StraightFromAsshai

Did the First Men bring horses over?

26 posts in this topic

Yes they did. At least, they had horses.

Whether there were native wild horse species in Westeros before that, well, that we don't know. I seem to recall a reference to the First Men on horseback being a terrifying sight to the Children, but I find that highly unlikely, considering that the Children had wargs and greenseers aplenty, who no doubt turned wild animals into mounts too. Plus, a man on horseback would not have been a mystery to them, as they could just warg the horse and determine that it was a trained, domesticated animal. Nothing magical about it.

In fact, one greenseer could probably warg a thousand horses in a First Man cavalry charge, making all of them throw their riders off, disabling the lot of them. So in short, cavalry may have been something new to Westeros, but I hardly think it was something the Children would have found intimidating.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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In real life, domesticated horses were not native to England. They were first domesticated in the area that is now Ukraine, and they actually had to breed them for a while to make them large enough to ride. And this gave rise to the many horse-based nomadic cultures of the steppe. Generally speaking, these steppe peoples did not venture much into western Europe because it was too densely forested, which made conquering territory with cavalry difficult and made grazing lands sparse.

Obviously Essos does not have the same forest cover that Europe does, but I wouldn't be surprised if the history of domesticated horses in ASOIAF was more or less the same as in real life. Though mayhaps skinchangers were the first to ride horses, and regular people later figured out they could make do by simply training the horses adequately.

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1 hour ago, 40 Thousand Skeletons said:

In real life, domesticated horses were not native to England. They were first domesticated in the area that is now Ukraine, and they actually had to breed them for a while to make them large enough to ride. And this gave rise to the many horse-based nomadic cultures of the steppe. Generally speaking, these steppe peoples did not venture much into western Europe because it was too densely forested, which made conquering territory with cavalry difficult and made grazing lands sparse.

Obviously Essos does not have the same forest cover that Europe does, but I wouldn't be surprised if the history of domesticated horses in ASOIAF was more or less the same as in real life. Though mayhaps skinchangers were the first to ride horses, and regular people later figured out they could make do by simply training the horses adequately.

That's pretty much the answer. The grassy plains of Essos are enormous and the First Men are said to have come from that region. Note the very close physical similarities to the northerners and the Dothraki. There's Tully influence in the northern royalty which is Andal by origin but by and large the dark hair thing is prominent north of the Neck. 

It's difficult to say what capacity the First Men had of animal husbandry and what size their horses would have been. We're talking 12,000 years. That's a very long time ago for both horse and man to be radically different in size. My guess though is that the First Men had already established dominance in Essos and the grassy plains likely fed their horses well. But going into CoTF territory it probably didn't help much. That would be sheer manpower overcoming another species of humanoids. 

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14 minutes ago, Helikzhan said:

That's pretty much the answer. The grassy plains of Essos are enormous and the First Men are said to have come from that region. Note the very close physical similarities to the northerners and the Dothraki. There's Tully influence in the northern royalty which is Andal by origin but by and large the dark hair thing is prominent north of the Neck. 

It's difficult to say what capacity the First Men had of animal husbandry and what size their horses would have been. We're talking 12,000 years. That's a very long time ago for both horse and man to be radically different in size. My guess though is that the First Men had already established dominance in Essos and the grassy plains likely fed their horses well. But going into CoTF territory it probably didn't help much. That would be sheer manpower overcoming another species of humanoids. 

There is no resemblence between the First Men and the Dothraki, other than dark hair. The First Men came across the Arm of Dorne, from southwest Essos, at a time before the rise of Old Ghis, Old Valyria, the Rhoynar, Old Sarnor, or any of the  known civilizations of Essos. The Dothraki in turn only arose a few centuries ago, and then from central Essos. Ten thousand years and thousands of miles seperate the First Men and the Dothraki origins. Not to mention countless other barbarian kingdoms, peoples, tribes and nations that rose and fell across the length and breadth of Essos in the intervening time.

it is ludicrous to imagine a common origin for the First Men and the Dothraki solely based on the fact that they both have dark hair, and both come from the massive continent that is Essos.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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23 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

There is no resemblence between the First Men and the Dothraki, other than dark hair. The First Men came across the Arm of Dorne, from southwest Essos, at a time before the rise of Old Ghis, Old Valyria, the Rhoynar, Old Sarnor, or any of the  known civilizations of Essos. The Dothraki in turn only arose a few centuries ago, and then from central Essos. Ten thousand years and thousands of miles seperate the First Men and the Dothraki origins. Not to mention countless other barbarian kingdoms, peoples, tribes and nations that rose and fell across the length and breadth of Essos in the intervening time.

it is ludicrous to imagine a common origin for the First Men and the Dothraki solely based on the fact that they both have dark hair, and both come from the massive continent that is Essos.

