Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Best reference on Roman horses yet.3 Feb. 1999
- Published on Amazon.com
Wonderfully well-researched, in everything from the organization of cavalry to the methods of training colts, from veterinary treatments to protein content of ancient grains, from the conduct of a chariot race to mule-breeding. Hyland is generally level-headed and takes research questions out to the training ring: she can show you the effect of the Roman bit excavated at Newstead on her "equine research associate" in photos. The downside: Chapter One, on breeds. Hyland is blatantly Arabophilic, so that she makes unwarranted links between the Erembian (Arabic) horse and the small Libyan, which is quite likely next of kin to the small horses ("native ponies" to some) of West Africa. Also, her assessment of the Hunnish horse based on ancient description is entirely illogical and sounds like a pre-settled prejudice, that those nasty Huns MUST ride nasty, low-bred, ugly horses. She calls a horse said to train well stupid, and reads the adjective gaunt in the belly as being undernourished, while I know the exact same phrase is used of her perfect Libyan horses. I ran this same description blind (no mention of source or name, just "this is an ancient breed") past a life-long horse person from a horse-breeding family and got a result of something like a ram-nosed Lippizanner, a very good horse indeed. If you ignore this one fall from grace, it's an excellent book for those interested in the culture, which was so focused on equines as machinery as well as status symbols. It's probably worth the second-hand price.
Very Good Analysis but Could Have Been Better18 Mar. 2015
- Published on Amazon.com
Hyland presents a well researched examination of the horse in Ancient Roman society. She covers many aspects of the horses's history, including breeds, training, uses (military and civilian), and veterinary practices. I agree with another reviewer that some of Hyland's conclusions need more supporting evidence and that she is Arabian-centric, which may color her conclusions. However, overall the book is very good and the reader will learn a great deal. NOTE: In order to get the most from the book, the reader should be very knowledgeable about horses and Ancient Rome. Otherwise, the reader will find him/herself constantly looking up horsemanship terminology and translating Latin text that the author does not bother to translate. The book would have been much improved if Hyland had included a more thorough Glossary and had translated all Latin texts. These additions would make the book accessible to a wider audience.