Talk:Horse worship

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I get precisely one hit for the word hippolatry on Google, and that is as a proposed word:

There is evidence of horse worship in numerous ancient cultures, particularly in early Indo-European cultures. There does not, however, seem to be a word for it. The proposed "hippolatry" is.. (

This proposed word is found in between "Emetomancy - "Divination by Means of Vomit."" and "Hoplolagnia - "Sex Play Involving Guns.""

Given this, it would be wise to cite some additional sources and references. If they don't come, it is possible the article will be listed for deletion.

I have no quarrel with an article on the significance of the horse to the Celts, or with an article on horse worship generally, if we don't already have one on Wikipedia. It's the word itself that I am querying.

Telsa 16:55, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Suggesting the article might be listed for deletion is absurd. At most, it should be renamed to "Horse Worship" or "Hippo-latry" if there is no evidence for "Hippolatry" in the OED. There is no need for an AfD on this subject.--Nicodemus75 17:22, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Moved to "horse worship" and removed references to "hippolatry" in the article. The lack of any evidence for this word being in actual accepted use means that Wikipedia would effectively introducing a new word into common usage, which is not what we do. Give this one some time. I've removed the lead section though, since I felt that stating "Horse worship is the worship of horses" is insulting the intelligence of our readers somewhat. Chriscf 12:07, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

Thanks, Chris. The other thing that still concerns me is the referencing and verifiability. I see that Nicodemus imported a collection of references as I was writing my original comment (when it was still a hippolatry page). These are the references, down to the last page, from the Epona article. They were not there when I originally looked: that's why I commented on their lack. But are they really the same references for this article? Right down to pages 190-205 of one book? I ask in part because the etymology given on this page for the name Epona is not the same as that given on the Epona page. How can the same references give different etymologies? (I do see that they are related, but this page's one seems far less detailed and precise.) Some footnoting might help, perhaps. I hope the original author of the article returns and sees this discussion: s/he can help us out then! --Telsa 12:19, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

Reference relevance[edit]

I am still wondering why the reference list is cut and pasted from that on Epona right down to page numbers. Is User:Nicodemus75 still around on Wikipedia to explain? I think it is less misleading to remove them, so that we have a clearly unsourced article for now. Telsa 15:35, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

User:Nicodemus75 says Do not bother leaving any messages here. I do not read this page - THIS MEANS YOU. so, I guess not. The page is clearly a neopagan cut and paste job.

The references list is clearly bogus. I am the major contributor to the Epona page and added most of the references there. The etymology on this page is not completely correct and is unreferenced. There are numerous errors throughout. I was previously unaware of this page, and will improve it now I know about it. --Nantonos 04:59, 5 December 2005 (UTC)


Its not clear how the mediaeval Rhiannon and macha are evidence of horse worship "before Epona"! Where does the "bronze age" start date come from? --Nantonos 05:02, 5 December 2005 (UTC)


The whole bit about modern horse worship and furries doesn't belong in my view. It looks like someone's personal view and is unsourced. Who or what is Willis-Craig? Google doesn't seem to turn up anything but Wikipedia and its mirrors. I think this should probably be removed. Beorhtwulf (talk) 22:02, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

I'm with you but for now split the difference, tossing Willis-Craig but keeping the furry thing just to see if anyone who cares wants to come in and strengthen it. But if we see no action in a week or so, I won't kick if you toss the rest. Montanabw(talk) 19:13, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Looks like it has all since been removed, which is probably a good thing. Beorhtwulf (talk) 12:18, 9 March 2017 (UTC)


The following info was added under the header "Indus civilisation":

"Worship of Hayagriva is dated to the period of 2,000 BCE or earlier. The inhabitants worshiped horse for its speed, intelligence, strength.[1][2] To this day, the worship of Hayagriva exists among the followers of Hinduism.[3]"


  1. ^ T. Volker (1950). The Animal in Far Eastern Art: And Especially in the Art of the Japanese Netzsuke, with References to Chinese Origins, Traditions, Legends, and Art. BRILL. p. 102. 
  2. ^ Mārg̲, Volume 43. p. 77. Originally from = University of Michigan
  3. ^ Jagannath Cult in North - East India by Prof. Byomakesh Tripathy and Dr. Prabhas Kumar Singh

I can only read a glimpse of Volker, The Animal in Far Eastern Art at Google Books [1]; this glimpse says:

"The divine horse was identified with the sun; Hayagriva, the horse-head god, became an avatar of Vishnu."

