The Transit of Hermes Has Begun

Good luck to long riders Tina Boche, Peter van der Gugten, Zsolt Szabo, and David Wewetzer who have embarked with their Criollo, Haflinger, Kabardin and Karabakh horses and a stallion called Hermes on a ride across Europe organised by artist Ross Birrell. Their journey from Athens to Kassel is an artwork called The Transit of Hermes for, well, the Greek god, but also Hermes the stallion, who is a rare Greek breed called an Arravani. documenta 14 are tracking their progress:

Hermes, then, is a courier, an intermediary, an animal envoy, an angel messenger. But the destination of his message (whatever it may be) is not Kassel. Neither is Athens its point of departure. It is in the relay, in the coexistence of companions: the community of riders and horses who, through the project of the ride, embody “the movement that transports… not toward another thing or another place, but towards its own taking place.”

Good Job Renaissance Italians Revived the Horsemanship of Xenophon and Not This Guy

I was googling around for details of a Greek cavalry commander called Eumenes, who’s credited with introducing the use of pillars in training horses when I found this. As Xenophon put it, would you whip a dancer? Eumenes would.

During this siege, as he [Eumenes] perceived … that the horses would lose condition if they never used their limbs …. he caused their necks to be hoisted by pulleys fastened to the roofs of their stable, until their forefeet barely touched the ground. In this uneasy position they were excited by their grooms with blows and shouts until the struggle produced the effects of a hard ride, as they sprung about and stood almost erect on their hind legs until sweat poured off them, so that this exercise proved no bad training either for strength or speed.

From Plutarch’s Lives, sourced here.

Working Like Trojans

Some Marengo High School students wanted to do something big. Their project for humanities class had to have something to do with the ancient Greeks. …

“It was a surprise and it was a big surprise,” said teacher Bob Pomykala said.

The students wouldn’t tell Pomykala what they were up to.

“They said they had a great idea, but they wouldn’t tell me what it was,” he said.

What they did was build a giant Trojan Horse, which, according to Greek mythology was used to sneak soldiers into the city of Troy for a triumphant battle. They built it in senior Sergio Aguilar’s yard, and then moved it right in front of Marengo Community High School.

Report and photos here, at CBS Chicago. I wonder if their next project will reference the horse who carried Napoleon and who shared the school’s name?

Those curious about the true identity of the little grey Arab should download  Jill Hamilton’s excellent investigative work, Marengo, the Myth of Napoleon’s Horse, and also look forward to ‘War Horses of Letters’, Marie Phillips and Robert Hudson’s forthcoming Radio 4 exposé of the love letters that flew back and forth between Marengo and the Duke of Wellington’s handsome chestnut, Copenhagen.