Sunday, February 4, 2024


ISSN 2786-3182



Cheiron: The International Journal of Equine and Equestrian History is a biannual journal facilitating a debate in equine and equestrian studies across chronological periods and disciplines. The journal welcomes contributions from many fields, including, but not limited to, archaeology, anthropology, social sciences, animal studies, art history, interspecies communication, and veterinary history.

The journal is double-blind peer-reviewed and is published in February and September.

We publish thematic issues, the subject of which are announced in advance in a call for papers for the issue. Besides, open sections/issues of the journal provide a place for general discussion of the history of equines and horsemanship. 

Cheiron accepts submissions throughout the year on subjects related to the scope of the journal (non-binding to special issues): the history of horses and other equines, equestrian sports, equines and equestrianism in art, horse management, breeding and preservation of endangered breeds, tack and equipment, ethical issues, and other

Volume 1, Issue 1/2021

Volume 2, Issue 1/2022

Volume 2, Issue 2/2022

Volume 3, Issue 1/2023 

Volume 3, Issue 2/2023


Absent Horses in the Story of Svyatoslav’s Conquests in The Primary Chronicle of Rus’

Anastasija Ropa

Abstract: This study examines the importance of horses who are physically absent but whose presence is implied either by direct reference to a horse or by metonymy, referring to objects of equipment associated with horses, such as the saddle and the bridle, as narrated in the Laurentian Codex of The Primary Chronicle. Three episodes where the warhorse is absent, but its presence is implied or imagined, are introduced by the chronicler. All these episodes concern Prince Svyatoslav, one of the last pagan rulers of Rus’. Not only do these episodes confirm the significance of horses in Rusian  culture and their polysemantic potential, but they also present problems of interpretation for readers and translators encountering the text today. The narrative and its translations and adaptions into modern languages thus need to be re-examined with an eye on equine history, in order to understand the implications introduced by the author in mentioning the physically absent equines.

Good Mothers or Lascivious Females? The Perception of Mares in the Context of Equine Husbandry and Breeding in Medieval France (1200-1500)

Camille Vo Van Qui

Abstract: Though mares were essential to the breeding of medieval warhorses, they are elusive in written and iconographic sources dominated by male horses. When they appear, their portrayal is ambiguous: thirteenth-century encyclopaedists describe them both as an ideal representation of motherhood and as lascivious beings. This may have influenced the perception of mares in the context of equine husbandry. This paper compares descriptions in thirteenth-century encyclopaedias to French versions of Rufus’s De medicina equorum (1250), and to its 1456 reinterpretation by Guillaume de Villiers. The Roman d’Alexandre (1180) by Alexandre de Paris, and the financial records of Charles VI (1368-1422) are used to understand the complex cultural perception of mares. Despite negative sexual undertones, mares were portrayed as strong and independent, eliciting wariness and admiration.

Ritualistic Equestrianism: Status, Identity, and Symbolism in Tudor Coronation Ceremonies

Keri Blair

Abstract: Using horses as a historical lens, this study examines four components of ritualistic equestrianism in Tudor coronation ceremonies: the King’s Champion, the Gilded Spurs, the Master of the Horse, and the Horse of Honor. These four components remained an essential part of coronation ceremonies during the Tudor era despite significant political, religious, and cultural changes and elevated in status, identity, and symbolism to parallel the rise of horse culture in early modern England. More importantly, these four components underlined the importance of horses and horsemanship to the Crown.  

The Royal Mares: Imagining a Race (Part Two)

Miriam A Bibby

Abstract: In the years since their first appearance in Cheny’s Racing Calendar of 1743, a group of celebrated yet vague beings, the Royal Mares, have from time to time attracted scholarly attention. Suggested to be the foundation mares of the Thoroughbred breed, they have subsequently been variously described as imported mares, as mares bred on the island of Britain, or a mixture of both. This paper explores the origins and progress of the story, around which mythology has accumulated, showing that there is a core of truth within the legend of imported mares, but that certain aspects of the historiography have been influenced by unreliable sources. The evidence for imported horses from the sixteenth to the mid-eighteenth century is also examined in depth. Part I having examined the evidence up until the seizure of the horses (and other goods) of Charles I by the Parliamentarian commissioners, Part 2 commences in the aftermath of the regicide and events under Commonwealth rule. 

The Cretan Horse: Still a Unique Breed? Part I: Equines on Crete from the Neolithic to the Ottoman Period

Věra Klontza-Jaklová, Nikos Panagiotakis, Romilda Tengeriová, Michal Smíšek, Ricardo Fernandes, Manolis Klontzas

Abstract: The Cretan (or Messara, Giorgalidiko) horse or pony was first mentioned as a distinct specific horse breed by the Ottomans in 1895. This horse, however, may have a much longer history, perhaps going back to the prehistoric era. It also has an unsure future. Based on a review of available archaeofaunal, iconographical, and historiographical information, the authors identify the characteristics of the Cretan horse, discuss the possible origin of this breed, describe its current breeding status, and present a proposal for its preservation.  Domesticated horses (Equus caballus) appeared on the island by the end of the third millennium B.C.E. and became part of the cultural context after the mid-second millennium B.C.E. It is difficult to trace the horse in Crete during Classical antiquity, early Christianity, and the early Middle Ages. It is possible that various breeds of E. caballus were present on the island during the Late Middle Ages. The Cretan horse is understood as part of local tradition, a historical patrimony, and an integral part of Crete‘s cultural heritage. The geographical, climatic, historical, and cultural characteristics of the island were imprinted in its characteristics. The Cretan horse is poorly documented up to this day. It now faces extinction. 

The authors gathered information and evidence of horses on Crete from the Neolithic period up to the present day. They produced two papers, representing a comprehensive overview of the Equus Cabalus history of the island. The first paper covers the period from prehistoric times up to 1895, when the Cretan horse was declared a special breed by the Ottoman administration and protected legally. The research summarizes archaeological, osteological, iconographical, and historical evidence. The second paper describes the state of the breed during the twentieth century, the current position, its further needs and future prospects. 

The Role of Prominent Mares in the Social Lives of Free-Roaming Horses

Christine Reed, Nancy Cerroni

Abstract: Free-roaming horses interact with one another as social subjects in their own right, communicating within family bands using social signals that are evident to them and to the humans who observe them. Ethnographers, like John Hartigan, who study these social dynamics provide a new approach to understanding their social lives. This exploratory study builds on that research, relying on records of past and current observations of a single band on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, with a particular focus on the role of a prominent mare in maintaining the social structure of her family.

Telling Tales: Intangible Cultural Heritage, UNESCO and Horse Cultural Heritage in the Twenty-First Century

Sarah Sargent

Abstract: This article challenges the popular notion that there has been an end to the relevance of the horse to the twenty-first-century society. But how and why do they remain relevant?   Insight can be found through consideration of the variety horse-heritage elements which have been inscribed on UNESCO lists of intangible cultural heritage. This examination of what horse-heritage elements are inscribed with UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage broadens and deepens critical understanding of the relevance of the horse in the present day. 


Natasha Fijn, Living with the Herds: Human-Animal Coexistence in Mongolia 

Reviewed by Sarah Sargent

John Hartigan Jr, Shaving the Beasts. Wild horses and rituals in Spain

Reviewed by Diane de Camproger


 See AWOL's full List of Open Access Journals in Ancient Studies



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