Nile Musings ~ Celebrating the Egyptian Arabian Horse ~ Volume 1 Number 5 May 2003

image of grey horsehead Nile Musings image of horsehead from Haremheb's tomb

Karnak Temple from across the Sacred Lake

Ramses' horses on the wall outside Karnak Temple's hypostyle hall, fortunately in the sun.

Search for the Egyptian horse: The Egyptian horse lives on throughout Egypt inscribed on monuments. Many ancient artifacts of horses I intended to see eluded me, many others fulfilled their promise and yet others appeared as total surprises. I brought back photos of horses all over Egypt to illustrate the ancient Egyptian horse. A couple of photos presented this month add to the scout and messenger riders discussion previously in Egyptian Riders [v.1-3].

Battle scene tableaux are hard to photograph—the carvings degrade more each year, angles and lighting are intended for gods, not humans. Some outside walls are in the shade all day. Inside some temples wall scenes glow golden from artificial light, not exactly like ancient priests' torchlight, nor ideal for photographing, but breathtaking. To approach the quality of James Breasted's photographs of Abu Simbel would require using a ladder or scaffold, target light, and certainly not a low end digital camera. The camera lens reflects the distortion of perspective through a mere mortal's eye looking up at immense walls. Massive columns prevent getting any distance back from the murals. These affects also add to the wonder of it all.

Carriage pulled by a grey horse on the Corniche in Luxor
Carriage pulled by a bay horse around a modern statue at an intersection in Luxor

Carriage horses in Luxor.

a gentle carriage horse in Aswan
A beautiful carriage mare in Aswan

Egyptian horses still work for people pulling carriages, gracing city streets throughout Egypt. The dapple-grey carries passengers between the Luxor Temple and the Nile River along the Corniche in Luxor. The bay follows a roundabout at an intersection on the northern side of Luxor towards the Karnak Temple. The Greeks called Luxor Thebes, but the ancient Egyptians called it Waset.

Photos of ancient messenger riders from Luxor and Abu Simbel in this month's article relate to a previous article about Egyptian messenger and scout riders: Egyptian Scouts on Horseback.

Next month's feature will show that even pharaohs rode horses on occasion. Most of my evidence for those riders comes from public domain publications and excerpts from contemporary writings. I didn't actually see any images of pharaohs galloping on horseback across temple walls but I found some fascinating evidence in the Egyptian Museum.

What's new on the Nile Muse?
Egyptian Scouts on Horseback – snapshots of Egyptian messenger riders on ancient tableaux in Luxor and Abu Simbel.
New Foals
Ravenwood Ranch and Rainbow Crest announce new foals.

Your webscribe, Donna Hyora

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