The Running Centaur
Horse-Racing in Global-Historical Perspective
- Available for pre-order. Item will ship after December 22, 2021
This book surveys the practice of horse racing from antiquity to the modern period, and in this way offers a selective global history.
Unlike previous histories of horse racing, which generally make claims about the exclusiveness of modern sport and therefore diminish the importance of premodern physical contests, the contributors to this book approach racing as a deep history of diachronically comparable practices, discourses, and perceptions centered around the competitive staging of equine speed. In order to compare horse racing cultures from completely different epochs and regions, the authors respond to a series of core issues which serve as structural comparative parameters. These key issues include the spatial and architectural framework of races; their organization; victory prizes; symbolic representations of victories and victors; and the social range and identities of the participants. The evidence of these competitions is interpreted in its distinct historical contexts and with regard to specific cultural conditions that shaped the respective relationship between owners, riders, and horses on the global racetracks of pre-modernity and modernity.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of The International Journal of the History of Sport.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Towards a Global History of Horse Racing
Sinclair Bell, Christian Jaser and Christian Mann
2. Horse Races and Chariot Races in Ancient Greece: Struggling for Eternal Glory
Christian Mann und Sebastian Scharff
3. Horse Racing in Imperial Rome: Athletic Competition, Equine Performance, and Urban Spectacle
Sinclair W. Bell
4. The Emperor and His People at the Chariot Races in Byzantium
David Alan Parnell
5. Horse Racing at the Ottoman Court, 1524–1728
6. Urban Palio and Scharlach Races in Fifteenth- and Early Sixteenth-Century Italy and Germany
7. Spectacular Spanish Horses in New Spain
8. The Sport of Kingmakers: Horse Racing in Late Stuart England
9. Capitalist Horse Sense: Sports Betting and Option Trading during the English Financial Revolution, 1690–1740
10. ‘A Horse-Race is the Same All the World Over’: The Cultural Context of Horse Racing in Native North America
Sinclair W. Bell is Professor of Art History and Presidential Teaching Professor at Northern Illinois University. One of his primary areas of research is sport and spectacle in the Roman period, about which he has published numerous articles and books and which he discusses in a recent documentary, ‘Rome’s Chariot Superstar.’
Christian Jaser is Professor of Medieval History and Historical Auxiliary Sciences at the University of Klagenfurt. His research interests encompass the history of premodern sport cultures in the context of urban and courtly settings. His book on urban horse racing in fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century Italy and Germany is forthcoming.
Christian Mann is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Mannheim. His research interests include sport and spectacle in antiquity, Greek athletes as well as Roman gladiators. He is co-editor of the journals Klio and Nikephoros.