Shows how, in pre-industrial England, horses were bred and trained, what they ate, how much they were worth, how long they lived, and what their owners thought of them. While they were named individually, and sometimes became favourites, many were worked hard and poorly treated, leading to their early deaths.
Through a study of horses, the book reveals how an important and growing aristocratic estate was managed, where the aristocrat at the centre of it - William Cavendish - travelled and how he spent his time, and how horses were oneof the means by which he asserted his social status.
In this study of the relationship between men and their horses in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England, Monica Mattfeld explores the experience of horsemanship and how it defined one’s gendered and political positions within society. Men of the period used horses to transform themselves, via the image of the centaur, into something other—something powerful, awe-inspiring, and mythical. Focusing on the manuals, memoirs, satires, images, and ephemera produced by some of the period’s most influential equestrians, Mattfeld examines how the concepts and practices of horse husbandry evolved in relation to social, cultural, and political life. She looks closely at the role of horses in the world of Thomas Hobbes and William Cavendish; the changes in human social behavior and horse handling ushered in by elite riding houses such as Angelo’s Academy and Mr. Carter’s; and the public perception of equestrian endeavors, from performances at places such as Astley’s Amphitheatre to the satire of Henry William Bunbury. Throughout, Mattfeld shows how horses aided the performance of idealized masculinity among communities of riders, in turn influencing how men were perceived in regard to status, reputation, and gender. Drawing on human-animal studies, gender studies, and historical studies, Becoming Centaur offers a new account of masculinity that reaches beyond anthropocentrism to consider the role of animals in shaping man.
In spite of the importance of horses to Western society until comparatively recent times, scholars have paid very little attention to them. This volume helps to redress the balance, emphasizing their iconic appeal as well as their utilitarian functions.
An extended study of gender and crime in early modern England. It considers the ways in which criminal behaviour and perceptions of criminality were informed by ideas about gender and order, and explores their practical consequences for the men and women who were brought before the criminal courts. Dr Walker's innovative approach demonstrates that, contrary to received opinion, the law was often structured so as to make the treatment of women and men before the courts incommensurable. For the first time, early modern criminality is explored in terms of masculinity as well as femininity. Illuminating the interactions between gender and other categories such as class and civil war have implications not merely for the historiography of crime but for the social history of early modern England as a whole. This study therefore goes beyond conventional studies, and challenges hitherto accepted views of social interaction in the period.
This book digs deep into English Renaissance culture to interrogate representations of horses in the period: it is argues that, ultimately, the horse was a byword for the subjugated and repressed: to be metaphorically like a horse in early modern England is to be bridled, tamed, and curbed.
Horses played a major role in the military, economic, social and cultural history of early-modern England. This book uses the supply of horses to parliamentary armies during the English Civil War to make two related points. Firstly it shows how control of resources - although vital to success - is contingent upon a variety of logistical and political considerations. It then demonstrates how competition for resources and construction of individuals’ identities and allegiances fed into each other. Resources, such as horses, did not automatically flow out of areas which were nominally under Parliament’s control. Parliament had to construct administrative systems and make them work. This was not easy when only a minority of the population actively supported either side and property rights had to be negotiated, so the success of these negotiations was never a foregone conclusion. The study also demonstrates how competition for resources and construction of identities fed into each other. It argues that allegiance was not a fixed underlying condition, but was something external and changeable. Actions were more important than thoughts and to secure victory, both sides needed people to do things rather than feel vaguely sympathetic. Furthermore, identities were not always self-fashioned but could be imposed on people against their will, making them liable to disarmament, sequestration, fines or imprisonment. More than simply a book about resources and logistics, this study poses fundamental questions of identity construction, showing how culture and reality influence each other. Through an exploration of Parliament’s interaction with local communities and individuals, it reveals fascinating intersections between military necessity and issues of gender, patriarchy, religion, bureaucracy, nationalism and allegiance.
This volume fills an important gap in the analysis of early modern history and culture by reintroducing scholars to the significance of the horse. A more complete understanding of the role of horses and horsemanship is absolutely crucial to our understanding of the early modern world. Each essay in the collection provides a snapshot of how horse culture and the broader culture - that tapestry of images, objects, structures, sounds, gestures, texts, and ideas - articulate. Without knowledge of how the horse figured in all these aspects, no version of political, material, or intellectual culture in the period can be entirely accurate.