Kari Lawe: The Neapolitan horse. The history of the horse that became symbol of a kingdom


In 1472 king Ferrante of Naples minted for the first time a copper coin, Il cavallo,  showing a horse on the reverse and a portrait of himself on the obverse.


Poverty, corruption and crime are  too many people  the first thing to think about  when they  hear  the South of Italy mentioned. Very few  will  instead  think of a splended kingdom  where  rulers such as the Normanns, the Hohenstaufen, the Anjou, the Aragon , the Habsburg and the Bourbon, during centuries replaced each other as papal  vassals and  competed in the creation of a metropol  for art,  courtly culture and science which in turn came to exert influence,  not only on  states on the Italian peninsula, but on  the whole of Europé.  Even  fewer associate South of Italy  with horsebreeding  and has a grip on that the South  untill  the   fall of the kingdom in the 1860s,  was counted as the  most horse-dense  region on the peninsola.,  known for the Neapolitan horse, praised  at the European courts for  its strength, its high beautiful step –  the Spanish step -     and for its noble  exterior, where especially the high neck and the magnificent head with its roman nose,  imposed.
Andreas Nunzer 1729

The purpose of my project  is to follow the Neapolitan horse through the centuries  and  to investigate  partly  whitch factors made it to one of the moat  demanded horses at the European courts from the middle of the 15 th century  untill the middle of the 18th century, partly why it then almost totaly  dissapered  with a possible exeption  for a small rest in Puglia, since the  1920s  knowned  as Murgese horses, and for  two past-breeding project  which by means of  selected lines of the Murgese- and  Lipizzaner horses are trying to bring back in the world  the old  war and court horse of  the  Renissance and Baroque times.

In my project I will even investigste the more symbolic function of the horse in the kingdom,  for exemple as tribute paid by the kings of Naples as vassals to the pope, or as  a coin  minted by king Ferrante from 1472 onwards. My project  should be sen as a culture-historical  study concerning the South of Italy and with focus  in its famous horsebreed.

                 corsiero napoletano                               Murgese stallion


To study a horsebreed  from a cultural-historical perspektive is so far to be regarded  as a noveltry in the historical research,  and that in spite of that the horse  have  been of fundamental  significans  för the  bilding of the human civilization ever since the horse was domesticated  for about 7000 years ago.


The fist Machina 1763