Édouard Manet was a French modernist painter. He was one of the first 19th-century artists to paint modern life, a pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism. Born into an upper-class household with strong political connections, Manet rejected the future envisioned for him, became engrossed in the world of painting, his early masterworks, The Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia, both 1863, caused great controversy and served as rallying points for the young painters who would create Impressionism. Today, these are considered watershed paintings; the last 20 years of Manet's life saw him form bonds with other great artists of the time, develop his own style that would be heralded as innovative and serve as a major influence for future painters. Édouard Manet was born in Paris on 23 January 1832, in the ancestral hôtel particulier on the rue des Petits Augustins to an affluent and well-connected family. His mother, Eugénie-Desirée Fournier, was the daughter of a diplomat and goddaughter of the Swedish crown prince Charles Bernadotte, from whom the Swedish monarchs are descended.
His father, Auguste Manet, was a French judge. His uncle, Edmond Fournier, took young Manet to the Louvre. In 1841 he enrolled at the Collège Rollin. In 1845, at the advice of his uncle, Manet enrolled in a special course of drawing where he met Antonin Proust, future Minister of Fine Arts and subsequent lifelong friend. At his father's suggestion, in 1848 he sailed on a training vessel to Rio de Janeiro. After he twice failed the examination to join the Navy, his father relented to his wishes to pursue an art education. From 1850 to 1856, Manet studied under the academic painter Thomas Couture. In his spare time, Manet copied the Old Masters in the Louvre. From 1853 to 1856, Manet visited Germany and the Netherlands, during which time he was influenced by the Dutch painter Frans Hals, the Spanish artists Diego Velázquez and Francisco José de Goya. In 1856, Manet opened a studio, his style in this period was characterized by loose brush strokes, simplification of details and the suppression of transitional tones.
Adopting the current style of realism initiated by Gustave Courbet, he painted The Absinthe Drinker and other contemporary subjects such as beggars, Gypsies, people in cafés, bullfights. After his early career, he painted religious, mythological, or historical subjects. Manet had two canvases accepted at the Salon in 1861. A portrait of his mother and father, who at the time was paralysed and robbed of speech by a stroke, was ill-received by critics; the other, The Spanish Singer, was admired by Theophile Gautier, placed in a more conspicuous location as a result of its popularity with Salon-goers. Manet's work, which appeared "slightly slapdash" when compared with the meticulous style of so many other Salon paintings, intrigued some young artists; the Spanish Singer, painted in a "strange new fashion caused many painters' eyes to open and their jaws to drop." Music in the Tuileries is an early example of Manet's painterly style. Inspired by Hals and Velázquez, it is a harbinger of his lifelong interest in the subject of leisure.
While the picture was regarded as unfinished by some, the suggested atmosphere imparts a sense of what the Tuileries gardens were like at the time. Here, Manet has depicted his friends, artists and musicians who take part, he has included a self-portrait among the subjects. A major early work is The Luncheon on the Grass Le Bain; the Paris Salon rejected it for exhibition in 1863, but Manet agreed to exhibit it at the Salon des Refusés, a parallel exhibition to the official Salon, as an alternative exhibition in the Palais des Champs-Elysée. The Salon des Refusés was initiated by Emperor Napoleon III as a solution to a problematic situation which came about as the Selection Committee of the Salon that year rejected 2,783 paintings of the ca. 5000. Each painter could decide whether to take the opportunity to exhibit at the Salon des Refusés, less than 500 of the rejected painters chose to do so. Manet employed model Victorine Meurent, his wife Suzanne, future brother-in-law Ferdinand Leenhoff, one of his brothers to pose.
Meurent posed for several more of Manet's important paintings including Olympia. The painting's juxtaposition of dressed men and a nude woman was controversial, as was its abbreviated, sketch-like handling, an innovation that distinguished Manet from Courbet. At the same time, Manet's composition reveals his study of the old masters, as the disposition of the main figures is derived from Marcantonio Raimondi's engraving of the Judgement of Paris based on a drawing by Raphael. Two additional works cited by scholars as important precedents for Le déjeuner sur l'herbe are Pastoral Concert and The Tempest, both of which are attributed variously to Italian Renaissance masters Giorgione or Titian; the Tempest is an enigmatic painting featuring a dressed man and a nude woman in a rural setting. The man is standing to the left and gazing to the side at the woman, seated and breastfeeding a baby. In Pastoral Concert, two clothed men
Jérôme-Napoléon Bonaparte was the youngest brother of Napoleon I and reigned as Jerome I, King of Westphalia, between 1807 and 1813. From 1816 onward, he bore the title of Prince of Montfort. After 1848, when his nephew, Louis Napoleon, became President of the French Second Republic, he served in several official roles, including Marshal of France from 1850 onward, President of the Senate in 1852. Jérôme was born in Ajaccio, the eighth and last surviving child of Carlo Buonaparte and his wife, Letizia Ramolino, he was a younger brother of his siblings: Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon Bonaparte, Lucien Bonaparte, Elisa Bonaparte, Louis Bonaparte, Pauline Bonaparte, Caroline Bonaparte. He studied at the Catholic College of Juilly, served with the French Navy before going to the United States. On Christmas Eve, 24 December 1803, nineteen-year-old Jérôme married Elizabeth "Betsy" Patterson, the eighteen-year-old daughter of a prosperous ship-owner and merchant, William Patterson, in Baltimore, his older brother Napoleon was unable to convince Pope Pius VII in Rome to annul the marriage, so he annulled the marriage himself, as a matter of state.
