CFP: Saints and Sinners on Horseback, ed. Miriam Bibby

3rd volume in the "Rewriting Equestrian History" book series, edited by Anastasija Ropa and Timothy Dawson


Much of what we consider to be modern human culture still shows the indelible influence of our previous dependence on the horse and other equids. For nearly 6,000 years, humans, as summarised in the words of scholar Joan Thirsk, relied on horses “for service, for pleasure, for power.” This trilogy of use provides an apt summary of the theme for our proposed volume.

For millennia, horses have been ridden by conquerors and kings as well as clergy and commoners. “Saints and Sinners on Horseback” intends to explore this relationship from the perspectives of both society and the individual, examining horse riders and riding within the beliefs and standards of given time periods. Contributors to this volume should aim to make case studies and individual horse-rider examples their focus (rather than writing in general terms such as “in the fifteenth century riders did x & y”), in order to answer a particular question: what do these examples tell us about people and their relationship with animals at any given time?

How much does the presence of a horse or horses alter concepts of sanctity or sin? What is gained or lost by associating horses with such human concepts? Are they collaborators, observers, critics, commodities, or judges? Were horses themselves historically viewed as having a capacity for sin or sanctity? Sinners, as we know, can often be “more sinned against”. Are the categories of sainthood and sinners wholly an arbitrary projection of the human mind and how much have people projected their concepts of good and evil onto horses throughout history until the present day?

This collection attempts to answer these questions mainly within the timeframe of the Middle Ages, although submissions from other time periods are also welcome.


- Saints and Horses

- Transgressors: women who transgress social norms when it comes to riding and instances of male riders transgressing societal norms, for example the Templars

- The Horse and the World (i.e. “worldliness”): horses in processions, centres of breeding and religious foundations as centres of breeding, horse racing and its influence on society

- Horses, Hexes, and Hag-stones: the horse in folklore and witchcraft


Please submit a title with a roughly 100-word abstract, accompanied by a short bio and author contact details to Miriam Bibby,

Deadline for abstract submissions: 31st July 2020

Notification of abstract acceptance: within one week of submitting the abstract

Full paper submissions: 30th September 2020

* Please note that these are tentative deadlines and extensions will be granted. We kindly ask you to let us know of your intention to submit.

Download the PDF version of the Call for Papers here.

Photo credit: Saxon stone horse head courtesy of Reverend Peter Barham, Vicar of Allestree and Darley Abbey. website:

In: Root


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