Hodowla i handel końmi w Polsce XVI w.
HORSE BREEDING AND TRADE IN POLAND DURING THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY
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Horses and their breeding were part of the Polish gentry tradition. In time, they became included into national customs, hence the term eques Polonus. In sixteenth-century Poland use was made of many types of horses of assorted provenance, mainly in transport and wartime. Due to its distinctly cavalry nature the Polish army relied on a great number of horses. Renaissance-era transformations in the Polish economy of the early modern era inclined the gentry towards increased interest not only in the horse trade but also in breeding. Textbooks translated from foreign languages came to the aid of the Polish noblemen; several works were also written at home. The rulers always enjoyed the greatest possibilities, and thus achievements, in horse breeding. The largest stud farms were situated along the eastern borders of the Polish state, where breeding was facilitated by geographical conditions. Furthermore, the most important routes along which horses were driven for the purposes of trade ran across Ruthenia and Little Poland. The significance of this branch of the economy was testified by the fact that sometimes the ruler forbade horse trade with a neighbouring state, which resulted in the closure of the frontiers. Horses used in the army were subjected to a careful selection followed by appropriate training. Local literature could boast certain achievements in the field of specialist textbooks, to mention the works of K. Dorohostajski or K. Pieniążek, who concentrated mainly on descriptions of the stables, breeding and training. The prices of horses in sixteenth-century Poland oscillated from 10–40 florins, although in certain cases a single horse was considered worth more than a thousand florins.
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