The Horse in Human History

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-04-13
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press

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The horse is surely the "aristocrat" of animals domesticated by man. This book documents the origins of horse domestication on the Pontic-Caspian steppes some 6,000 years ago and the consequent migration of equestrian tribes across Eurasia to the borders of sedentary states. Horse-chariotry and cavalry in effect changed the nature of warfare in the civilizations of the Middle East, India, and China. But, beyond the battlefield, horsepower also afforded great advances in transport, agriculture, industry, and science. Rapidity of horse communications forged far-flung equestrian empires, where language, law, weights, measures, and writing systems were standardized and revolutionary technologies and ideas were disseminated across continents. Always recognizing this dual character of horsepower - both destructive and constructive - the politico-military and economic importance of the horse is discussed in the rise of Hittite, Achaemenid, Chinese, Greco-Roman, Arab, Mongol, and Turkic states. Following Columbian contact, Old and New World cultures are contrastively evaluated in terms of presence or absence of the horse. And Spanish conquest of the horseless Americas is seen as the model for subsequent European equestrian colonization of horseless territories around the planet.

Author Biography

Pita Kelekna holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of New Mexico. Early fieldwork in indigenous societies of the Americas and later research conducted across the Middle East, Central Asia, and East Asia have well equipped her for this worldwide analysis of the importance of the horse in human society. She is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences and the American Anthropological Association.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments pagep. xiii
Introduction to Equestrian Man and to Equusp. 1
Six Thousand Years of Human-Equine Relationsp. 2
Wild Equids - c 60 Million Years Ago to the Presentp. 6
Equid Paleontologyp. 7
Extant Equus in the Wildp. 12
Equus ferus in the Old Worldp. 16
Equus caballus: Horse Domestication and Agro-Pastoralism across the Eurasian Steppesp. 21
The Transition from Food Procurement to Plant and Animal Domesticationp. 22
The Concomitant Development of Metallurgyp. 25
Emergence of the Centralized Alluvial Statep. 27
Peripheral Farming and Eneolithic Exploitation of the Horse on the Eurasian Steppesp. 28
Why the Domestication of the Horse?p. 39
Criticisms - and Near Eastern Comparisonsp. 41
Yamnaya Horizon - Steppe Expansion West and East (3500-2400 BC)p. 44
Andronovo Horizon - Steppe Expansion East and South (2000-900 BC)p. 49
Equestrian Penetration of the Eastern Desertsp. 55
Indo-European Diasporap. 57
Summaryp. 64
Nomadic Horse Culture of the Steppesp. 67
Mobile Dwellings of the Steppesp. 68
Steppe Technology and Weaponryp. 73
The Horse - Sacred Symbol of Rebirthp. 78
Steppe Kurgans and Ritual Burialp. 79
Regalia of the Pazyryk Kurgansp. 82
Scythian Rituals of Sacrifice, Dismemberment, and Regenerationp. 86
The Nomad Ritual of Buzkaship. 89
Expansion from the Steppes to Southwestern and Southern Asiap. 92
Early Indo-European Invasion across the Near Eastp. 93
The Hittite State in Anatoliap. 93
The Chariot in Warfarep. 95
Training of the Chariot Horsep. 98
War Chariots of Kadesh and Troyp. 99
The Appearance of the Military Steed in Battlep. 104
Aryan Expansion from the Steppes through Central Asiap. 107
