From Destrier to Danseur: The Role of the Horse in Early Modern French Noble Identity
The dissertation explores the ways horsemanship facilitated this shift in noble beliefs. The destrier---the battle mount of the medieval knight---was a key component of noble identity going into this period of transition, when the definition of nobility revolved around heavy cavalry service and the qualities comprising what the nobles called vertu. The manege horse---the "dance partner" of the early modern aristocrat in the movements of manege equitation---offered an unmatched platform for displaying key components of noble identity by the end of this period, when the definition of nobility revolved around physical grace and sprezzatura, or the appearance of effortlessness no matter what the task at hand.
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