Horses

Georg von Simson g.v.simson at EAST.UIO.NO
Wed May 6 11:14:20 EDT 1998


Sn. Subrahmanya wrote:
>The Hun Period - Denis Sinor
>from the Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia, 1990, pg203
>
>"Information on the horse, faithful and indispensable companion of
>the Hun warrior, is also lopsided. Written sources contain many
>references to the ugly but sturdy Hun horses and the veterinary
>surgeon Vegatius Renatus described them in some detail. On the basis
>of contemporary descriptions one may safely conclude that the typical
>Hun horse was from a breed of the Mongolian pony. There is a strange
>contrast between the vivid descriptions given by the authors and the
>absence of any information provided by burials. To quote S.Bokonyi,
>a foremost authority on the subject, "We know very little of the Hun's
>horses. It is interesting that not a single usable horse bone has
>been found in the territory of the whole empire of the Huns".
>There is yet no answer to the question of what happened to the mortal
>remains of these fearful conqurors and their strange mounts. Hun
>domination was short lived and if the dead were cremated and and the
>horse bodies not put into graves, the likelihood of finding their
>bones is necessarily limited."
>
>Bokonyi is quoted from his "History of Domestic Mammals in Central and
>Eastern Europe"
>
In our discussions about the Aryan-Invasion/Immigration-Theory a series of
both linguistic and archaeological arguments have been brought forward. It
seems to me that ideological arguments so far have been neglected. If you
have a look at the vocabulary of the Rgveda, you will find that the horse
plays a very prominent part in it, a fact that already would point to its
ideological relevance even before you start reading the texts. Not only the
word azva is used about 200 times (not to mention hari and other words for
horse), there are also more than 30 derivatives from and compounds with
azva! The Indus seals, on the other hand, often depict other animals, but -
as far as I know - not the horse. If we assume that the seals to a certain
degree reflect religious concepts, the absence of the horse is highly
significant, especially if we compare it with the high position of the
horse in other Indo-European cultures. Therefore - even if some horse-bones
should be found in the Indus culture - the horse does not seem to have
played any prominent role in the minds of its people. This makes a very
strong contrast to Vedic culture as reflected in the Rgveda. For me the
horse-argument still has much weight, in spite of the counterarguments that
have been brought forward up to now.

Georg v. Simson



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