Aryan Migrations Southp. 108
The Rgvedap. 110
The Vedic Asvamedha Horse Sacrificep. 113
Aryan Equestrian Migrations Westp. 116
Ancient Iraniansp. 119
The Achaemenid Equestrian Empirep. 120
Europe's Defiance of Achaemenid Equestrian Mightp. 126
China and the Steppes beyond Its Bordersp. 135
Equestrian Chinap. 135
Arrival of the Horse in Chinap. 136
The Qin Equestrian Conquest of Chinap. 141
Xiongnu Nomadsp. 143
Chinese Equestrian Expansionp. 145
Equestrian Cultures of Cosmopolitan Central Asiap. 150
From Vedic Roots, Buddhism Travels North to Chinap. 151
On Horseback West Meets East - the Silk Roadp. 155
Via Nomadic Central Asia, China's Early Impact on the Westp. 160
Equestrian Europe - Solar Edifices, Hippodromes, and Arthurian Chivalryp. 165
Early Indo-Europeans in Europep. 165
Prehistoric Solar Edificesp. 166
Celtic Migrations across Europep. 171
The Horse in Greek War and Mythp. 175
Cavalry Wars between Rome and Carthagep. 181
Resistance to Rome and the Boudican Revoltp. 184
Roman Equestrian Mightp. 187
Solar Edifices of Romep. 191
Equestrian Invasions from the Steppesp. 195
The Arthurian Epic - Chivalry in the Westp. 199
Byzantium - Equestrian Bastion of Christianity in the Eastp. 204
Arabian Conquest from the Southp. 209
Turn of the Era to Mid-First Millennium ADp. 209
Crossroads of Continentsp. 209
Byzantine and Sasanian Imperial Policies toward Arabiap. 212
The Prophet Muhammadp. 214
Military Expansion of the Islamic State out of Arabiap. 216
Horses of the Desertsp. 217
Equestrian Expansion of Islam Eastwardp. 221
The Umayyad Caliphate and the Shia Schismp. 223
The Twelve and Seven Imamsp. 224
The Epic Drama of Taziyeh - Opera on Horsebackp. 226
Abbasid Caliphate and Turkic Incursionp. 231
Equestrian Expansion of Islam Westwardp. 235
Islamic Advance across the Iberian Peninsula and Defeat at Poitiersp. 237
The Song of Rolandp. 239
The Heavy-Armored European Knightp. 241
Al-Andalusp. 242
Arabic Efflorescencep. 244
Berber Cavalry Rebellion from Africap. 247
Turkic-Invader Converts to Islam and Crusader Opponentsp. 253
The Shahnamehp. 253
Equestrian Invaders from the Eastp. 259
Equestrian Invaders from the Westp. 259
The Enduring Legacy of the Equestrian Warrior Ordersp. 272
From the Steppes, the Altaic Nomad Conquest of Eurasiap. 281
The Mongol Equestrian Expansion across Eurasiap. 281
The Epic of the Horsehair Spirit Bannerp. 282
Emergence of Mongol Powerp. 285
Equestrian Conquests in the Westp. 293
Death of Genghis Khanp. 297
Successors of Genghis Khanp. 298
Mongol Trade across Asia and Multicultural Efflorescencep. 304
Khubilai Khan and Yuan Chinap. 304
The Cosmopolitan Ilkhanate - Arts and Sciences across Equestrian Asiap. 309
The Mongol Impact across Asia to Europep. 313
Successor States to Nomadic Equestrian Militarismp. 317
Warrior Horsemen East of the Asian Mainlandp. 318
Equestrian Conquests in West Asia and West of Asiap. 324
Steppe Nomad Legacy across Eurasiap. 330
From Europe, Equus Returns to Its Continent of Originp. 333
Europe toward the End of the Middle Agesp. 334
The Palio of Sienap. 338
Late Medieval Warfarep. 341
The Spanish Reconquistap. 344
Equus Extinct in the Western Hemisphere and Equus Returnsp. 348
Mesoamerica and the Spanish Conquest of Tenochtitlanp. 354
The Andes and the Spanish Conquest of Tawantinsuyup. 359
Post-Conquista Europep. 365
Horses of Rebellion in the Americasp. 371
Horses Are Usp. 380
Hemispheres with and without Horsesp. 380
The Impact of Equestrianism around the Worldp. 387
Homo equestriensp. 398
Referencesp. 407
Indexp. 449
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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