How has the Role of Horses Changed in Human Societies?

assyrian-horses

By the 9th Century BC, Neo-Assyrians used horses to replace chariots.

Most studies suggest that domestication of the horse took place along the Eurasian steppe. However, it is not clear where exactly and most likely there were several independent domestication attempts. Interestingly, wild horses before domestication show a wide range of interspecies variation; however, it is believe that only one type of species became domesticated.[1] Most likely, the horse was domesticated by 4000-3500 BC. All domesticate horses are classified as Equus ferus caballus, with Equius ferus as being the species that domesticated horses derive from.[2]

Initial domestication may have been done as a means to develop horses as traction animals, or use in agriculture and plowing, and also for riding.[3] Probably at around the 3rd millennium BC, the horse began to spread across Eurasia and into China, Europe, and India. This could have been associated with the migration of Indo-European and Eurasian groups that were likely migrating across Asia during this time. These populations may have introduced horses, therefore, to new regions such as the Near East, India, and China.

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Categories: Ancient History

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