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 En araber om araberen 
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Tilmeldt: tirs 22. nov 2005 00:24
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Original by Delacroix is 74X60 cm Paris, musee de petit palais.
3x2 m from the original by Slava the movement is exact but the horses were changed to Aviador and Jabali
Billede under "forskelligt"

The Combat of the Giaour and Hassan
Poem by Lord Byron in 1813 inspired Delacroix in 1826 to paint three panels 70X60 cm each, this took place during the Greek liberation wars. This Painting was explained in the light of the literary emotions that the poem The Giaour Expressed.
From the equestrian perspective, I believe that Delacroix expressed through this mortal combat the Hug of Fursan, through his knowledge of horsemanship and weapons, his understanding of the orient and his mastership in painting horses in excellent proportions. He was able to create the expressions of both riders and horses beyond their shapes.
It is clear from the painting (The original) that both horses are Arabians And that Giaour is an Albanian as implied from his attire and not a Venetian as it is believed. At any rate, the poem moved Delacroix to create and he painted something that he most possibly actually saw at some point in time and kept in memory.
The Knights Hug (Enag El Fursan) is an old expression in the Arabic language; it is a moment of equilibrium between two Fursan and their horses and weapons while engaged in a mortal combat.
In this type of conflict and at this high level of capability the unity between the rider, the horse and the weapon is complete and total, further more this unity needs to flow with nature in a circular movement that starts with the energy flowing from earth to and through the horse’s hoofs into the riders body to the blade of the weapon and into the air back to earth, each time this circle completes itself, it adds to the sensitivity and unity to the point where the horse, rider and weapon unites not only together but melts in nature. The resulting balance is superb and the accumulated power is supernatural.

Now Giaour (Jor) and Hassan (Pasha) are locked into that equilibrium where the Pasha moves to hit Jor with his dagger in the neck, Jor blocked this move with his left arm and moves to thrust his yatagan into the pasha’s stomach but the pasha blocks the thrust by extending his left arm to prevent Jor shoulder from moving to deliver the thrust, now both men are locked equally, the tips of their weapons are equally apart from the targeted points. Equilibrium between Fursan and equilibrium between the weapons took place at that moment; the third element now becomes the key to life or death.
The pasha in an exaggerated move by letting his left foot out of the stirrup and pushing against his horse’s hind, is telling his horse that this is a moment of life and death and he needs to give all his energy to move laterally against Jor’s horse and bring him down to the ground and if not then he will not be around to see him anymore, so his horse move and bites Jor’s horse and started driving him off balance moving latterly to the right.
Jor in response to this move and in the same level of exaggeration pushes both stirrups into his horses belly giving the same kind of urgent notion for his horse to move forward no matter what, or it is goodbye. We can see Jor’s horse struggling to fulfill his companion’s request and manages to get his left leg over. Is he going to be able to leap forward and save Jor as his yatagan will fall where it is intended, or the pasha’s horse will manage to throw him back and saves the pasha by opening the way to Jor’s neck.
The moment will pass and something will snap, the horses decide.
In this story, it was Giaour that lived. His horse made the leap.
This is what Ancient Arabian War horses were about. Staying with you, thinking with you and moving with your thoughts and defending you with all that they have. Luckily these qualities are still around living inside these special creatures.

History and Myth

Historical records on the subject of the Arabian horse origins are scarce. Still there is enough evidence to point to the Northern Syrian area as the first known breading grounds for the Arabian horse. From the times of ancient Egypt to the Sassanians this area supplied horses of war. The Arabian horse did not arrive into Arabia and Southern Arabia (Yemen) until shortly before Islam.

Myth contradicts historical knowledge by claiming the origin of the Arabian horse from South of Arabia (Yemen.) The wind starts howling declaring a major storm and it was a south wind, it took the earth and mixed it with the sky and kept on growing stronger and going faster, until a shape started developing in the sky and took the form of a horse and as the storm grew as the form became material, the shape descended on earth and started galloping with the wind racing it until it went faster and left the storm behind, then the wind dies down and the first Arabian mare (FARAS) was galloping on earth.

Horse movement

A notable characteristic of Islamic history until the start of the Ottoman Empire was the tendency of some major dynasties to rule several regions at once, or to migrate willingly or otherwise, from one region to another. This is why it often makes more sense to study armies on a dynastic rather than on a geographical basis.
Also for that reason, as horses moved geographically with dynasties and armies, the tracing of the Arabian horse is easier done through lineage than geography.


Furusiyya as a military system dates back to the late antiquity period and was shaped in the early Umayyad period to become an elite force. From then onward, the core of Fursan had three thousand active Faris in it. One thousand were kept as personal guards to the ruler and the other two thousand were sent to carry out their military duty in different areas of the Empire. The Fursan were professional officers that formed the nucleus of the army. Each one of them lead forty soldiers into battle whether cavalry or infantry. These soldiers were gathered from local and tribal forces and only in extreme conditions this number was doubled to eighty. One thousand of these officers would raise an army of forty thousand in normal circumstances or an army of eighty thousand in exceptional circumstances.
These officers were capable of taking care of the logistic needs of their unit and of leading it into battle following a set strategy. Each unit under the instruction of its officer develops its own tactics and makes changes on the ground as it sees fit. This was an essential concept for the cavalry force. Speed, light weight and agility of the ancient Arabian war horse made a formidable force of the light cavalry of that time.

The Making of Fursan

The training program for a Faris took seven years to complete after which two years of active duty was required before a Faris was initiated. Young children between the ages of seven and nine were practically given away by their families to be trained in the Fursan system and only a few were accepted. The first five years of training included physical training, swimming, riding and the study of philosophy and sciences. Training was done on foot and horseback for the use and mastery of seven different weapons. During the sixth year archery was introduced using the bow only without the arrows as the eighth weapon. At the beginning of the last and seventh year of training an important test was given to the trainees; they were given five arrows to shoot at targets approximately fifty yards away (fifty bows length) and were allowed only two misses. The ones that do not pass this test were exempted from the Fursan system but could still join the military or other normal auxiliary forces. The reason for that was explained that archery comes from the heart and this natural ability is essential for Furusiyya.
After passing the seventh year and the two years of field service a Faris was made.

Horse training

It used to take three years to train a war horse on the same weapons and tactics the riders use. While it takes about ten thousand times of practicing a certain move for humans to develop the balance and the automatic response for that particular move, it takes Arabian horses less than a hundred times to do the same. The ancient war horses used to differentiate weapons as they see them and change their sensitivity accordingly; for when a lance is used at high speeds the horse becomes sensitive to signs from the riders legs for directional control and will not respond to signs on the bit. In contrast, when a sword is used the same horse identifies the weapon and becomes very sensitive to signs on the bit and will follow the blade direction even at the full gallop. If at a distance of no more than ten meters before the target the blade is shifted from the right side to the left the horse will move with the blade to give the rider the target on the left side. This is only an example of the purpose of this type of horse training.

Some horses today maintained genetically a sense from the ancient life they used to live, an example from experience, I have noted that most of the Arabians that I had did not accept an approach from other horses from their left hind quarter and maneuvered to change that orientation. I found out later that this was part of the basic horse training as the left hind is the most vulnerable for the rider as it is the most difficult to protect. It is interesting to note that this type of horse training was limited to few about three hundred years ago, and most possibly was not in existence two hundred years ago.


Jeg er ingen engel, men jeg har basket en del med vingerne.

fre 3. okt 2008 17:19
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