Compare this with Gavin Flood (1996), An introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press, p.34:

"One piece of evidence that the Indus Valley people could not have been Indo-European speakers, suggests Parpola, is the absence of the horse and the chariot. Wherever Indo-Aryan cultures have been identified, horse remains have been found as well as chariots. The Aryan tribes who entered the north-west of India, argues Parpola, drove in two-wheeled war-chariots drawn by horses, terms which have Indo-European etymology. Nowhere in the Indus valley culture have the remains of horses been found, and nowhere depicted on the seals. The horse is an aryan animal and the chariot an example of a superior war technology."

Funny thing is, the same source has been used at the Hayagriva to reference Indo-Aryan origins:

"Origins about the worship of Hayagriva has been researched, some of the early evidences dates back to 2,000 BCE, when Indo-Aryan people worshiped the horse for its speed, strength, intelligence."

The exact source is "Marg, volume 43, page 77" (again, a snippet from Google Books; no example available, see [2], scroll down the page)

"The Indo-Aryans who invaded the Indus valley around 2000 BC worshipped the horse for its speed, strength, and intelligence."

So, whatever Volker may say about these "inhabitants", it's quite unlikely that the Indus Valley Civilisation, which did not have horses, worshipped horses. The inhabitants meant here seem to be the Indo-Aryans. And I'm not even sure that Volker mentions 2000 BCE. @Bladesmulti: can you help us out here?

Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 19:59, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Hmmm. "Quite unlikely" actually is a bit OR. (smiles) The thing is that if you look at domestication of the horse, it is quite clear that horse domestication preceded the invention of the chariot by well over a millennia, close to two. Further, we have cave art depicting horses (examples at Lascaux that is (I think) paleolithic and wholly pre-domestication. Thus it is perfectly possible that people worshipped horses long before the chariot arrived. So we have two things going on; Indo-Aryan invasion stuff and whatever the ancient Indus civilization believed; which both could include elements of horse worship. I suspect we may need two sentences and two sources, one for pre- and one for post- Aryan invasion? (Similar issues arise in ancient Egypt pre and post Hyksos invasion) Montanabw(talk) 20:37, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
No. The original additions were already rather "free interpretations", based on sources which I suspect were found by a simple Google-search. The IVC didn't have horses, so it's "quite unlikely" that they had "elements of horse worship", don't you think? And "post-Aryan immigration" (not "invasion") there was no IVC anymore; it disappeared around 1900 BCE. I've made a change; see the article. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 20:45, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
That works, it clarifies matters. Until someone has the time to delve into the whole topic, that snippet, as it stands, now works for me, anyway. Montanabw(talk) 00:13, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Reply by Bladesmulti: I am surprised, There was no notification. Though you had pinged. Anyways, Hayagriva has been researched, yes. And similar dates have been proposed by multiple sources. Not really "after" but "around", or Earlier. I have found another one, it says something similar.[3]
JJ or Montanabw, Same section mentioned about Uffington White horse. But it was unreffed, so added source:
Phyllis Vega (2002). Celtic Astrology: How the Mystical Power of the Druid Tree Signs Can Transform Your Life. Career Press. p. 128. ISBN 9781564145925.  Bladesmulti (talk) 05:03, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
"One of the great advances in civilization was the domestication of the horse.", Indo Aryan mentioned as conqueror and "Indus valley around 2000 BC worshipped the horse for its speed, strength, and intelligence." from Mārg̲, Volume 43 Some books are not available for all. But they can be confirmed.
Remember, each of these sources, titled the content as "Hayagriva", Rigveda regards horse as "Hayagriva", And as Incarnation of Vishnu.[4] So if they have regarded horse as "Hayagriva", and worship "Hayagriva", it is obviously the same thing as "horse". [5] It is probably inaccurate to differentiate between words like horse and Hayagriva. Instead of "Horse worship", it can be "Worship of Hayagriva".
And, the lead is outdated. It should be changed. There's pretty much POV pushing.. "pagan", really? Also the horse worship still exists. Bladesmulti (talk) 06:41, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Reply by JJ: Hi Blades, thanks for your reply! Some remarks:

  • Dates of migration: several dates are beibg used for the start of the Indo-Aryan migrations. 1500 BCE is a common date, but earlier dates are indeed mentioned too.
  • I'm surprised that you use the term "invasion"; "migration" is a better term, don't you think?
  • The Marg-source says "The Indo-Aryans who invaded the Indus valley around 2000 BC worshipped the horse for its speed, strength, and intelligence." You chop the sentence in two at the wrong place, suggesting something that's not being stated here.
  • You're reasoning about Hayagriva and and horse worship sounds vald, yet it's your conclusion.
  • The edit in the article is okay, I think.

