Practical Horsemanship in Medieval Arthurian Romance


By Anastasija Ropa 

ISBN 978-615-81222-4-5                                           Paperback, €20.00

eISBN 978-615-81222-5-2                                         Hardcover, €55.00

DOI: 10.22618/TP.REH.20191                                    eBook, €20.00

In colour, 102 pp.

Published: April, 2019

 You can read part of this book in open access.


The figure of a knight on horseback is the emblem of medieval chivalry. Much has been written on the ideology and practicalities of knighthood as portrayed in medieval romance, especially Arthurian romance, and it is surprising that so little attention was hitherto granted to the knight’s closest companion, the horse. This study examines the horse as a social indicator, as the knight’s animal alter ego in his spiritual peregrinations and earthly adventures, the ups and downs of chivalric adventure, as well as the relations between the lady and her palfrey in romance. Both medieval authors and their audiences knew more about the symbolism and practice of horsemanship than most readers do today. By providing the background to the descriptions of horses and horsemanship in Arthurian romance, this study deepens the readers’ appreciation of these texts. At the same time, critical reading of romance supplies information about the ideology and daily practice of horsemanship in the Middle Ages that is otherwise impossible to obtain from other sources, be it archaeology, chronicles or administrative documentation.




CHAPTER 1: Mounts as Social Identifiers: Describing Knights and Ladies through Their Horses

CHAPTER 2: Feeding the Horse of an Errant Knight: Practical and Symbolic Aspects of Horse Care

CHAPTER 3: Women and Manly Dirt: Gendering Equestrian Skills in the Queste del Saint Graal and Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Conclusion. Displays of Horsemanship Skills Beyond the Arthurian Romance 

Selected bibliography 

Specific References

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