Completed PhD: Dr Adelia Greer (2015)

Xenophon and the ancient Greek cavalry horse: an equestrian perspective

Four primary research topics are at the core of this thesis. The first deals with the physical characteristics of the ancient Greek horse. Using archaeological and artistic evidence, I challenge assumptions made by many scholars about the size of the ancient Greek cavalry horse. The second topic explores the equestrian equipment utilised by the ancient Greek cavalry. The standard view that the lack of saddles, stirrups and horseshoes made the cavalry an ineffective fighting force is challenged. Using both Xenophon’s Art of Horsemanship and the Cavalry Commander, the third topic compares ancient Greek horsemanship with modern theories on horsemanship. This exploration reveals not only the depth of Xenophon’s equestrian knowledge and its relevance today, but also his profound understanding of the physical and psychological workings of the horse. The fourth topic combines the findings of the first three in order to offer a new perspective on the effectiveness and value of the ancient Greek cavalry. It is hoped that my conclusions will be used as a springboard for further study and will lead to a greater appreciation of the cavalry as an important and necessary arm of the ancient Greek military.

Supervisor: Dr Edward Herring