|British Museum number||91908|
|Description||Flat fired clay perforated plaque showing in low moulded relief a heavily armoured horseman|
(cataphract) wearing scale or lamellar armour and a "coal skuttle" helmet, spearing a lion.
|Culture/period||Seleucid or Parthian|
|Dimensions||Width: 19 centimetres|
|Height: 15.2 centimetres|
|Thickness: 2.3 centimetres|
The armour indicates that he belongs to a type of warrior known as a cataphract although it is surprising to see this being used in a hunting scene such as this. The holes may have been to enable attachment to a wooden coffin. Nicolle (1996: 8-9) refers to the horse having a substantial curb bit with large cheek pieces, and the warrior wearing a hat over his helmet as a typically Iranian and Central Asian practice, with a mail aventail hanging below, and a Central Asian-type sleeveless lamellar shirt. Sekunda proposes that the armour is scale rather than lamellar, and that it is late Seleucid or early Parthian in date.
There is a pair of holes at the top which appear to be original. At some point the object broke into two as there is a repaired crack extending diagonally from the top left to the centre bottom and the two pieces joined by using wire attached through two pairs of small holes, one on each side at the top and bottom of the crack.
|Curtis & Tallis 2012 115||Curtis, John E; Tallis, Nigel, The Horse from Arabia to Ascot, London, BMP, 2012|
|Ghirshman R 1962a p.106, fig.122||Ghirshman, Roman, Iran: Parthians and Sassanians, 3, London, Thames and Hudson, 1962|
|Messina V 2007a p.193, cat.116||Messina, Vito (ed.), Sulla via di Alessandro da Seleucia al Gandhara, Torino, Silvana Editoriale for the Palazzo Madama, Torino, 2007|
|Simpson 1997c p.244||Simpson, St John, Review: David Nicolle, 'Sassanian armies: the Iranian empire, early 3rd to mid 7th centuries AD', Antiquity, 71, 271 (March), 1997|
|Sekunda N 1994a p.76||Sekunda, Nick, The Seleucid Army, Stockport, Montvert, 1994|
|Nicolle D & McBride A 1996a pp.8-9, fig. 2E||Nicolle, David; McBride, Angus, Sassanian armies : the Iranian empire early 3rd to mid-7th centuries AD, Stockport, Montvert, 1996|
Referenced as figure 48 in The military technology of classical Islam by D Nicolle
48. Plaque, undated Parthian, British Museum no.91908, London (Maz).