Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Ancient Roman carriages etc

Salvete Omnes,
we will travel to the ancient Rome and the wider Mediterranean world and will take a look at the Roman vehicle traveling on the famous Roman roads

 So this is this rather  short entry on the vast and interesting subject of the  ancient Roman vehicle and its types and varieties -  here the excellent article (and much more in other chapters) by Dr Judith A. Weller titled Roman Traction Systems.
Below various images on Wiki Commons -

 Roman carriage
 (replica, more photos here)
Some o the vehicles - carts, chariots, wagons and carriages listed below:
horse, mule or oxen oxen carried litter known as 

I . Singel axle vehicles

-cisium (fast traveling 2 person vehicle)
-plaustrum (two wheels)

- quadriga

II .   the second category was the  2 axles (four wheels) vehicles, drawn by horses, mules or oxen:

-plaustrum(4 wheels)

-sarracum (serracum)
 -carrus arcuatus
 -carrus triumphalis
 -carrus falcatus
-carruca (dormitoria)

Post and mail carriage
and some other types or Roman vehicles
-labula (military wagon)

-labularium (military wagon)


Carpentum (Eon Images)

 Nota bene the town dwellers who had money to rent a vehicle they could do it from a cisiarius.
they were slaves or free men who would be driving the hired vehicle, and they were notorious for driving very fast the cisium, covinnus or even rheda carriages.
Those cisiarii (banded into a profession) located at the livery stables  at the town gates, although perhaps also having offices at the mansio (inn) - there were more or less 1 mansio  per 4 mutationes (mutatio or hostel), were spread out in towns along the Roman roads or cursus publicus, and for example Julius Caesar hired a carriage to travel from Rome to Rhone and allegedly his hired coach traveled the distance of some 1,200 kilometers in just 8 days .
 another example or Roman travel - in 38 or37 BC poet Horace traveled along with Octavian's envoy Maecenas  from Rome to Brindisi and wrote about this,  in his poem Sermones or Satirae 1.5.


A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities John Murray, London, 1875. - web version. - where many of the named vehicles are listed and explained with the primary literary and iconographic sources.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

White Bull, Miniconjou Lakota warrior - book

Salvete Omnes,
just a little news
I finally received the Bison Book edition of the Ledger Book of Chief Joseph White Bull (1849-1947) - eg the NPS Little Bighorn Battlefield entry devoted to the great warrior and storyteller (unfortunately a very small photo of our chief). The 1968 edition, published by the University of Nebraska Press , also appears to have been available on Amazon etc.

Pte San Hunka  or White Bull, a nephew of Sitting Bull,  had a very long life, adding Joseph to his name  during the reservation life. During the 1932 his stories were told in the series of interviews to a historian and writer Stanley Vestal (nota bene Oklahoma Historical Society entry on the author is easy and quite informative and has a photo of Stanley Vestal with White Bull), then who worked them over a bit (or so they say) and in 1948 published White Bull's  lifestory in a book titled Warpath : the true story of the fighting Sioux told in a biography of Chief White Bull , that you can borrow the later edition from Archive, upon registration etc.

So I am looking forward to read this autobiography,  meantime you can read the Stanley Vestal's article from 1957- The Man Who Killed Custer - at the American Heritage website.
this event - meeting between general Miles and Sitting Bull - was described by White Bull in his recollections.


the photo of various 'Big men' of the Lakota just for illustration purposes

Friday, January 24, 2020

Rustam and Rakhsh - epic poetry

Salvete Omnes,

today let us read, in verse, from the Ferdowsi Tusi's Shahnameh about  the  truly epic hero Rustam/Rostem and his equally epic stallion Rakhsh - and how they came about to be together. The book of Kings or Shahnameh is like the Iliad of Homer - perhaps sung in the Achaemenid Empire (some book of kings was allegedly  already  in existence  according to the now lost works of Ctesias - V century BC Greek writer) and then  composed and written down by the poet from Tus almost 2000 years after the Homer's epic.

This epic English translations was done by the Warner brothers (Arthur George and Edmond) -  volumes available on archive.

and some Islamic miniatures from archive and the Wiki Commons about this warlike pair

 to be continued

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Claes Ralamb Costume book - horses and tack

Salvete Omnes,
one of the Swedish Kingdom ambassadors to the High Porte in Constantinople ( Istanbul) Claes Ralamb ordered a so called Ottoman costume book painted for his collection while at this post, and he took it with him back to his homeland (along with the famous sultan procession paintings ) - mentioned already on my blog long time ago.
the digital copy of the entire book here.

from that collection we can 'corral' the paintings showing the horse  of the Ottoman empire -




an Ottoman sipahi

 also of interest are these wild cats (leopard etc) pelt-skin clad warriors of the Ottoman sultans etc - some of them are the jannisary, and some are deli warriors.

