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

Název česky Krétský kůň: samostatné plemeno? : Část I: Koňovití na Krétě od neolitu do ottomanského období


Rok publikování 2023
Druh Článek v odborném periodiku
Časopis / Zdroj Cheiron : The International Journal Of Equine And Equestrian History
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

www Stránka časopisu
Klíčová slova Equine Archaeology; Crete
Popis 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.
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