Best regards, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:39, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

The overall article is rather weak, but I think the best approach for now is for people with expertise in specific areas to strengthen those areas, as they come together, the lead can be rewritten eventually. I am comfortable with what is there; I would not tie domestication of the horse to horse worship, as worship predated domestication by several millennia, and I also would not tie the Indo-Aryan invasion period directly to domestication, as domestication occurred at least 1500 years prior, on the Eurasian steppes (though works such as Anthony's "The Horse, The Wheel, and Language" do tie one to the other...) Montanabw(talk) 17:49, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Ah, you read Anthony? I gave it to my father, and borrowed it back from him; fascinating read, though quite detailed. Best regards, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 07:58, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Montanabw, Lets see, domestication of Horse in India dates back to 4500 BCE, "The earliest date for the domesticated horse in India is 4500 B.C. It comes from Bagor in Rajasthan" - "Educating to Confuse and Disrupt: The Defiling of History and Education System of India", page 308, from University of Michigan. And "The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate", by Edwin Francis Bryant, Oxford University.
It also includes that there are remains of Horse dating back to 2265 BCE, at Mahagara, Allahabad
Your argument was also based upon that dutch term. Right? Joshua took it further.
Obviously we use the common and more understandable terms, these books regard it to be migration. Gavin Flood is not really talking about Hayagriva, so he couldn't be used as source here. Making it simplest, like before. "Indo Aryans", nothing like "inhabitants", because they ultimately refers to India anyway. Edited article a bit now, Including the lead, fixed isbn, added pic too. Bladesmulti (talk) 09:20, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Blades, Gulik only says that the horse stood in high esteem among the Indo-Aryan,a nd that they "invaded" the Seven Rivers area about 2000 BCE. He does not say that they worshipped the horse, nor does he say that they introduced horse worship. This is WP:OR. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 12:42, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
He seems to be talking about Rigvedic verses, and titled that chapter as "Hayagriva in Hinduism".. So we would be adding like, "According to Robert Gulik, Hayagriva in Hinduism can be traced back to 2,000 BCE, when horse stood in High esteem."? Book is exclusively based on cults, worships.
Anyways, that would be Undue then. Other 2 sources regard it as worship. So you are correct. I have removed that source, but added to "References"(should be "further reading") instead. Because whole book is related to particular subject. Bladesmulti (talk) 13:45, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm mostly going to avoid this discussion, my area of knowledge is actual horse domestication, I'll leave worship to others, but will comment that JJ is correct that we need relible, neurtal sources and must avoid WP:SYNTH as well as WP:OR. Although there are claims of earlier domestication, such as the above claim of 4500 BCE, those claims are not backed by solid evidence. The earliest centers of horse domestication were circa 3500-4000 BCE in what today is Ukraine and then it spread from there. This is further backed by DNA evidence tracing Y-DNA to a very small handful of stallions at most, possibly as few as one or two. You both may find this section of the horse domestication article of interest here; people appear to have worshipped the horse before they domesticated it. Montanabw(talk) 18:11, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think we're simply going to remove it. I'm through with this topic and wasting my time on it. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 19:36, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Last edit by Montanabw had replaced a dead link again, and added back the flood's link, though that book isn't related to horse worship. I wouldn't be arguing about the domestication date of 4500 BCE, but it has been backed by the books of University California, Oxford University. Cannot be taken that lightly. Guess we are done of this. Bladesmulti (talk) 02:31, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Met in the middle, restored deleted source, kept some wording, fixed poor grammar. "Backed by the books" is meaningless unless we know which books with a full citation and the full context. Montanabw(talk) 05:16, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
I think I did. Either way, it is irrelevant here, but you can read[6] Page 170. And you left a double space in Iron Age para, I think "Notes" should be changed with "References", and "references" with "further reading" as per WP:MOSHEAD, not really urgent, can be changed anytime. Bladesmulti (talk) 13:24, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
No rule on this. I'm OK changing "notes" to "references," but rather than "further reading," the reference should be labeled "Sources" or "bibliography" to be consistent with other articles. Montanabw(talk) 02:57, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Hayagriva needs to be removed[edit]

Under Bronze Age horse worship the veneration of Hayagriva is mentioned as having featured prominently in early Indo Aryan ritual(ie Rigvedic). However this is completely false since Hayagriva only came to be mentioned in later Hindu texts which have nothing to do with the Bronze Age. The sources used are definitely unreliable and this content needs to be removed immediately! Hayagriva isn't even mentioned in the Rig Veda!Grathmy (talk) 18:58, 10 April 2015 (UTC)

Well, be bold and toss it, see if anyone complains. Montanabw(talk) 04:47, 11 April 2015 (UTC)