Military Horse Prepped To Rescue Victims Of Pompeii Found In Its Stable

Published January 18, 2019

The horse was found in full saddle suggesting that it was being prepped to rescue those fleeing the volcanic eruption.

Pompeii Horse

Cesare Abbate/ANSA Via APThe remains of a military official’s horse, discovered in Pompeii. Dec. 23, 2018.

Awe-inspiring discoveries at the Pompeii archaeological site keep coming with the recent uncovering of a highly well-preserved horse — still harnessed and in its stable. The animal was killed in a flash when the nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D.

The horse was found lying in its stable in the Villa of the Mysteries, a luxurious ancient homestead in a Pompeii suburb that overlooks the sea and once belonged to a high-ranking Roman military official. The estate was originally dug up early in the 1900s but has since fallen victim to burglary (though officials hope it can be restored and reopened to the public).

Horses Inside The Stables

Cesare Abbate/ANSA Via APThe bodies of several horses side-by-side in their stables.

Massimo Osanna, the director of the archaeological site, reported that they believe the horse to have belonged to that high-ranking military official. The horse was saddled up in a harness of wooden and bronze trimmings and archaeologists believe that the animal was being prepared to help rescue fleeing Pompeians from the eruption.

Additionally, the horse is believed to have been well-groomed and outfitted in rich metals. It was found alongside several other horses who also perished violently right there in the stables as a result of the eruption.

The horses would have died via suffocation under the ash or boiled from the inside out due to the extreme temperatures of the surrounding volcanic vapor.

Horse Skeleton At Pompeii

Cesare Abbate/ANSA Via APA skeleton of a military horse.

The horses and stables are but one of many treasures recently uncovered in Pompeii.

Last year, the discoveries at Pompeii included an ancient erotic fresco, a gilded shrine, and a graffitied inscription in an unfinished building that suggests a different date for the eruption than previously thought.

Researchers also came to the gruesome realization last year that the excruciating temperatures from Mount Vesuvius must have boiled the blood and exploded the brains of many of its victims, as evidenced by consistent cracks in the tops of victims’ skulls.

Next up, check out this gallery of Pompeii’s bodies frozen in time Then, check out the discovery of this 40,000-year-old foal found perfectly preserved in the Siberian permafrost.

Leah Silverman
A former associate editor for All That's Interesting, Leah Silverman holds a Master's in Fine Arts from Columbia University's Creative Writing Program and her work has appeared in Catapult, Town & Country, Women's Health, and Publishers Weekly.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Silverman, Leah. "Military Horse Prepped To Rescue Victims Of Pompeii Found In Its Stable.", January 18, 2019, Accessed June 16, 2024.