Equine Rations of Bread and Wine at Persepolis

Potts, Daniel. 2023. ‘Pain et vin:’ Equine Rations of Bread and Wine at Persepolis in their Broader Historical Context. Cheiron 3/1: 25-47.

In the early fifth century BC rations of bread and wine were issued to small numbers of horses at Persepolis, the Achaemenid Persian capital located in what is today the southwest Iranian province of Fars. Although considered puzzling by many students of ancient Persian history, ample evidence exists in the historical and equine veterinary literature of mediaeval through early twentieth century date attesting to the widespread practice of giving bread and wine to horses for both nutritional and therapeutic reasons. This evidence is reviewed in order to contextualize the Persepolis evidence within the broader framework of equine management across space and time.