Hippoi Athanatoi

Scholarly Horses

Way back when I started my first big paper in Classical History, I got in touch with a fellow named David Anthony who was doing some really interesting work on early horseback riding. I ended up using some of his papers for my work to support the idea that the Mycenaeans not only drove chariots but also rode horses. I have since then followed his work on and off, lately more off then on. A couple of weeks ago, Elio reminded me to check what he’s been up to next (I think we were discussing my lack of ideas for a final Classical History paper ;P), and to my surprise and delight I found that he published a book last year titled The Horse, The Wheel and Language. How Bronze Age Riders From the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World.

I immediately ordered it from Amazon.co.uk, and since it arrived a few days ago it has provided me with some very exciting reading material. I really like comparative linguistics, I find it completely fascinating, and of course I am thrilled to be reading anything focused on the importance of the horse in the development of human civilizations. Now, I was already in agreement with Anthony on his major point regarding the often argued point of where the Indo-European Homeland lies, but even so I think the book presents his case very well and in a way that is readable even for those who aren’t experts within the various areas. The linguistic sections are less fact-intensive than the archaeological, but even those are pretty readable (though you may want to skim some of the more detailed lists of finds at various sites), and overall I have found it very well-written. Lots of fascinating points are made about the development of cultures.

And now I really want to do my next paper on something that ties together Bronze Age Greece, the horse and Indo-European myths and religion. My first paper was sort of in that direction, but ended up being broad rather than particularly in-depth. Not sure if there’s enough material to work with, however, and its definitely not an area of expertise by any of the professors here in Gothenburg.

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