Involuntary Hippophagia (5): Papal Bull Taboo Origin?

Gregory_IIIThose concerned about Involuntary Hippophagia (the unintended ingestion of a horse, or part thereof ) may be wondering just how far back the UK’s distaste for eating horses, unintentionally or not, might go. Improbable can reveal that the puzzle has certainly been on the table for more than a century.

‘Rockingham’ (writing in the Boston Evening Transcript, June 19th, 1909.) asserts that the English ‘tabu’ against eating horses could have a theological origin – in the form of a Papal Bull.

“Horseflesh and its eaters are said to have been declared unclean by Pope Gregory III (731 – 741) evidently to discourage a then-prevalent yearning for the ‘flesh pots of Egypt’.”

Rockingham signs off with an observation which may still have some relevance today.

“The prohibition against horseflesh, like many others governing our daily life, has descended in full practical force to us, though the reason therefor has generally been forgotten ages ago.”

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