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Ancient Greek Color Vision

As seen through the eyes of the Ancient Greeks, color perception is a very different thing than our own color perception. Why is this, what is it about our eyes and brains that causes this difference of visual perception from person to person and culture to culture?

In his writings Homer surprises us by his use of color. His color descriptive palate was limited to metallic colors, black, white, yellowish green and purplish red, and those colors he often used oddly, leaving us with some questions as to his actual ability to see colors properly (1). He calls the sky "bronze" and the sea and sheep as the color of wine, he applies the adjective chloros (meaning green with our understanding) to honey, and a nightingale (2). Chloros is not the only color that Homer uses in this unusual way. He also uses kyanos oddly, "Hector was dragged, his kyanos hair was falling about him" (3). Here it would seem, to our understanding, that Hector's hair was blue as we associate the term kyanos with the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli, in our thinking kyanos means cyan (4). But we cannot assume that Hector's hair was blue, rather, in light of the way that Homer consistently uses color adjectives, we must think about his meaning, did he indeed see honey as green, did he not see the ocean as blue, how does his perception of color reflect on himself, his people, and his world.

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Breeding Horses

Horse breeding is the process by which humans interfere in equine reproduction to produce an offspring that has certain desired qualities. Over time horse breeding has produced breed or phenotypes in horses; it has also benefited the domestic horse whose chances of a successful conception, gestation and foaling are improved by selective mating.

It is known that horses were domesticated around 4,500 BCE but the origins of horse breeding are less clear. The first documentation of horse breeding is seen in the records of the Bedouin tribes of the Middle East. Their pedigrees of Arabian horses are dated 1330 AD but it can be assumed that the breeding of these horses took place for some time before they were written down. Breeding is also known to have taken place for thousands of years in western central Asia where the Akhal-Teke was developed, and in the nomadic Mongolian steppe tribes.

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