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Cheiron: Vol. 4/Issue 1 (2024)


ISSN 2786-3182 

Editors-in-Chief: Anastasija Ropa, Miriam A. Bibby 

Vol.  4 (Issue 1/2024)

Pages 1-148

DOI: 10.22618/TP.Cheiron.20244.1

 You can read this issue in open access






On the Treatment of Horses in the Fifth/Fourth Century BC in Greece and the Northern Pontic Region

Claudia Knörle, Valeska Becker 

Abstract: In Antiquity, horses played a major role, especially in warfare. Societies like the so-called Scythians, nomadic horse-riders of the steppe regions of Russia, Siberia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, built their renommée and success on their stunning riding skills and abilities to train their horses for combat. But a functioning cavalry was also an important factor in other cultural spheres, such as the Greek world. The northern Pontic area, where the Greek and the Scythian cultures met, is of special interest in this respect. The paper examines sources that illustrate the treatment of horses in the fifth and fourth centuries BC in Greece and the northern Pontic region. These sources encompass faunal remains, figurative representations, and written sources. They shed light on the training of horses for war, but also on peaceful interactions between humans and animals. Differences and similarities of the depicted and described motives are discussed and set in the overall cultural-historical context.

Quinotaur, Minotaur, Equinotaur: Some Reflections on a Passage from Fredegar’s Chronicle

Carlo Ferrari

Abstract: The historian Fredegar tells a bizarre story about the eponymous ruler of the Merovingian dynasty: Merovech was born from the union of Chlodio’s wife with a sea beast “similar to a Quinotaur.” Scholars have almost always assumed that Quinotaur was a mistake for Minotaur and have interpreted the tale either as a myth concerning the divine origins of the Merovingians or as a fable invented from scratch. In this article, I attempt to demonstrate that Quinotaur is actually a mistake for Equinotaur and that Fredegar’s tale preserves the memory of a sacred marriage with a hippomorphic deity.  

The Royal Mares: Imagining a Race (Part Three)

Miriam A Bibby

Abstract: In the years since their first appearance in Cheny’s Racing Calendar of 1743, a group of celebrated yet vague beings, the Royal Mares, have from time to time attracted scholarly attention. Suggested to be the foundation mares of the Thoroughbred breed, they have subsequently been variously described as imported mares, as mares bred on the island of Britain, or a mixture of both. This paper explores the origins and progress of the story, around which mythology has accumulated, showing that there is a core of truth within the legend of imported mares, but that certain aspects of the historiography have been influenced by unreliable sources. The evidence for imported horses from the sixteenth to the mid-eighteenth century is also examined in depth. Part 3 takes up the narrative in the early eighteenth century, and reveals how the inaccurate story of imported Arabian mares developed further in the twentieth century.

Animal Ethics or Sport Ethics? A Historical Approach to Professional Ethics in Equestrian Sports

Anastasija Ropa, Ludmila Malahova, Monta Jakovļeva

Abstract: Modern equestrian sports are unique in being the only sports where human and non-human athletes receive equal recognition for their achievements. In the previous decades, the involvement of equids in equestrian sports has been questioned on ethical grounds, due to practices that go against animal welfare. This study analyses ethical provisions for equestrian sports made by various national and international institutions, starting with the international FEI code of conduct for the welfare of the horse and moving through Switzerland, Germany and Latvia to determine the extent to which ethical codes in equestrian sports safeguard the rights of various participants involved, both human and non-human. It is found that provisions for the welfare of equids generally outnumber those for riders and riding instructors, whereas the personnel who is most closely engaged in equine welfare on the daily basis (grooms, exercise riders and stable hands) are usually neglected.

The Cretan Horse: Still a Unique Breed? Part II: Equines on Crete from the End of the Nineteenth Century to the Present Day

Věra Klontza-Jaklová, Nikos Panagiotakis, Romilda Tengeriová, Michal Smíšek, Ricardo Fernandes, Manolis Klontzas

Abstract: In the first part of the study, the authors reviewed and evaluated archaeofaunal, archaeological, iconographical, and historiographical information from the Neolithic Period up to the end of the nineteenth century. The domesticated horse (Equus Caballus) was imported to the island at the end of the 3rd millennium B.C.E. and ca 1500 B.C.E. was an integral part of palatial elite identity, while the donkey (Equus Asinus) was already present in the Final Neolithic. In 1895 the Ottoman rulers defined the Cretan horse as a specific breed, and its cross-breeding and export were forbidden. The numbers of horses were significant but poorly documented during almost the entire twentieth century. Today, the Cretan horse is understood as part of local tradition, a historical patrimony, and an integral part of Crete’s cultural heritage. The island’s geographical, climatic, historical, and cultural characteristics were imprinted in its characteristics. In the context of long-term economic crisis and a lack of horse breeding experts, the Cretan horse faces extinction, despite the number of horses on the island. Therefore, the authors established the Cretan horse centre’s conservation, rescue, and education programme. 


Murray Dahm. Byzantine Cavalryman versus Vandal Warrior: North Africa, AD 533–36

Reviewed by Timothy George Dawson

Kathryn L. Smithies, Introducing the Medieval Ass

Reviewed by Francine McGregor

Chiara Frugoni. Vivre avec les animaux au Moyen Âge. Histoires fantastiques et féroces

Reviewed by Anastasija Ropa

Anders Kaliff, and Terje Oestigaard. The Great Indo-European Horse Sacrifice: 4000 Years of Cosmological Continuity from Sintashta and the Steppe to Scandinavian Skeid

Reviewed by Anastasija Ropa


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