Monday, January 31, 2022

Ancient Taras horses and riders - coins

 Salvete Omnes,

ancient polis of Tarento - Greek colony known as Taras, and after the Roman conquest known  asTarentum - was founded by the Spartans in what Greeks called Magna Graecia, or the Italian peninsula and islands adjacent to it. The city grew to become a huge (300,000 inhabitants) polis, and its mints produced some of the more appealing coinage when come to the coin equestrian (and dolphin) imagery of the ancient world.
 The city and Apulia in general was somewhat a center of the equestrian culture, and it is said that under Archytas, who was a mathematician and political leader, reached its apex as per hegemony over Magna Graecia. Unfortunately the coming of Rome, the unsuccessful alliances, first with Pyrrus king of Epirus(the Pyrric War and the sack of Taras) 

and 60 year later with Hannibal (209BC destruction ) during the 2nd Punic War 

spelled their  eclipse from a power a cultural center to a Roman provincial municipium.

Osprey Miltiary Publishing has a book on the so called Tarentine horsemen of Magna Graecia, and perhaps one day I wlll address the horse aspects of that book.

From Wiki Common come these photos of some of their coins - 


 and more civilian


Saturday, January 29, 2022

Winged Hussar and other images from the Book of friends

Salvete Omnes,

Book of friends -  or more properly Johann Joachim Prack von Asch's liber amicorum was a compilation of entries spanning 1587-1612AD, including the period of the so called Long War (thanks to Bruno Mugnai I have the 2-volume book  on the said war  ), with the paper coming from the ancient paper bazar in Constantinople. Joachim Prack von Asch from was a Hapsburg diplomat, who  traveled between Constantinople,  the capital of  Ottoman Empire and  Bohemia and other lands of his emperor, Rudolph II Hapsburg.

The book of Friends is available either on the Gerry Digital Collections site or on Archive - world's library - and from its pages come this gouache miniature showing a winged hussar killing his lancer adversary, Ottoman lancer.

the Christian winged hussar is on the left - piercing with his hussar lance the throat of the Ottoman sipahi or perhaps the elite Deli lancer.
The winged huusar has a large wing on his left side, clearly visible shield, a shishak helmet with three feathers, a leopard pelt on his shoulder, short zupan, red close-fitting breeches, yellow boots with long spurs, under his thigh he carries a hussar war-hammer with pick (nadziak) - he is a picture-perfect winged hussar of the period, be it in Polish realms or the Hungarian lands.  His sorrel horse is caparisoned with an animal pelt, the bridle is with a curb-bit , reins and headstall without any visible adornments .
His Ottoman adversary has a shield,  tall Ottoman shishak with a wing on its front,  he has  some armor(perhaps mail), loose-fitting sharavari (Turkish salvar, from Persian sharavara) pants, a kilij sabre and a koncerz (estoc), also  a painted lance with lance apple.  His gray horse is caparisoned with a long textile fringed shabraque,  his bridle is ornate and sumptuous, at the throatlatch there is a long horse bunczuk(Turkish tug),  

and some other horse-related images


Terrible martial beauty and Harffy's novels

 Salvete Omnes,

a short post - 

firstly, I am on the last, the 8th, volume of the Anglo-Saxon saga woven by Matthew Harffy - listened  to all but one of them via audiobook libraries. 

The stories of the heroic young Kentish upstart named Beobrand , who is an AngloSaxon pagan and will become the hero - a hero in a traditional sense of a travails, suffering and superhuman obstacles to surmount in order become one - take place in Northumbria, the kingdom of Bernicia, Mercia, Diera, Pictland, Frankish coast, with warriors, kings and thralls from the Welsh statelets, and many monks and priest from Ireland  etc some 200 years before the adventures conjured by Bernand Cornwell in his stories already mentioned on my blog a while back. 

The stories are engaging  and captivating; they start circa 633AD and continue through the 651AD. The reader gets to meet king and Saint Oswald of Northumbria, and famous last pagan Anglo-Saxon king of Mercia, Penda of Mercia.  


Secondly, when I am thinking about early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of the British Isles  then Satton-Hoo comes to mind immediately , so let me attach some of the finidngs to illustrate the post about Beobrands' saga (although from time to time other persons are also heard from within, especially one brave horseman from Wales and one beautiful and strong young queen).

The martial finds from these mounds are amazing - beautiful and terrible at the same time - and closely related with the Vendel period of Scandinavia. Curator's corner, British Museum, presentation here.

Children oriented video on how the Anglo-Saxon warrior lived - here

the helmet 




there are  other Anglo-Saxon helmets unearthed in the British Isles - 

this Staffordshire helmet being the most spectacular

and the later , 8th century helmet -

Lastly,  long time ago British military books publisher , the famous Osprey Miltiary Publishing, published a book titled Arthur and the Anglo-Saxon Wars - I say it is a high time to do a complete overhaul of this book and a new edition, based on the findings, interpretation, research and reenactment is needed, with a new set of beautiful plates showing the early medieval warriors of the British Isles.


