The Horse in Arabia and the Arabian Horse: Origins, Myths and Realities

Abstract : Publishing an issue devoted to the horse in Arabia and in Arabian culture stems from the discovery of equid statues on the Neolithic site of al‑Maqar (Saudi Arabia) in 2010. This discovery was prematurely presented as the earliest testimony of horse breeding and horse riding. It was dated to 7,300–6,700 BC —i.e. 3,500 years before the first evidence of horse domestication known so far. It has stirred up controversy about the ongoing issue of horse domestication, against a background of ideological debate. It has also been an indication to the critical place given to horsemanship and horse breeding in the Arabian Peninsula. Gathering contributions on the topic of the horse in Arabia and the place of the Arabian horse in the medieval Islamic world allows us to draw an overview of the current knowledge about the issue of the introduction of the horse to Arabia (see Robin and Antonini), of the origin of the Arabian breed (see Olsen), of the significance and contribution of Arabian rock art (see Robin and Antonini, Olsen), of the role of the horse in Rasulid diplomacy (see Mahoney) and in Mamlūk culture (see Berriah, Carayon), of the emergence of the myth of the Arabian horse in the 19th‑century Arabian Peninsula (see Pouillon), and on the specific issue of horse armour from the late pre‑Islamic period to the Ottoman empire (see Nicolle). This introduction is an opportunity to present the setting of these contributions from specific viewpoints: • The al‑Maqar case: an ideological historical reconstitution • The domestication of the horse: the state of the art • The introduction of the horse in Arabia: the state of the art • The horse in the Islamic period • The myth of the Arabian horse
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Contributor : Jérémie Schiettecatte <>
Submitted on : Monday, September 11, 2017 - 11:07:10 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, May 2, 2019 - 4:38:15 PM
Long-term archiving on : Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 3:23:06 PM

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Jérémie Schiettecatte, Abbès Zouache. The Horse in Arabia and the Arabian Horse: Origins, Myths and Realities. Arabian Humanities, Centre Français d’Archéologie et de Sciences sociales de Sanaa (CEFAS), 2017, The horse in the Arabian Peninsula / Le cheval dans la péninsule Arabique, 8, ⟨10.4000/cy.3280⟩. ⟨halshs-01585122⟩

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