A horse with wings of prehistory

A few days ago the Diari de Tarragona published the following news:

"Exceptional" archaeological finding in the Cova de la Font Major de l'Espluga de Francolí. This Friday has been announced the discovery of a Paleolithic sanctuary composed of more than a hundred engravings from about 15,000 years ago, the oldest discovered so far in Catalonia.

It was only a few days after the flooding of October 22 when a team from the Catalan Institute of Human Paleocology and Social Evolution (IPHES), and one from the Research Group of the Seminary of Protohistory and Archeology (GRESIPIA) of the URV, began a new intervention to the cave to assess the archaeological potential. "We did not know if there was room for findings, and we made a fortuitous, extraordinary and unexpected discovery. It was something we were not looking for, admitted Josep Maria Vergès, author of the discovery and director of the research project on the Cave of the Font Major.

On October 30, the researchers located more than a hundred engravings from about 15,000 years ago that constitute the first Catalan Paleolithic sanctuary with representations of figurative and abstract parietal rock art. The set that was discovered on the walls corresponds exclusively to engravings, a quarantine of which are representations of animals, such as deer, horses and oxen, and the rest abstract signatures and symbols. Experts attribute them to the Upper Palaeolithic, specifically in the Magdalenian period, although there are some that may be somewhat older and others that are related to the Neolithic and more recent stages.

The sanctuary discovered in l'Espluga is considered a milestone in the history of archeology in Catalonia and, both for the number and the quality of the representations, it is one of the four most significant sets of the so-called Mediterranean paleolithic province. "In the context of Catalonia and the northeast of the peninsula, it is exceptional, there is nothing like it," Vergès said. In addition, the author of the finding has valued the fact that the sanctuary was even larger than what has been found, but that many engravings have been erased by human action. And it is that the cavity had been a very busy point on adventure routes before museumizing it and many visitors, unaware of its existence, touched the walls and even filled them with graffiti.

However, in most of the reviews of the means of communication the following photo was published, which in itself denotes a particular interest:

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Here we see a horse with what look like two wings, or an M, or two flames. On the left we see these “wings” again, but made with a better stroke. The horse is realistic, but the wings are schematic. Some say that this symbol (be it wings, an M or two flames) was added later, because it is very marked, although we must bear in mind that the nose of the horse is also very marked.

Let's see two more images of these engravings inside the cave: 

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In the first one we see very simplified and stylized figures. In the second, a series of symbols that, due to their shape, might resemble those in the Pedra de l’Home of the Savassona forest (Tavèrnoles):

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Perhaps this engraving (the wings) is later than the horse's? Anyway, it would be very old, and maybe it would be related to those represented in the Savassona forest. In this regard, see the article Brujería y tradición. El “bosque mágico” de Savassona.

Now let's focus on the symbolism of the wings (if they really are wings) on the horse represented in the cave of Font Major. It is well known that the winged horse characterizes Pegasus, a figure from Greek mythology asterized in the sky in the constellation of Pegasus. In the Iberian Peninsula the winged horse was the most characteristic symbol of the Greek colony of Ampurias, to the point of being repeatedly represented in the coins minted in that city.


Greek drachma of Ampurias.

Note the similarity between the horse of the cave of the Font Major, in Tarragona, and that of the Greek drachma of Ampurias, in Girona.

But as we have said, the Pegasus horse was already represented by the Sumerians on their map of the heavens, to allude to the place of origin of the gods, the Iku. In my book Ecos de la Atlántida I write the following:

IKU is the name of the Sumerian celestial constellation allusive to the horse (now Pegasus), and is represented, in a Babylonian seal, as a grid remotely similar to the scheme described by Plato in his Atlantis (concentric channels, a central place, and other channels that connect the center with the corners). Some authors, cited by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend, consider that IKU is the paradise of the Mesopotamians. In a Babylonian drawing we see it surrounded by the sea, so we have to consider that IKU is an island. This box, surrounded by fish (an island?), Is found in the Dendera zodiac (although here the island becomes a lake), as well as in some signs throughout the world, such as in Sumatra and America.

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Right, constellation Pegasus. Center, the "primordial island" of the Egyptians (represented by a pool surrounded by fish). Left, the Sumerian Iku, next to a winged bull.

