The lord of horses can be pictured in two ways:
- between two facing horses
- standing on the crupper of two horses set out in pair or facing back
Frequently the equines pictures are not natural, on the contrary they are drawn in a stylized or extremely bizarre way.
This iconographic scheme that represents a human figure with two horses can be interpreted in two ways:
- the first interpretation consider the human figure the representation of a god (Pòseidon Ippios)
- the second interpretation consider the human figure the representation of a tamer - horse-breaker or warrior. He wants first to show clearly his belonging to the upper-class, the only that could stand the maintenance of horses and the purchase of a panoply (complete suit of armour). In this case, the goal is not only to praise the wealth, power, strength and war virtues of the aristoi (the best) but also to remind the Homeric warrior-heroes that were often defined hippòdamoi (horse-breakers).
The second hypothesis is to be preferred, considering that all the objects with this iconographic scheme were found in graves of upper-class members together with other elements representing their status symbol: weapons, remains of carts, vases and tools for the banquet, objects in bronze, gold and silver.
When the human figure is standing on the crupper of two horses, the purpose is to highlight not only the wealth, the strength and the warrior abilities but also the deftness and cleverness in riding. Anyway, also in this case they clearly refer to the Homeric warrior-heroes that often tested their deftness.
So, the finding of objects with this iconographic scheme in male graves, highlights and praises the wealth, power and war skills that the dead used to have during his life. When these artefacts are in female graves, it means that they were of the highest rank, wives of very important figures or descendant of a well-known family, or, anyway, that unlike most of their contemporaries, they have had an important role in the society and wanted it to be remembered.
Dr. Ilaria Persichini - archaeologist - text and photos from: http://www.apunis.it/storia-piceni.asp?lang=eng ;