If you know anything about the connection between Persians and Irish you would know that hair color and skeletal structure are telltale signs of genetic brotherhood going back thousands of years. The only difference between the Dothraki and the Northerners physically is a tan. Take away the tan and you have Stark bannermen easily. Obviously I'm not including their psyche or mannerisms both of which are cultural. 

GRRM understands biological and cultural evolution quite well. There is a good reason why humans north of the Sahara changed drastically and humans south of the Sahara didn't over these past 20,000 years. The latter had no geological struggle to adapt to. There has been no impetus to change as a species so that branch of humans hadn't changed. 

In ASOIAF this plays out with the Dothraki. They're thousands of years behind their neighbors because the grassy plains of Essos haven't changed since the time of the First Men. No impetus to change means no changed people. 

Edited by Helikzhan

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16 minutes ago, Helikzhan said:

If you know anything about the connection between Persians and Irish you would know that hair color and skeletal structure are telltale signs of genetic brotherhood going back thousands of years. The only difference between the Dothraki and the Northerners physically is a tan. Take away the tan and you have Stark bannermen easily. Obviously I'm not including their psyche or mannerisms both of which are cultural. 

GRRM understands biological and cultural evolution quite well. There is a good reason why humans north of the Sahara changed drastically and humans south of the Sahara didn't over these past 20,000 years. The latter had no geological struggle to adapt to. There has been no impetus to change as a species so that branch of humans hadn't changed. 

In ASOIAF this plays out with the Dothraki. They're thousands of years behind their neighbors because the grassy plains of Essos haven't changed since the time of the First Men. No impetus to change means no changed people. 

Oh please. Where is the skeletal structure resemblence? The closest you can come with this theory is that they both have darkish hair. As do most of the population of the planet.

So why not suggest the First Men resemble the Rhoynar instead? Or the original inhabitants of the lands around Volantis? Or the Ghiscari? Or any other dark haired people from Essos? Why the Dothraki, who come from the other side of Essos, and did not exist as a people a thousand years ago - about 11,000 years after the First Men left southwestern Essos.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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10 minutes ago, Helikzhan said:

. The only difference between the Dothraki and the Northerners physically is a tan. 

And the light eyes, all starks have gray or blue eyes. Actualy, even their hair has different colours, brown seens to be a more common among first men than the black of dothrakis. Blonde hair is not unheard among them too, see lannisters

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Just now, The Hoare said:

And the light eyes, all starks have gray or blue eyes. Actualy, even their hair has different colours, brown seens to be a more common among first men than the black of dothrakis. Blonde hair is not unheard among them too, see lannisters

Grey and Blue eyes are a genetic malfunction allowed to flourish by the climate. In some cases the same is true of red hair. The colder a climate the thicker the cloud cover which does contribute to the success of a genetic malfunction. If not for the climate these genetic malfunctions would be wiped out by nature. 

 

Blonde is different. That is Andal influence. The Lannisters are a southern house and have a lot of Andal influence. 

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12 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Oh please. Where is the skeletal structure resemblence? The closest you can come with this theory is that they both have darkish hair. As do most of the population of the planet.

So why not suggest the First Men resemble the Rhoynar instead? Or the original inhabitants of the lands around Volantis? Or the Ghiscari? Or any other dark haired people from Essos? Why the Dothraki, who come from the other side of Essos, and did not exist as a people a thousand years ago - about 11,000 years after the First Men left southwestern Essos.

They have more in common than dark hair. They're both large of stature, typically larger than the other regions in Westeros. Thinking Umbers and Mormonts here. 

Dothraki have dark almond eyes and tan skin because that's what the genetic code has for that region. It's basically what the region allows for success. Give them 12,000 years north of the Neck for genetic variation and you'd have blue / grey eyes and pale skin everywhere.

The Rhoynar are closer to Islanders with their black hair, eyes and olive skin. Islands = little cloud cover and little forest region. Genetic malfunctions would not be tolerated there. The Ghiscari are more of an eclectic group. 

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16 minutes ago, Helikzhan said:

They have more in common than dark hair. They're both large of stature, typically larger than the other regions in Westeros. Thinking Umbers and Mormonts here. 

Dothraki have dark almond eyes and tan skin because that's what the genetic code has for that region. It's basically what the region allows for success. Give them 12,000 years north of the Neck for genetic variation and you'd have blue / grey eyes and pale skin everywhere.

