Macedonians were the first to use spurs
The function of spurs was originally the opposite of the modern one. They were used as brakes, not gas. If the horse quickened its pace, the rider began to dangle on its back and hurt it with spurs.
This forced the horses to carry their riders with the utmost care.
Spurs gained a noticeable spread only after the invention of stirrups, and remained a sign of mainly heavy cavalry.
The emergence of spurs
Spurs ancient samples of spurs:
1-Celtic spurs of the first century BC.
2-German spurs of the I-II centuries ad.
3-Roman spurs of the III-IV centuries ad.
4-old Russian spurs of the XI-XII centuries.
5-medieval spurs of the XV century.
The first horsemen at the turn of the IV-III millennia BC were herdsmen of ancient tribes of the southern Dnieper region, engaged in horse breeding. Approximately at the same time, in the IV-III millennia BC, the oldest wheeled carts appeared. And a little later, in the second Millennium BC, military chariots with horses of the ancient Hittites, Egyptians, and Assyrians, rushing like the wind, terrified their enemies. Since the middle of the same Millennium, the horse has served not only the shepherd-herdsman, traveler or messenger-the horse was saddled by a warrior. Since then, mobile and fast cavalry has repeatedly decided the fate of battles and wars.
Unlike stirrups spurs are a purely European invention
Spurs in Asia and Africa, they became known with the arrival of European colonizers there. Priority in opening spurs belongs to the ancient Illyrian population of the Balkan Peninsula. It is here, on the Adriatic, in the burial of a horseman in a mound of the V century BC in Brezje (Slovenia) found the oldest samples of spurs. The appearance of spurs in this area of Europe is not accidental. The magnificent horses of the Veneti, one of the Illyrian tribes that lived on the Northern Adriatic coast, were famous far beyond their land; the Veneti horses were exported to Sparta and the island of Sicily. Usually spurs were made of iron or bronze, but the most noble and rich people, from among whom they recruited heavily armed cavalry, wore silver and even gold spurs.
A huge role in the widespread spread of spurs was played by the Celts – an ancient people who first lived to the Northwest of the Alps and settled in the V-1 centuries BC on the territory of modern Western Europe. In the process of settling the Celts in Europe, the custom of using spurs from them was adopted by the Germans, Iberians, and ancestors of the Slavs.
In the XIII century, the prototype of modern wheel spurs – spurs with an asterisk-was born, and at the beginning of the XIV century, the old spurs finally gave way to this progressive innovation. Spurs were made mainly by forging and were relatively rarely cast. When decorating the outer parts of the spurs, spot inlay with copper, silver or gold was used.the most precious samples are real works of artistic craft. In the East, the Mongols, Arabs, Turks, and other peoples did not use spurs even in the Middle ages. Driving a horse, the Eastern riders made do with a whip. The Eastern Slavs, who took over from their southern neighbors – the nomads – the Eastern manner of managing a horse, spurs were not in use for a long time.
In Russia, spurs were used in the XI century. 280 spurs were found during the excavations of the small old Russian city of Izyaslavl in Volhynia, which died in 1241 during the Mongol-Tatar invasion. Russia did not limit itself to borrowing European types of spurs, it contributed to the improvement of their design. So, in the old Russian lands in the first half of the XIII century for the first time in Europe appeared wheel spurs and called them “ostrogi”, which means a sharp, stabbing object. As a result of Peter 1’s military reforms, the modern term spurs, which comes from German, has taken root in the Russian language since the beginning of the XVIII century.
In the XIV-XVII centuries, spurs in Russia are used less often, since Russian soldiers rode on short stirrups and freely turned in all directions in the saddle. But the significance of spurs as a symbol of nobility and nobility continues to be preserved. The Grand Dukes of Moscow awarded noblemen with Golden spurs as a sign of appreciation and respect for their services.those who were awarded this honor were called “knights of zloty spurs”. It is interesting that in Italy in the XVIII century there was an order of the Golden Spur. Miniature gold spurs are still awarded to honorary members of the Mexican equestrian club. In Russia, the role of spurs in the life of the army increased in the XVIII century, when regiments of regular cavalry were formed, trained in European horse riding. Hussars and cavalry guards, cuirassiers and lancers rang their spurs, but the Cossacks, who were irregular cavalry, still used the whip instead of spurs. In Russia, spurs were supposed to be worn in the XVIII-early XX century, not only by the military, but also by the highest court ranks: Chamberlain, stallmaster, jegermeister, etc.