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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

It is hard to imagine the Iron Age without horses, as they played an important part in identity formation and status expression of Iron Age elites. This article illustrates their role as riding, pack, and draught animals in peace and war, as useful companions for hunting and partners in sport, as aids in agriculture, providers of milk and, in the end, meat and hides. Four-wheeled ceremonial wagons and two-wheeled chariots were status symbols in funerary and ritual contexts, and some Iron Age communities in central and eastern Europe even buried horses. Images of horses and their riders, and of gods and goddesses connected with horses further demonstrate their role in Iron Age religion across the continent. This chapter describes some of the regional patterns of how humans engaged with horses in Iron Age Europe.

Keywords: horse, riding, hunting, wagon, chariot, elite, art, religion, identity, status

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