The Rhoynar are closer to Islanders with their black hair, eyes and olive skin. Islands = little cloud cover and little forest region. Genetic malfunctions would not be tolerated there. The Ghiscari are more of an eclectic group. 

Sorry, but I don't find this theory coherent or based on evidence. The World Book states that Essos was occuppied by a multitude of different barbarian kingdoms, nations, tribes, clans and peoples before the Long Night. The First Men would have been just one of scores such tribes.  And the proto Dothraki another - in fact, the proto Dothraki probably didn't even exist back then, 12000 years ago. Instead, a bunch of their precursor tribes might have existed, some with dark hair, some with copper skin, some large, some small, some with almond eyes, some with different shaped eyes. And these would have intermingled and interbred over the ensuing 11,000 years, long after the proto-First Men migrated to Westeros. And in a completely different part of Essos. Seperated by many other tribes.

Now, it is perfectly possible that one of those precursor tribes happened to be related to the First Men. Or they may not have been. But it is an extremely flimsy theory to suggest that the First Men and Dothraki are related simply because the first men tend to be large and have brownish hair. In fact, it is nonsensical.

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27 minutes ago, Helikzhan said:

They have more in common than dark hair. They're both large of stature, typically larger than the other regions in Westeros. Thinking Umbers and Mormonts here. 

 

In TWOIAF the andals are described as tall too:

Quote

But one people, tall and fair-haired, made courageous and indomitable by their faith, succeeded in their escape from Valyria. And those men are the Andals.

 

41 minutes ago, Helikzhan said:

Blonde is different. That is Andal influence. The Lannisters are a southern house and have a lot of Andal influence. 

Their blonde hair predate the andals. The tale of Lann the Clever stealing from the sun is the mythological origin of the lannister golden hair, generations before the andals.

I see no reason to believe that the first men were related to the dothraki. They have nothing in common. 

 

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@Helikzhan

The Dothraki don't have almond colored eyes. They have almond shaped eyes. They are basically meant to look like Mongols. Your analogy of Irish people and Persians doesn't fit, because you are talking about two groups of Caucasian people there. In ASOIAF, First Men seem to be analogous to Caucasians, while Dothraki seem to be analogous to Mongols or other peoples of the steppe, much closer to Chinese people than Caucasians genetically speaking, hence the almond eyes.

You can say whatever you want about pigmentation, but different shaped eyes implies that Dothraki and FM are not closely related.

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The grasslands is the area where several people seem to have grown big, and the Citadel considers it to be the cradle of civilisations. They speculate that the First Men (including the Daynes), the Andals, the Valyrians also rose and grew in this area and migrated westward after. Sarnor and Qaath also rose as a kingdom, civilisation and people from this area. Both these people are "tall", but Sarnori we are told were black of hair and eyes, while Qaathi are pale as milk (at least skin tone). Sarnori pushed the Qaathi south towards what became the Red Waste and Qarth. Then the Dothraki came east from the grasslands, grew and took the grasslands and destroyed both these kingdoms until only Qarth and Saan remained at the northern and souther shore of the continent. 

There is no "Andal look" nor a First Men "look". The Daynes and the Starks are both First Men. Ironicaly to the cited claim of mutations because of climate, the northernmost Starks have dark hair with grey eyes, while the southernmost Daynes have silver-gold and/or purple eyes (prot-Valyrian looks). The claim that Tullys are Andals is not entirely correct. They are actually a First Men family. So are the Tyrells. They are mostly culturally Andalized, though we can assume they Tully men married Andal daughters. They did not hold land before surrendering to the Andals when the Andals destroyed the Mudd dynasty, were rewarded with land where Riverrun was built, and they were vassals to the kings of the Trident, until the Targs came and promoted them to LP of the Riverlands, or overlords. Sarnori and Qaathi never reached the west, and they share the commonality of being tall, but supposedly nothing beyond that. The World book certainly hints that the Dothraki arrived at the grasslands as a people that migrated there from the east, and thus not actually native to the grasslands.