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Lances and bows... and shields

 Salete Omnes,

I am having problems with my regular PC tower, so trying to use my other old horse PC, hope it will keep on working .

ad rem, 

I am re-looking at the works by George Catlin regarding his visual recording of warriors's weapons and manner of carrying them while on horseback, in the context  of Plains people horse/equestrian horizon. Especially the shield, lance and bow with bowcase - this post

Maestro Catlin made two excursion in to the Indian Country west of the American control, i.e, the Great Plains in the early 1830s; his very first one was the trip  into the Upper Missouri country, where among various Plains tribes he observed the Sioux (Lakota) and then with the US Dragoons he went over to the edges of the Comanche country - I did a post about his meeting (when with the Dragoon command) with the Comanche warriors and their horsemanship.

Many of his painting have plenty of peculiar information on the 1830s Plains warriors that are absent in the other visual sources from the American West.
 So as per my interests in weapons, lances, bows and horses I have got interested in their manner of carrying their lances as evidenced by this painting.

Sham Fight of the Camanchees[Comanches]-   (the museum site has the story behind this oil on canvass painting - see the link below)

this painting is in the National Gallery of Art collection - and it is to depict the special display of horsemanship and martial skill of the Comanche warriors. This feat of equestrian prowess was a special presentation for the benefit of our artist. The whole scene reminds me of the hippika gymnasia of the ancient Roman cavalry, as in Arrian's writings.

For the intriguing part of this visual narrative, it is the manner in Catlin recorded the arangement of spear/bow and shield  in mounted combat, in which the warrior's  spear/lance is secured under his right thigh, when using the bow to shoot at the adversary. nota bene, there is another painting titled Sham Fight of the Comanchees [Comanches]- from the 1850s - and very different  much different.


Saturday, January 22, 2022

James Earle Fraser's Teddy Roosevelt equestrian monument gone from NYC

 Salvete Omnes,

in June 2020 I wrote this post about the NYC government 's plan to remove the famous statue of TEddy Roosevelt - POTUS, American warrior, conservationist and champion of National Parks, champion of working people and American values, NY governor and NYC Police Commissioner et la. 
 The monument, sculpted by  James Earle Fraser, as part of the New York Memorial to Theodore Roosevelt stood there for 80 years.

So fast forward to 2022AD, and  in the wee hours of the night when January 20th going on 21st the NYC government had the worker remove the famous statue.
It will be going to Medora, North Dakota, a tiny town of some 120 residents surrounded by the T. Roosevelt National Park and Little Missouri National Grassland. 

The Teddy Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation in its compound in Medora will be house this equestrian monument.


Friday, January 21, 2022

Panorama Racławicka - renovatio

 Salvete Omnes,

[in Polish]

a dzisiaj krotki wpis  - na Blogpressportal, YT, można obejrzeć i posłuchać wykładu dr Romualda Nowaka, od 3 dekad kierownika muzeum Panoramy Raclawickiej, oddziału Muzeum Narodowego nad Odrą we Wrocławiu na Dolnym Śląsku.

Wykład a może raczej ciekawa opowieść o historii Panoramy Racławickiej, wielkich organizatorach lwowskich, mistrzach Wojciechu Kossaku i Janie Styce etc, o architektach, inżynierach i specjalistach od restauracji płócien,  i zwłaszcza historia jej anabasis ze Lwowa do Wrocławia, został nagrany przez Blogpress po wielkim remoncie , jaki miał miejsce w budynkach muzeum Panoramy od lata 2020AD,  i ponownym otwarciu dla publiczności, zwiedzających i uczniów szkół etc.

Według zapewnień dr Nowaka od jesieni 2021 Panorama jest jeszcze wspanialej prezentowana, i jeśli drogi podróżniku oceanu netowego jesteś w Polsce, koniecznie odwiedź wrocławską rotundę niezwyklej Panoramy, jednej z najpiękniejszych panoram na świecie.


Thursday, January 20, 2022

Zbig Kotowski amazing horses

Salvete Omnes,

from time to time I ask working artists for permission to put some of their art on my blog - I tend to favor creators who work in equestrian-related theme as their art and better yet  the main object of their creativity.

The artist of today's post has been captivating , via his brushes and pastels etc, the very amazing beauty and majesty of the domestic horse, especially the beauty of the most noble of the equine breeds ever created by the humans: the purebred Arabian horse.

So here comes the art of a Polish master painter Zbigniew Kotowski - his Arabians, historic one that he has recreated from some ancient black and white photos and prints, or modern and contemporary dames and stallions seen in real life or via the art of photography.
The images created by Zbig Kotowski are some of the most beautiful horse painting I have seen in a long time. Not to mention the mastery of the difficult medium of pastel painting or the mastery of the horse anatomy and conformation.
So recently I have obtained a special permission from maestro Zbigniew 'Zbig' Kotowski to show some of his fabulous pastels here, on my blog.
Obviously, you can or you must view more images and even get in touch with the maestro himself via Zbig's Facebook page or maestro's own webpage.

So here they go, the glory of our Polish Arabian Horse - 






and my favorite mare of the the 20th century - the famous dame Bandola