correct method of dealing with horses."
(You can find it the whole English translation - and the Greek original text - online on Perseus: link).
He has also written a work entitled On the Cavalry Commander (link).
Xenophon's work on horsemanship is still important reading today since he considers the horse to be a partner and he disapproves of any kind of violence towards the horse. Of course, this doesn't mean that everyone followed Xenophon's guidelines in the Graeco-Roman world...
The oldest known text on training horses comes from an archaeological discovery. Four cuneiform clay tablets have preserved the training programme of the Mitannian horse-master, Kikkuli, from the 14th century BCE. Kikkuli's seven-month regime used interval training. And before the horses were mounted for the first time by a rider, he considered it vital that they were fully trained at all gears from a chariot. You find more information, for example, here: P Raulwing. The Kikkuli Text., short summary on IHM Website, or A. Kammenhuber, Hippologia hethitica, Wiesbaden 1962.
What does ancient art tell us about ancient horsemanship?
'CELTIC' / IRON AGE HORSEMANSHIP | L'EQUITATION À L'ÂGE DU FER | KELTISCHE REITKUNST