Role of Horses in Ancient Rome
by L.G. and E.W.
The Use of Horses in Ancient Rome
In Ancient Roman times, horses were used quite often. They were a big part in military, daily life, and in mythology and stories. One might not think of the horse to be an asset to a culture but the horse played a big role.
Horses were used everyday for everyday things such as:
Horses and Farming
Horses were used as sacrifices to the Gods to have a bountiful harvest. They would be raced in a chariot race and then the winning horse would then be stabbed by a priest and then sacrificed to the harvest god. The blood, tail, and the head were used in a ritual after the sacrifice.
Horse and Transportation
Horses played a big role in the transportation of people and goods.People would travel from town to town by means of the hoof. Horses were also used in the transportation of goods such as mail. The horse was mainly used to transport people though.
The Horse and Sport
The main sport in Ancient Rome the the horse was a big part of was chariot racing. Chariot racing was considered an important yet dangerous activity for these reasons:
There were other sports in Ancient Rome dealing with the horse besides chariot racing, these being:
Horses for Money
As with many civilizations, money to Romans was important so, the horse, for the Romans, was a means by which they could make trades instead of using money. One would use the horse in trades and agreements. In these cases, one would use a horse as an offer, and the mightier the steed, the higher the value.
Horses in Battle
To have a horse in battle was to have a greater advantage over the enemy. The horse was sometimes considered a soldier in itself. The calvary was mainly made up of young men who owned their horses. Men on horseback were at the front of the fighting line. By using horses, it made the Roman army faster and more efficient when time was an issue. Horses aided in this by:
The Horse in Stories
The horse was portrayed many times in stories, some being:
The Use of the Horse in Art
The coming of Athenian sculptures were responsible for a new subject in Roman art: the equestrian statue. As quoted by Mellin "...a great number of equestrian statues pranced and pirouetted on their pedistals all over Rome. Indeed the market was flooded with equestrian figures of emperors and centurions." Art was important for the Romans and the felt the horses deserved a place in the artistic world.
Horses as a Whole
The horse has shown great importance in the history of Ancient Rome. They were important in the ways of farming, getting around, money for trading, sports, battle, stories and mythology, and art.
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This page was created by L.G. and E.W. Last revised 03/30/00.