At the time, Jérôme was on his way to Europe with Elizabeth, pregnant. They landed in neutral Portugal, Jérôme set off to Italy to persuade his brother to recognize the marriage. Elizabeth tried to land in Amsterdam, hoping to enter France so her baby would be born on French soil, but the Emperor barred the ship from entering the harbor. Elizabeth went to England instead; the child, Jérôme Napoléon Bonaparte, was born there. After the child was born, the Emperor followed up his decree of divorce with Roman Catholic and French state divorce proceedings. Jérôme submitted to the Emperor's demands, Elizabeth returned to America with her son. Elizabeth was declared divorced from Jérôme by a special decree and act of the Maryland General Assembly in 1815. Napoleon made his brother King of Westphalia, a short-lived realm created by Napoleon from several states and principalities in northwestern Germany. After Napoleon's subsequent defeat, the Allies reorganized the German states into a German Confederation with Austrian leadership overriding prior claim of lesser states.
The Napoleonic realm of Westphalia had its capital in Kassel. Jérôme was married, as arranged by Napoleon, to Princess Catharina of Württemberg, the daughter of Frederick I, King of Württemberg. A marriage to a German princess was intended to boost the dynastic standing of the young French king; when Jérôme and Catharina arrived in Kassel, they found the palaces in a plundered state. As such, they placed orders for an array of stately furniture and expensive silverware with leading Parisian manufactures. Local artisans, eager for commissions, oriented themselves with these French models; the king intended to refurbish his capital architecturally, the court theatre ranks among the small number of projects realised. Jérôme had it designed by Leo von Klenze and constructed next to the summer residence known as "Wilhelmshöhe", changed to "Napoleonshöhe". To emphasize his rank as a ruler, pander to his own ego, Jérôme commissioned grandiose state portraits of himself and his spouse, Queen Catharina.
Other paintings were to celebrate his military exploits, with many of France's most prominent painters taken into his employ. As a model state, the Kingdom of Westphalia was expected by Napoleon to serve as an example for the other German states, it received the first parliament to be found on German soil. Jérôme imported the Empire style from Paris, bestowing the new state with a modern, representative appearance; the small kingdom thus received more attention since the famous Treaty of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years' War a hundred and fifty years earlier in 1648. Thanks to these efforts by King Jerome, Kassel celebrated an enormous cultural upturn. However, Jérôme's expensive habits earned him the contempt of Napoleon, his court incurred expenses comparable to Napoleon's court, Napoleon refused to support Jérôme financially. In 1812, Jérôme was given command of a corps in the Grande Armée. Insisting on travelling "in state", Napoleon reprimanded Jerome, ordering him to leave his court and luxurious trappings behind.
After the Battle of Mir, Jérome occupied Mir Castle. In pique at Napoleon's order, Jérôme returned with his entire train to Westphalia. After the defeat in Russia during the following winter, Jerome petitioned Napoleon to allow his wife to go to Paris, fearing the advance of the Allied armies. On the second attempt, Napoleon granted permission. Jérôme re-entered the army in 1813, when his kingdom was being threatened from the east by the advancing allied Prussian and Russian armies, he led a small force to challenge their invasion. Following a clash with an enemy detachment, he made camp with his army, hoping for reinforcements from the French army in the west. However, before reinforcements arrived, the main allied force captured Kassel; the Kingdom of Westphalia was declared dissolved, Jérôme's kingship ended. He fled to join his wife, the former queen, in France. During the "Hundred Days", Napoleon placed Jérôme in command of the 6th
German military administration in occupied France during World War II
The Military Administration in France was an interim occupation authority established by Nazi Germany during World War II to administer the occupied zone in areas of northern and western France. This so-called zone occupée was renamed zone nord in November 1942, when the unoccupied zone in the south known as zone libre was occupied and renamed zone sud, its role in France was governed by the conditions set by the Second Armistice at Compiègne after the blitzkrieg success of the Wehrmacht leading to the Fall of France. For instance, France agreed that its soldiers would remain prisoners of war until the cessation of all hostilities. Replacing the French Third Republic that had dissolved during France's defeat was the "French State", with its sovereignty and authority limited to the free zone; as Paris was located in the occupied zone, its government was seated in the spa town of Vichy in Auvergne, therefore it was more known as Vichy France. While the Vichy government was nominally in charge of all of France, the military administration in the occupied zone was a de facto Nazi dictatorship.
