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[Greco-Bactrians; Indo-Greeks]

A number of Hellenistic kingships that ruled portions of Afghanistan, Central Asia and India in the last three centuries bc. In ancient times the region of Bactria was bounded on the north by the Oxus and on the south-east by the Hindu Kush mountains. The western frontier remained ill-defined and in constant flux. Following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 bc, Bactria and adjoining Sogdiana were controlled by the Seleucids until c. 250 bc, when the governor Diodotus asserted independence. A large body of coins, Hellenistic in style and iconography and with Greek legends, was minted by the Greco-Bactrian rulers. This style of coinage, but with bilingual Greek and Kharoshthi legends, continued into the Kushana period (1st to 3rd century ad). With the exception of Ai Khanum, a Greek-style city, few remains of the Greeks in Bactria have yet been uncovered. Control of Sogdiana was lost to the local kings in the late ...

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J. H. Crouwel, Mary A. Littauer, Christopher Gravett, Tom Richardson, Walter Smith, William Lancaster and Fidelity Lancaster

From an early stage, horses were used both as mounts and for pulling chariots in warfare or hunting. Most evidence for forms of harness in the ancient world comes from depictions in art, the earliest figural evidence dating from before 2000 bc in the Near East, although in a few contexts actual harness elements have survived. Even for later periods, secondary sources tend to provide the best evidence for the perishable leather and cloth parts of horse harness and trappings. More durable equipment, such as the horse armour used in medieval Europe, sometimes survives intact.

Ancient chariot horses were attached to their yokes by means of neck or breast straps and backing straps or girths that ran under their bellies, just behind the forelegs. Mounts often wore saddle-cloths or, in later antiquity, primitive saddles held on by girths, breastbands and breechings or cruppers. Both chariot horses and mounts were controlled by bridles, consisting of headstalls and reins and, usually, bits. This equipment was often decorated in varying degrees....