Author Topic: Horse found at Pompeii  (Read 709 times)

Duncan Head

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Horse found at Pompeii
« on: July 13, 2018, 01:20:18 PM »
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archaeology/pompeii-tomb-discovery-secret-tunnels-ancient-horse-vesuvius-naples-a8352411.html

I'm not completely sure how they conclude it was a "military" horse - perhaps the style of harness?
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Erpingham

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Re: Horse found at Pompeii
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2018, 01:44:57 PM »
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archaeology/pompeii-tomb-discovery-secret-tunnels-ancient-horse-vesuvius-naples-a8352411.html

I'm not completely sure how they conclude it was a "military" horse - perhaps the style of harness?

maybe the size?  It is said to be 5ft tall - 15 hands - which is a decent size for the time.

Incidentally, glad to see myths about Pompeii perpetuated - "swallowed by lava" indeed.   :(
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Patrick Waterson

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Re: Horse found at Pompeii
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2018, 07:34:31 PM »
"Fragments of an iron and bronze harness were found near its head, suggesting it had been used in parades."

Unless anyone can think of any specifically civilian parades, this would appear to point in one particular direction.
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Dangun

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Re: Horse found at Pompeii
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2018, 01:31:30 AM »
But do civilian horses all go without harness?

Patrick Waterson

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Re: Horse found at Pompeii
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2018, 05:57:14 AM »
But do civilian horses all go without harness?

Not in life, admittedly, but presumably in death.  What they tended not to do back then, at least as far as I know, was to participate in parades.
  • Patrick Waterson
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Dangun

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Re: Horse found at Pompeii
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2018, 11:54:13 AM »
But do civilian horses all go without harness?

Not in life, admittedly, but presumably in death. 

But this is pompeii, so the death was unexpected.

Patrick Waterson

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Re: Horse found at Pompeii
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2018, 07:19:08 PM »
But this is pompeii, so the death was unexpected.

Good point.  I would imagine categorisation centres on the nature of the harness.
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Dangun

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Re: Horse found at Pompeii
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2018, 02:15:40 AM »
I would imagine categorisation centres on the nature of the harness.

Very possible.

Chuck the Grey

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Re: Horse found at Pompeii
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2018, 11:19:29 PM »
One thought that I had was that the horse's owner may have been a retired civic or military official and may have ridden the horse at civic functions. Events like the emperor's birthday, city's founding, religious festivals, and the like.
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Patrick Waterson

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Re: Horse found at Pompeii
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2018, 06:17:08 AM »
Civil and military officials belonged to the same cursus honorum - there was no separation of powers as we understand it (at least not until after Diocletian, which is a major reason why the Empire survived as long as it did).  While we could nevertheless comfortably class a farmer's nag as a 'civilian horse' (as opposed to a 'citizen horse', of which as far as I know Incitatus was the only example), the recently discovered equine would, from its harness, belong to some officer or official who had presumably seen enough of the eruption and intended a quick getaway - but took too long over it.

I suspect the horse collapsed and died of ash inhalation while awaiting his master's pleasure, or at least readiness.  In the eruption of Mont Pelee in Martinique in AD 1902 horses were overcome by the ash before humans, and the same pattern presumably also occurred at Pompeii.
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Jim Webster

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Re: Horse found at Pompeii
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2018, 07:17:45 AM »


I suspect the horse collapsed and died of ash inhalation while awaiting his master's pleasure, or at least readiness.  In the eruption of Mont Pelee in Martinique in AD 1902 horses were overcome by the ash before humans, and the same pattern presumably also occurred at Pompeii.

lung to body ratio varies a lot between species and also within species between different breeds. So some breeds of cattle are notorious for suffering more from pneumonia than others
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Erpingham

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Re: Horse found at Pompeii
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2018, 07:31:28 AM »
The problem of the getaway horse is where is the rest of its harness?  I suspect the archaeology reveals more than we have yet been told.
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Patrick Waterson

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Re: Horse found at Pompeii
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2018, 06:43:22 PM »
The problem of the getaway horse is where is the rest of its harness?  I suspect the archaeology reveals more than we have yet been told.

Could well be.  If the horse was being readied for departure, I guess this would place its collapse at a point shortly before the saddle would have been applied or the animal backed into the chariot harness.

lung to body ratio varies a lot between species and also within species between different breeds. So some breeds of cattle are notorious for suffering more from pneumonia than others

Good point, Jim.  Without knowing any more about the particular breeds around at the time, I suspect this horse of belonging to one of the more vulnerable ones.
  • Patrick Waterson
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Duncan Head

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Re: Horse found at Pompeii
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2018, 11:42:57 AM »
Not sure if this is the same horse or a new one -
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/dec/23/archaeologists-find-remains-of-horses-in-ancient-pompeii-stable

But there seem to be more than one.
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Erpingham

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Re: Horse found at Pompeii
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2018, 12:40:12 PM »
Not sure if this is the same horse or a new one -
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/dec/23/archaeologists-find-remains-of-horses-in-ancient-pompeii-stable

But there seem to be more than one.

Checking the pictures, the two cast horses are the same, the skeletonised one seems new.  It also looks bigger.

One of the mysteries of the earlier report may have been solved.  We didn't know why they thought it was a military horse.  The latest report suggests it was found in a villa they think belonged to a military officer, hence military horse.  They also now have parts of a saddle with the harnessed horse, to fit with the "getaway horse" theory.
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