LUKYASKO S.I. Horse Ammunition. From the History of a Saddle


Sergey I. Lukyashko

Doctor of Sciences (History), Head of the Archaeological Laboratory,

Southern Scientific Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences,

Chekhov St., 41, 344006 Rostov-on- Don, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. Horse ammunition was formed historically on a large geographical area. The most important component of it is a saddle. The ancient history of a saddle is not sufficiently investigated. It should be safely assumed that the oldest forms of seats appear together with the use of a horse for riding. We can confidently say that the appearance of the horsemen of the Cimmerians and Scythians in Western Asia in 8th – 7th centuries BC would not have been possible if there had been no such devices. There is a deep belief that horse riding in Western Asia arose under the Cimmerian-Scythian influence.

Methods and materials. The presence of images of horsemen and archaeological material allow us to revisit the issue. Even on the Nimrodical relief we can trace the saddle blanket provided with breeching strap and the girth. This primitive form of soft saddle can be seen on Assyrian reliefs, where it is complemented by a breast collar.

Analysis. The well-preserved saddle of the Pazyryk burial mounds, shows that in the 5th century BC a saddle becomes more complicated, paired pillows and hardwood arcs fastening pillows appear. This type of a saddle in the Asian part of the nomadic world survives until the 3rd century BC and is represented in the Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang. In the West, in the Scythian world, a simple coating with mounting straps exists in the 4th century BC, probably in the late 4th century BC, a wooden base – lence and pommels – appears in the Scythian saddle.

Results. The archaeological material clearly indicates that a saddle was formed within the culture of Eurasian nomads in the 1st millennium BC, a rigid saddle appeared in the Scythian culture in the late 4th century BC.

Key words: saddle blanket, saddle, girth, lence, pommels, flaps.

Citation. Lukyashko S.I. Horse Ammunition. From the History of a Saddle. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2019, vol. 24, no. 5, pp. 6-18. (in Russian). DOI:

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Horse Ammunition. From the History of a Saddle by Lukyashko S.I. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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