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Equestrian Equipment

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Chapter Summary

Besides the type of the warrior saint on foot, representations of them riding steeds of various colours continued to enjoy popularity in the art of the post-Iconoclastic period. From a costumological point of view, the equestrian equipment shown in these depictions complements the saints' armour and weaponry. The lavish horse tack in such descriptions is evidence that among the Byzantine aristocracy-as with the chivalry of Western Europe-rich horse furniture had became an indicator of social status. Wooden spurs, which amplify the prodding of the rider's heel in the horse's flank to force a quicker pace, had been known in Classical Greece, although painted images on vases suggest they were viewed as characteristic of Amazons. The late antique tradition of the heavily armoured horseman or cataphract on an armoured steed was still alive in Byzantium.

Keywords: equestrian equipment; horse tack; wooden spurs



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