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Friday, June 13, 2014


A República
Photo from Eduardo Amorim
stirrups. While on a diplomatic mission in Cordoba, Arias, Abbott of San Justo, Ambassador of Ramiro II of Leon (900-951) and the Queen Mother Elvira, was given a “chair” (saddle) with stirrups by Al-Hakam, the caliph, which were commonly used by Muslims in Al-Andalus. 

There was resistance to stirrups as one can be entangled in them if the horse or the rider falls but the rider could endure riding a horse for much longer periods of time. As a result, they came into use in the Leon and Castile during the latter third of the 10C.

Stirrups lead to fast food. To save time, Henry IV of Castile, 1424-1474, always had sausages and cheese in his saddlebags to munch as he rode. 

Washington Irving relates in his book The Alhambra that he ate cheese and drank wine while in the saddle on his trip to Granada. [Sánchez-Albornoz. 2000:143-144:ftn 18]
Baphomet Boda Bag
By True-Craft Online Gallery
Who Moved My Cheese?
Photo from: Irene Liebler 


  1. Linda Malcor
    Writing and Editing Professional

    Ah, stirrups . . . I doubt that argument will ever end in my lifetime. Take a look at the art depicting steppe nomads. Those straps around their feet had nothing to do with how they tied their boots. Those are leather stirrups. They were clearly in use during Roman times, and I know of at least 5,500 Sarmatian cavalry who were stationed in Britain in the late second century C.E., so the introduction of the stirrup into Britain was a lot earlier than has generally been accepted. I remember seeing a display by Victor Mair in the Tocharian Mummy exhibit in which he had chased those leather stirrups back to at least 7,000 B.C.E. I still have fond memories of the day we started tearing art books off the shelves in UCLA's Classics Library when the topic had come up during a reception after a talk he had given. The people who argue for the development of the stirrup in the 8th century C.E. will probably always think we are crazy, but I'm a big fan of art. Oh, well. What would scholarship be if we all agreed on everything?

    1. The history of the stirrup could be another example of how Roman contributions in Europe and Spain in particuar were forgotten and then brought back by the Moors in Andalusia as in the case of aspargus and other food items.