story begins with the Celts.
Circa 500 BC, the
Celts started their Westward migration which took them
from Eastern Europe - the Danube Basin - through what is
now Germany, Switzerland and France to England and Ireland.
The Celts were pre-literate and so didn't record their history
and we owe it mainly to the Greeks and Roman for information
about them.The Celts which controlled the area in Central
Europe and France were called the Gauls and they spread
into Spain and into Italy, and even sacked Rome in 390BC.
However, the Gauls were pushed back by the Romans by 300BC
as they built up their empire.
Celts were superb horsemen; and have been credited even
for inventing the chariot which made them forminable warriors.
So it is no surprise to learn that they venerated the
horse and worshipped a horse goddess. In Gaul and Britain
this goddess was called Epona,
in Ireland Macha and in Wales Rhiannon. This worship of
the horse also made them vunerable. When the Gaul Versingetorix
made his last stand against the Roman army he sent his
horses to the rear, rather than risk their slaughter,
and faced his enemies on foot.
Roman cavalry adopted Epona as their own goddess.
time the Romans as a whole accepted Epona and shrines
were created in stables throughout the Empire. Interestingly,
Epona worship didn't spread outside the Empire.
is generally depicted riding side saddle in a sideways
seat or chair, wearing a long garment thet reaches to
her feet and which is gathered under her breasts. A cloak
may be billowing around her head.
Uffington White Horse.
Most archaelogists and historians believe the Celts
migrated into Britain about 200BC bringing with them their
worship of Epona and her white horse. However, horse worship
seems to have been established in Britain well before
the arrival of the Celts - if this date is correct - as
the downland figure in Berkshire called the Uffington
Horse has been dated by Oxford archaeologists to circa
600-1400 BC. It is a stylised horse figure 365 feet long
wih a large eye, cut into the chalk. It is an amazing
piece of Bronze Age art. However, it looks very different
to the images of Epona's white mare associated with her
effigies recovered from Roman stables and elsewhere. Some
running horse at Uffington is not a horse at all but
a dragon. So speculation on its origin and meaning continues
White Horse Project.
have looked after the white horse over the last 3000 years,
this Project has established the figure needs scouring
every seven years, that is to say removing grass and shrubs
obscuring the chalk and edging the outline.The
white horse was the standard of the Anglo Saxons.
Follow this link formore information
Chesterton's Poem about the White Horse.
"Before the gods that made the gods
Had seen their sunrise pass
The White Horse of the White
Was cut out of grass"
Vale of the White Horse - Riding School, Livery Yard
and Saddlery Shop.
Horse Pub - the UK in the USA
Horse Equine Ethology Project
are the Language of the Soul - White Horse Dreams
of White Horse District Council
Horse Coffee & Tea
Horses - a whitehorse.com
Horse Inn, Chilgrove, West Sussex
White Horse 2]
Horse 1 ] [White Horse 2]
[White Horse 3] [White
Horse 4] [White Horse 5]
Veterinary Advice] [Horse
above row of links go to the Frameset Index for each section