All we can say with surety is that the grasslands somehow work as a catalyst or heck even a catapult. Small bands throughout the ages arrived and settled in the grasslands (which is a central corridor of the Essos continent), coming from the north, the west, south or east. And there that band of people boomed, clashed with or conquered other cultures in or near the area and migrated relatively rapidly (in a matter of 100-400 years). The Dothraki are just the latest example of it. They arrived from the east. The power struggles between Sarnori and Qaathi and even amongst the Sarnori themselves left a vacuum for the Dothraki to boom, especially because both Sarnori and Qaathi moved into cities, and left the Dothraki free to roam the grasslands themselves. They unite and lay waste to both Sarnor and Qaath in a century. Since then Essos as far as Pentos has basically become their free roaming continent. The Free Cities are left alone because they pay trbute to the Dothraki to not sack them. These cities still exist because the Dothraki allowed it. If they're brought on ships across the narrow sea to Westeros, then they made the same migration movement from the grasslands westward as the First Men, the Andals and the Valyrians. I'ts a parallel migration move, but done by a different people, and likely coming from a different source region before arriving at the grasslands each time.

But claiming they must be genetically the same people, is like saying that someone who arrives at the central metro or train station and then hops on the train that once took me to my final destination a year ago must be my kin. Well, that doesn't depend on the train they took, but whether they actually are kin. 

Edited by sweetsunray

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I always just figured based on the evidence that evolution just hadn't worked the same way on Planetos (I know it's not called that). With humanoids like the brindled men of Sothyros and Ibbenese (plus CoTF and the Ifequevon), etc., I saw it as our world if Neanderthals and other early human cousins had stuck it out into modernity. I'd say that the vast majority of Essos races have SOME common ancestor way back...but maybe the First Men are neanderthalish?

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28 minutes ago, Lord Vance II said:

I always just figured based on the evidence that evolution just hadn't worked the same way on Planetos (I know it's not called that). With humanoids like the brindled men of Sothyros and Ibbenese (plus CoTF and the Ifequevon), etc., I saw it as our world if Neanderthals and other early human cousins had stuck it out into modernity. I'd say that the vast majority of Essos races have SOME common ancestor way back...but maybe the First Men are neanderthalish?

No, that's the Ibbenese.

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1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

No, that's the Ibbenese.

Not in their appearance but in that they could have a different origin but could still breed with "normal humans". Ibbenese and normal people make stillborns or deformed kids. Not saying definitively that the First Men are an actual different biological race than Andals, but could be. No one is all one or the other anymore. 

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10 hours ago, 40 Thousand Skeletons said:

@Helikzhan

The Dothraki don't have almond colored eyes. They have almond shaped eyes. They are basically meant to look like Mongols. Your analogy of Irish people and Persians doesn't fit, because you are talking about two groups of Caucasian people there. In ASOIAF, First Men seem to be analogous to Caucasians, while Dothraki seem to be analogous to Mongols or other peoples of the steppe, much closer to Chinese people than Caucasians genetically speaking, hence the almond eyes.

You can say whatever you want about pigmentation, but different shaped eyes implies that Dothraki and FM are not closely related.

We're looking at FM in the Starks far removed from who they were 12,000 years prior. I wouldn't be shocked if 12,000 years ago tan people with almond shaped eyes crossed the arm of Dorne.

But good point on the Caucasian vs Mongol comparison. 

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4 hours ago, Helikzhan said:

We're looking at FM in the Starks far removed from who they were 12,000 years prior. I wouldn't be shocked if 12,000 years ago tan people with almond shaped eyes crossed the arm of Dorne.

But good point on the Caucasian vs Mongol comparison. 

Well sure, anything could have happened 12000 years ago. My point is that when you said the Dothraki look just like northerners with a tan, that is wrong. It would be like saying Spanish people look like tan Chinese people, which they don't.

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On 6/17/2017 at 4:46 PM, Free Northman Reborn said:

Yes they did. At least, they had horses.

Whether there were native wild horse species in Westeros before that, well, that we don't know. I seem to recall a reference to the First Men on horseback being a terrifying sight to the Children, but I find that highly unlikely, considering that the Children had wargs and greenseers aplenty, who no doubt turned wild animals into mounts too. Plus, a man on horseback would not have been a mystery to them, as they could just warg the horse and determine that it was a trained, domesticated animal. Nothing magical about it.

In fact, one greenseer could probably warg a thousand horses in a First Man cavalry charge, making all of them throw their riders off, disabling the lot of them. So in short, cavalry may have been something new to Westeros, but I hardly think it was something the Children would have found intimidating.

I'm not so sure of that. Maester Luwin seemed to think otherwise.

Quote

"But some twelve thousand years ago, the First Men appeared from the east, crossing the Broken Arm of Dorne before it was broken. They came with bronze swords and great leathern shields, riding horses. No horse had ever been seen on this side of the narrow sea. No doubt the children were as frightened by the horses as the First Men were by the faces in the trees. 

A Game of Thrones - Bran VII

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