and finally  a Safavid Persian with a kalkan shield at his belt? covered by his coat - an interesting way to carry the kalkan


Ottoman horse market miniature et al

Salvete Omnes,
I think that perusing Wiki Commons is always a good thing, for one may find many an interesting image.
For example in this this collection of the Ottoman miniatures there are these interesting images showing among other, the horse market -



Saturday, January 18, 2020

Interesting exhibit in Chichesteer

Salvete Omnes,
a short entry - a very interesting exhibit to open in the Novium Musem, Chichester, UK on January 25, 2020.
12 years ago they discovered the remains of a man called the North Bersted Man, thought to have been a warrior and a horseman, with some very unusual or even astonishing and spectacular helmet adornments etc. The archaeologists think that he was a refugee from the continental Gaul where Julius Caesar and his legions were perpetrating conquest and genocide on the Celtic inhabitants of the present France and Belgium.
there is this article devoted to the visualization that includes some interesting, puzzling  and primary sources information.

the poster for the exhibit showing the North Bersted Man on horseback - I wonder why he is left-handed?
copyright (c) the Novum Museum

 We can see from the article and visualization contain some interesting elements , but what I find puzzling is the lack of the horned saddle; also the lack of the cinch and rather strange strap that goes down from the horse shoulder phalerae under the horse chest. The very tiny in circumference reins are also puzzling.
Finally, the raider's seat, with the legs being so high, as if using the so called chair seat and that particular faulty 'seat' seems to me to be contrary to the fabulous, and well-sourced, equestrian skills of the continental Celts of Gallia(Gaul) and northern Iberian peninsula during the classical Antiquity.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Prof. Tadeusz Vitulani - konik polski

Salvete Omnes,
[in Polish]

chciałbym przypomnieć sylwetkę i dorobek profesora Tadeusza Vetulaniego, twórcy programu hodowli konika polskiego - ze strony prof. Zygmunta Vetulaniego.
Bibliografia dorobku naukowego prof. Tadeusza.
Tamże jest prezentacja źródeł i prac nad tarpanem leśnym.
Na stronie Wielkopolskiej Biblioteki Cyfrowej jest słynny artykuł naukowy prof. Vetulaniego o koniku polskim z okolic Biłgoraja (1925).

Roczniki Nauk Rolniczych i Lesnych tom XIV. - strona tytułowa.


Monday, January 6, 2020

Happy Epiphany Feast Day

Salvete Omnes,
yet another Three Kings Day, AD 2010 - :)

I wish you  happy 'Trzech Kroli' aka 'Los Reyes Magos' or Feast of Epiphany holiday.

And taking this opportunity to  share with you  some paintings and details showing horses and horse tack.
First, you can take a look  at the Adoration painting  cerated by one of the late Northern Renaissance master painters  Jan Mostaert, from Haarlem in then Hapsburg Netherlands.
This Adoration was painted between 1520 and 1525 AD.

in this lady's portrait maestro Jan also painted a horse and Saint Hubertus' conversion

 While this painting contains no horse nor horse-subjects it is a spectacular one, -  but then de gustibus and coloribus non disputandum est - said ancient Romans..
...and a German woodcut from 1503AD by the maestro Albrecht Durer himself


Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Durer- Adoration of the Magi (Uffizi)

Salvete Omnes,
so we are in the brand new AD 2020, back in the saddle to to speak.
so starting I would like to turn your attention to one of the Durer's most important works, namely, the  wooden panel from the Uffizi Museum (Florence, Italy) - titled Adoration of the Magi, commissioned by the Saxon prince and elector of the Holy Roman Empire Frederick the Wise.
Religious topic and masterful execution, as you can see in this image from the Wiki Commons

  this beautiful painting has a bit of detail that may be of interest to us - maestro Durer took pains to paint a group of horsemen in front of and behind  the ruined arch.

the German-late Gothic  horseman, although completed in AD 1504 the equipment, especially the high saddle with round skirts, has the look of the Gothic horse tack  - note the horse whip, double reins, curb-bit, wide cinch, cover over the rump. The breastplate, headstall and reins are of one uniform design. The muscular and very much a war horse is shown in collection and perhaps showing off its training and athletic ability. This grey stallion is shod and with a long tail, but no forelock.
another German horseman his headgear covered with ostrich plumes

Stradiot or Albanian or perhaps even Turkish lancer with a Balkan? lance with a red pennon, and some sort of a Balkan? shield (painted a bit grotesque).
also a curb-bit with double reins, simple war bridle, and some sort of leather? barding covering the sides of this steed.

rider with a large banner from beyond the arch

Interestingly, the black Wise Man Saint Balthazar appears to have the so called Mercury wings with spurs?