Horses as Symbols of Power in History and Mythology

“Horse images have been used as a symbol of power, as seen in the coastal steppes of Ukraine”

From: Ancient Origins

There are many hypotheses regarding history of the domestication of the horse. Horses first appeared in Paleolithic cave art around 30,000 BC. These were wild horses that were hunted for their meat. However, it is disputed exactly how and when the horse first became domesticated.

In prehistoric times, humans used to paint the images of wild horses on the walls of the caves which they inhabited. By painting the image of an animal in this way, it is believed that they thought they would be granted power over the respective animal, thus making it easier to kill for food.

Clear evidence of the early use of the horse is as a means of transport. This evidence dates from chariot burials from around the year 2000 BC. Still, there is evidence supporting another hypothesis. This hypothesis suggests that horses were domesticated in the Eurasian Steppes around the year 3500 BC. Botai settlements in the Akmola Province of Kazakhstan are believed to provide the location of the earliest domestication of the horse. Leaving aside the exact time and date of domestication, horses have been used throughout history for transport, warfare and agricultural work.

Horse Images as Symbols of Power

Horse images have been used as a symbol of power, as seen in the coastal steppes of Ukraine, near Izmail and north of the Danube Delta, in the Suvorovo graves. These were derived from the earlier funeral traditions from the area around Dnieper River. Some of these graves were found to contain polished stone mace heads in the shape of horse heads and horse tooth beads. Other settlements in the steppes, which were contemporary to the Suvorovo graves (for example Dereivka on River Dnieper and Sredni Stog II), contained numerous horse bones.


AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
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