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In antiquity, skills of horses were greatly appreciated

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Chariot race reconstruction
Chariot race reconstruction

Pliny the Elder in his work “Natural History” describes horses and their ability to cooperate with humans. It highlights their learning ability and obedience to people.

Horses make their riders understand that they understand their commands and that they are even able to pick up a spear from the ground and pass it to the rider.

Pliny also gives an interesting story from the reign of Emperor Claudius (41-54 CE), when the chariot races were organized in Circus Maximus. Namely, already at the start, the coachman of the “white” team fell out of the harness, but despite the lack of a human being, the horses ran in the race and took first place. What’s more, during the race they used tricks learned during training, such as scaring horses from the opposite team or taking the road. Finally, instead of running across the finish line, they stopped in front of the chalk line, as Pliny argues, so as not to embarrass people that horses were able to win on their own.

Sources
  • Pliny the Elder, Natural history, VIII.65.159

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