Dominique.Thillaud thillaud at UNICE.FR
Fri May 8 08:13:52 UTC 1998

Paul Kekai Manansala ask:
>What part did the horse play in Greek or Persian culture?

        Very important in Greece. Horses are present in many myths and we
know their names: pEgasos (bellerophontEs), arIOn (adrastos), xanthos
(akhilleus), boukephalos (alexandros ho megas), &c. Two Gods are concerned
with horses, hermEs and, when yoked, poseidOn. The root hippo- is largely
used in anthroponyms, mythical (hippolytos/E, hippodameia) or historical
(hipparkhos, hippokratEs, philippos). The Trojan War is framed by two
horse's sacrifices: the first for the oath of Helen's suitors, the last
being the famous Trojan Horse.
        If I remember well (no time to verify), Xerxes (or Darios?) gave a
great sacrifice of white horses (drowning them in a river) when going
against the Greece. And Herodotos give us several Persian names such
hustaspEs (viztAspa) or aspathinEs where the Medic root asp- (= Skr. azv-)
appears clearly. In the early Achemenid inscriptions (Ariaramnes, Arsames,
Darius I), we find frequently the formula "this Persian people, having good
horses (uvaspa = Ved. svazva), having good men" (again, the Medic or
Avestic form aspa is prefered to the Old Persian asa, showing perhaps an
outdated formula).

Dominique THILLAUD
Universite' de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France

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