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Ancient Indian Horse Support, "Toe Stirrup"


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This is something not mentioned in literature, or something that widely proliferated, but never the less it does show up enough times. What do you think about implementing such a utility for a Maurya horse upgrade or tech? It's not attached to the saddle like a modern stirrup, but a long rope, leather, etc. of sort with a loop on the two ends.

It could be a rather unique upgrade to the Mauryas supported by evidence.

Some examples I've found. References are Sanchi, chandraketugarh, kulu vase, bhaja caves.

I should say though not widely used across the board in each and every horsemen like later stirrup. It shows up in various parts of the subcontinent, so it spread widely enough.

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Edited by lilstewie
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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, Nescio said:

Thank you for sharing those images!

Where are they from and when are they dated?

 

Sanchi reliefs - Around first century BC - Deccan Satavahana empire

Bhaja Caves - Around first century BC - Deccan Satavahana empire

Chandraketugarh - Around 2nd-1st Century BC - East Sunga Empire

Kulu vase - Around first century BC - Northern India

Edited by lilstewie
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It seems you may be on to something! Those slightly postdate the Mauryas, but that does not mean they did not exist earlier. Did you find any depictions of cavalry under the Mauryas? Do those have toe ropes too?

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, Nescio said:

It seems you may be on to something! Those slightly postdate the Mauryas, but that does not mean they did not exist earlier. Did you find any depictions of cavalry under the Mauryas? Do those have toe ropes too?

 

Wood was mostly the method of construction for the Maurya reliefs, etc. So they do not survive from the Maurya's. What survives are the Ashokan edicts, pillars, pillar capitals, some statues, some gems, etc. So those type of samples dont survive. 

Actually to make the Maurya faction primary archaeological sources are from Maurya's political successors. Because the Buddhist stupa railings, gates, etc. start to be constructed in stone, etc. instead of wood.This isnt much of an issue because all the successors even if they were far apart share cultural similarities in their military doctrine, architecture, clothing, etc. So can assume it wasnt much different under the Maurya union. As with the other elements, the toe lope is found in all corners of India as well. 

 

Edited by lilstewie
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Wikipedia concurs and cites a book that I couldn't find online: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirrup#cite_note-Chamberlin80-13

Looking at the location of the temples where those engravings are (from wikipedia again), it's right in the middle of the Maurya empire, and the dates kind of fit - I would say it seems like a very good late-game technology. Historically, it might be 50-100 years too early, but it's an interesting trivia and it feels unique enough that we might give it a pass.

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10 minutes ago, lilstewie said:

Wood was mostly the method of construction for the Maurya reliefs, etc. So they do not survive from the Maurya's.

Yes, I'm aware of that. However, the Ashokan rock edicts were carved in stone (obviously); are they just text or do they have some images too? For comparison, the Achaemenid imperial rock inscriptions (e.g. Darius' tomb, Behistun inscription), by which Ashoka's were likely inspired, have some great and important examples of Persian iconography.

24 minutes ago, lilstewie said:

As with the toe lop is found all corners of India as well.

I wouldn't be surprised if it existed even before the Mauryas then, but disappeared without a trace. (Rope isn't very durable.)

Some of the horsemen in your opening posts visibly have swords. Are the toe ropes used only by melee cavalry, or also by horse archers etc.? I guess there are simply too few depictions to say anything with certainty about that?

Anyway, it's a nice detail, though in the end it's up to artists (e.g. @Alexandermb) to decide whether they want to model and animate it.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Nescio said:

Yes, I'm aware of that. However, the Ashokan rock edicts were carved in stone (obviously); are they just text or do they have some images too? For comparison, the Achaemenid imperial rock inscriptions (e.g. Darius' tomb, Behistun inscription), by which Ashoka's were likely inspired, have some great and important examples of Persian iconography.

Those survive, but no relief elements, no statues with such militaristic, etc. samples. Only image of a warrior dating to the Maurya is of very simple art work that looks like a soldier with a Greek/Mediterranean looking helmet. But this art work is very simple.

 

Quote

Some of the horsemen in your opening posts visibly have swords. Are the toe ropes used only by melee cavalry, or also by horse archers etc.? I guess there are simply too few depictions to say anything with certainty about that?

Yeah, militaristic images are pretty rare. You basically have to source references and samples from 2nd Century BC to Century AD. Architectural, religious, court life, etc. elements there are several in comparison. 

 

Edited by lilstewie
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Two articles discussing those ancient Indian stirrups:

Lawrence S. Leshnik “Some Early Indian Horse-Bits and Other Bridle Equipment” American Journal of Archaeology 75.2 (April 1971) 141–150 https://doi.org/10.2307/504032

Nazer Aziz Anjum “Horse Sculpture in India” Proceedings of the Indian History Congress 72.2 (2011) 1247–1253  https://www.jstor.org/stable/44145736

There are probably more, but those are the first two I could find. :)

1 hour ago, wraitii said:

Wikipedia concurs and cites a book that I couldn't find online: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirrup#cite_note-Chamberlin80-13

It's available on Amazon (and probably elsewhere): https://www.amazon.com/Horse-How-Has-Shaped-Civilizations/dp/1933346132

There is a serious review available at https://muse.jhu.edu/article/238355 and various other reviews (e.g. at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1566029.Horse ) indicate it's more of a narrative written for the general public rather than a sound and critical study.

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