WHITE HORSE - 1

Revered since the dawn of time, for both its beauty and religious symbolism, the white horse has been at the centre of world events from biblical times, to the 20th Century. Here we introduce you to the World of the White Horse, with its mystery, mysticism, imagery and history.



The White Horse at Uffington, Berkshire


THE GODDESS EPONA AND HER WHITE MARE
Worshipped by both Celt and Roman.



Our 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.

The 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.

The Roman cavalry adopted Epona as their own goddess.

Over 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.

Epona 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.

The 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 White 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 say this running horse at Uffington is not a horse at all but a dragon. So speculation on its origin and meaning continues apace.

The 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

G.K. 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 Horse Vale
Was cut out of grass"

White Horse Links
Asti-Equestrian, Vale of the White Horse - Riding School, Livery Yard and Saddlery Shop.
White Horse Pub - the UK in the USA
White Horse Equine Ethology Project
Dreams are the Language of the Soul - White Horse Dreams
Vale of White Horse District Council
Whitehorse Inn
White Horse Tavern,
White Horse Coffee & Tea
Arabian Horses - a whitehorse.com
Uffington White Horse
White Horse Inn, Chilgrove, West Sussex

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