Thracian horseman

Ancient Thracian divinity / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Thracian horseman (also "Thracian Rider" or "Thracian Heros") is a recurring motif depicted in reliefs of the Hellenistic and Roman periods in the Balkans—mainly Thrace, Macedonia,[1][2] Thessaly[3] and Moesia—roughly from the 3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD. Inscriptions found in Romania identify the horseman as Heros and Eros (latin transcriptions of Ἥρως) and also Herron and Eron (latin transcriptions of Ἥρων), apparently the word heros used as a proper name.[3] He is sometimes addressed in inscriptions merely as κύριος, δεσπότης or ἥρως.[4] Inscriptions from Bulgaria give the names Salenos and Pyrmerula/Pirmerula.[5]

"Thracian horseman" votive tablet with the standard iconographic elements: the rider is holding a lance in his right hand aiming at a boar attacked by a hunting dog.
Fragment from a Thracian horseman marble relief: the hunting dog attacking the boar

The Thracian horseman is depicted as a hunter on horseback, riding from left to right. Between the horse's hooves is depicted either a hunting dog or a boar. In some instances, the dog is replaced by a lion. Its depiction is in the tradition of the funerary steles of Roman cavalrymen, with the addition of syncretistic elements from Hellenistic and Paleo-Balkanic religious or mythological tradition.