Interestingly, as we have seen, the two wings of the horse could represent stylized flames. The Egyptians, perhaps by chance, called their primordial island the "Island of the two flames", of which I write in Ecos de la Atlántida:

This mythical place, located in the East, which appears in the funerary literature of the Pyramid Texts, is connected to the myth of the creation of the world, being the place where the Sun (Horus) defeats its enemies (Seth), and subsequently dissipates the darkness of the Nun with its two flames (the Sun and the Moon). In the cosmogony of Hermopolis (see below) it is the place where the solar god appears on the "primordial mountain", surrounded by the Nun. Be that as it may, the Hermopolitan myth is a staging of the first. And in this Ra and the ancestors are born here, on an island "of fire" (or of flames), located in the East. If we go beyond its allegorical meaning, everything indicates that this "primordial island" had volcanoes (Indonesia has them).

Yes, I know, here I have extrapolated the horse from the cave of Font Major, representative - supposedly - of a winged horse, to the constellation of Pegasus, which for the ancients represented an island, surrounded by the sea, which would be the place of birth of the gods. And that is a lot to suppose (and speculate). It is what is usually called "a very long tail for a very small dog".

But let's not lose sight of the possible characterization of that winged horse - if it is - as a constellation. In Lascaux, France, we find a bull representing - in that there is consensus - the constellation of Taurus.

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Lascaux. An uro (or bull), with the Pleiades on the right (1) and the Orion Belt on the left (3), with four stars instead of three.

That would imply that since the Paleolithic, in particular, since the Magdalenian period, certain signs of the zodiac expressed as animals would have endured (this gave rise to the term zoo-diaco). In the case of Lascaux's bull, that seems obvious; Could it also be the case of the Font Major winged horse?

The comparative analysis of universal mythology has allowed us to identify more concomitances in different mythological corpus in terms of the configuration of their respective zodiacs. Here are some examples, extracted, again, from my book Ecos de la Atlántida:

Here we are faced with the first surprise, because there is the circumstance that both Canis Maioris and Scorpio are known asterisms in very distant cultures. In China, for example, as in Egypt, Sirius is called a "celestial jackal" The North American Cherokees called the Milky Way the way the dog runs (Sirius), dropping the cornmeal that steals to the "people of the South". This same American tribe puts the "spirit star" of Scorpio at the northern end of the Milky Way (perhaps Antares), where souls migrate; in the same way that the natives of Nicaragua speak of the "mother scorpion at the end of the Milky Way" as the place where souls go after death. We see the "scorpion goddess" again in the Mayan Tro-Cortesian Codex (the "old goddess with the scorpion tail"). In Nicaragua and Honduras she is represented with many breasts, in the manner of the Artemis of Ephesus. In Egypt we also find a "scorpion goddess", with the name of Serqet, or Selket. Note that in the Middle East, during Antiquity, Scorpio and Canis Maioris were placed in the same position as the Cherokees, the Chinese or the Maya did.

Different cultures, far apart in time and space, placed a dog (Canis maioris), a scorpion (Scorpio), a bull (Taurus), a snake (Draco), a lion (Leo), etc., in the same positions that today occupy in the zodiac. Is it casual? Or would we be a remnant of a same tradition, with Paleolithic origin, which was transmitted throughout the world, in very different territories, societies and cultures? Could this be the case of the Font Major winged horse?

I dare not say so at all. Rather, the wings - if they really are - of the horse could refer to the concept of speed: "fast horse", since this idea has persisted to this day in the expression "do not run, fly". The psicopompo god Hermes-Mercury was represented with wings on his feet and in his cap, to express his speed. And numerous stories of the type "the boots of the seven leagues" have been written, that express the speed, or the ability to make great leaps (in short, to fly), of who uses them.

In that case, the wings of the horse, expressing through this symbol the idea of "fast horse", could be at the base of the mythical image of the winged horse: Pegasus. If so, this mythical image would have its origin in the Paleolithic, more than 15,000 years ago (supposedly), during the Magdalenian period.

And that would refer, once again, to the idea of the survival of tradition, which I develop in my article The Origin of the Egyptians: New Evidence.