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The Military Value of Horses and the Social Value of the Horse in Early Modern England

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Chapter Summary

Horses played a major role in warfare until the mid-twentieth century. English and British armies from the middle ages to the First World War relied on mounted troops and horse-drawn transport. Cultural historians and literary critics have suggested that perceptions and representations of the horse's military and social role changed during the early modern period. Although horses continued to be militarily useful throughout the early modern period and beyond, the essays in The Culture of the Horse suggest that the myths surrounding them increasingly tended to deny their importance. In The Culture of the Horse changes in the cultural significance of the horse were often assumed to follow naturally from military and economic changes. A re-examination of the horse in war will show that the military effectiveness of cavalry, the social status of cavalrymen and the cultural significance of the horse did not neatly coincide with each other.

Keywords:cavalry; England; Horses; military effectiveness; Military Value; social status; Social Value; The Culture of the Horse; Warfare

10.1163/9789004222427_016
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