A History of Horses in the Divided Kingdom of Israel and Judah

A new study of ancient hippology by Deborah O’Daniel Cantrell

Read the full original review by Ziony Zeviy as it appeared in Biblical Archaeology Review , Mar/Apr 2012

A History of Horses in the Divided Kingdom of Israel and Judah

Deborah O’Daniel Cantrell explores history, geography, hippology and archaeology to establish a history of horses during the divided kingdom of Israel and Judah.

The Horsemen of Israel: Horses and Chariotry in Monarchic Israel (Ninth–Eighth Centuries B.C.E.)

By Deborah O’Daniel Cantrell

Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns,2011,
143 pp., $39.50 (hardcover)

Horses played a major role in ancient economics, warfare and daily life, yet until recently, our understanding of the history of horses in ancient Israel was incomplete. Deborah O’Daniel Cantrell’s new book The Horsemen of Israel: Horses and Chariotry in Monarchic Israel (Ninth-Eighth Centuries B.C.E.) addresses the matter, combining Biblical studies, hippology (the study of horses) and archaeology to reveal the importance of horses during the divided kingdom of Israel and Judah. Reviewer and Biblical scholar Ziony Zevit praises this history of horses as more than a presentation of new material; he enthusiastically describes it as a “page-turner” that he read over a single weekend.

Zevit commends Cantrell’s approach, noting that her varied backgrounds in hippology and law lead to clearly focused questions and interpretations resting on a solid base of practical knowledge. Horses first appear in the Biblical narrative during Solomon’s reign, and there are increased attestations of their military use during the divided kingdom of Israel and Judah. While scholars have often overlooked contemporary Israelite horsemanship, Cantrell’s evidence clearly establishes the prominence and history of horses in this period. Assyrian inscriptions and the Tel Dan stela mention thousands of horses used for Israelite chariotry, and Cantrell complements this evidence with lesser known historical narratives of their capture and purchase.

The book delves into archaeological evidence of the history of horses to supplement what Zevit describes as “sophisticated inferences from Biblical as well as ancient Near Eastern texts.” Excavations at Megiddo reveal a major equine complex with stables, troughs, exercise areas and other prominent features, and Cantrell employs her background in hippology to identify subtle evidence of equestrian habits such as crib-biting and pawing. She combines geography and hippology on a broader scale to show that the topography of Israel would be well-suited to a large-scale chariotry division, and uses hippology on a more theoretical level to examine warhorse psychology and training when discussing their military significance.

Cantrell’s book focuses on chariotry during the divided kingdom of Israel and Judah in the ninth and eighth centuries B.C.E., after which time thinner breeds of horses were introduced and mounted riders started to replace chariots. Readers should be aware that the author’s initial background is in hippology rather than archaeology, and the book prioritizes the usage and history of horses over specific debates on chronology. The divided kingdom of Israel and Judah takes center stage in the military history portion of the Hebrew Bible, and Cantrell’s history of horses redefines our understanding of the Biblical battlefield.

Read the full original review by Ziony Zeviy as it appeared in Biblical Archaeology Review , Mar/Apr 2012

 


 

The Horsemen of Israel

The Horsemen of Israel: Horses and Chariotry in Monarchic Israel (Ninth–Eighth Centuries B.C.E.)

By Deborah O’Daniel Cantrell

(Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns,
2011), 143 pp., $39.50 (hardcover)





Read the full original review by Ziony Zeviy as it appeared in Biblical Archaeology Review , Mar/Apr 2012

Posted in Ancient Israel, Daily.

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Add Your Comments

3 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Paul says

    From the annals of the Assyrian King Shalmaneser III there is a record of King Ahab’s contribution of 2000 chariots and 10,000 foot soldiers in the battle of Qarqar, but no mention of it can be found in the Old Testament. Instead, the emphasis is placed on the prophet Elijah as he is taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot with fiery horses which were described as ” Israel’s chariots and horsemen” by the prophet Elisha (2 Kings 2:11,12). This phenomenon is also mentioned in Zechariah 6:1-8 in the vision of four chariots, described as “the four winds of heaven which go out from being stationed by the Lord of all the earth.” To quote from the Anchor Bible Series, Zechariah, p.318; “Chariotry clearly represents the ultimate or absolute sovereignty of a political entity that can forcibly carry out its policies and exercise dominion.” Not long after witnessing Elijah’s ascent, Elisha encountered some youths who jeered at him, whereupon he curses them in the name of the LORD and they all died (2 Kings 2:23,24). This was the name YHVH. In his book “Gates of Light”, Rabbi Joseph Gikatalia describes this divine name; “The Tetragrammaton, YHVH, is like the trunk of a tree, while the other divine names are like its branches” (Kaplan, Meditation and Kabbalah p.132). Gikatalia goes on to describe how to use the divine names mentioned in the Old Testament, much like a horse trainer known as Kikkuli. He was found on a Hittite tablet from around 1400 B.C.E. “Thus speaks Kikkuli, master horse trainer of the land of Mitanni.”

  2. Carla says

    Hi! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with SEO?
    I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good results.
    If you know of any please share. Many thanks!

Continuing the Discussion

  1. BIBLICAL HIPPOLOGY | Dispatches From The Vanishing World linked to this post on February 25, 2012

    [...] this articlehttp://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/reviews/a-history-of-horses-in-the-divided-kingdom-of-israe… This entry was posted in reader alerts and tagged BIBLICAL ARCHAELOGY, HIPPOLOGY, HORSE HISTORY, [...]


Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.


Enter Your Log In Credentials

Change Password

×