Its rule was extended to the free zone when it was invaded by Germany and Italy during Case Anton on 11 November 1942 in response to Operation Torch, the Allied landings in French North Africa on 8 November 1942. The Vichy government remained in existence though its authority was now curtailed; the military administration in France ended with the Liberation of France after the Normandy and Provence landings. It formally existed from May 1940 to December 1944, though most of its territory had been liberated by the Allies by the end of summer 1944. Alsace-Lorraine, annexed after the Franco-Prussian war in 1871 by the German Empire and returned to France after the First World War, was re-annexed by the Third Reich The departments of Nord and Pas-de-Calais were attached to the military administration in Belgium and Northern France, responsible for civilian affairs in the 20-kilometre wide zone interdite along the Atlantic coast. Another "forbidden zone" were areas in north-eastern France, corresponding to Lorraine and about half each of Franche-Comté, Champagne and Picardie.
War refugees were prohibited from returning to their homes, it was intended for German settlers and annexation in the coming Nazi New Order. The occupied zone consisted of the rest of northern and western France, including the two forbidden zones; the southern part of France, except for the western half of Aquitaine along the Atlantic coast, became the zone libre, where the Vichy regime remained sovereign as an independent state, though under heavy German influence due to the restrictions of the Armistice and economical dependency on Germany. It constituted a land area of 246,618 square kilometres 45 percent of France, included 33 percent of the total French labor force; the demarcation line between the free zone and the occupied zone was a de facto border, necessitating special authorisation and a laissez-passer from the German authorities to cross. These restrictions remained in place after Vichy was occupied and the zone renamed zone sud, placed under military administration in November 1942.
The Italian occupation zone consisted of small areas along the Alps border, a 50-kilometre demilitarised zone along the same. It was expanded to all territory on the left bank of the Rhône river after its invasion together with Germany of Vichy France on 11 November 1942, except for areas around Lyon and Marseille, which were added to Germany's zone sud, Corsica; the Italian occupation zone was occupied by Germany and added to the zone sud after Italy's surrender in September 1943, except for Corsica, liberated by the landings of Free French forces and local Italian troops that had switched sides to the Allies. After Germany and France agreed on an armistice following the defeats of May and June, Marshal Wilhelm Keitel and General Charles Huntzinger, representatives of the Third Reich and of the French government of Marshal Philippe Pétain signed it on 22 June 1940 at the Rethondes clearing in Compiègne Forest; as it was done at the same place and in the same railroad carriage where the armistice ending the First World War when Germany surrendered, it is known as the Second Compiègne armistice.
France was divided into an occupied northern zone and an unoccupied southern zone, according to the armistice convention "in order to protect the interests of the German Reich". The French colonial empire remained under the authority of Marshall Pétain's Vichy regime. French sovereignty was to be exercised over the whole of French territory, including the occupied zone and Moselle, but the third article of the armistice stipulated that French authorities in the occupied zone would have to obey the military administration and that Germany would exercise rights of an occupying power within it: In the occupied region of France, the German Reich exercises all of the rights of an occupying power; the French government undertakes to facilitate in every way possible the implementation of these rights, to provide the assistance of the French administrative services to that end. The French government will direct all off
Prince Napoléon Bonaparte
Napoléon Joseph Charles Paul Bonaparte, Prince Français, Count de Meudon, Count di Moncalieri ad personam, 3rd Prince von Montfort was the second son of Jérôme Bonaparte, king of Westphalia, by his wife Princess Catherine of Württemberg. He soon rendered himself popular by playing on his family ties to Napoleon I. After the French revolution of 1848 he was elected to the National Assembly of France as a representative of Corsica. Born at Trieste in the Austrian Empire, known as "Prince Napoléon", "Prince Jérôme Napoléon, or by the sobriquet of "Plon-Plon", he was a close advisor to his first cousin, Napoleon III of France, in particular was seen as a leading advocate of French intervention in Italy on behalf of Camillo di Cavour and the Italian nationalists. An anti-clerical liberal, he led that faction at court and tried to influence the Emperor to anti-clerical policies, against the contrary influence of the Emperor's wife, the Empress Eugenie, a devout Catholic and a conservative, the patroness of those who wanted French troops to protect the Pope's sovereignty in Rome.
The Emperor was to navigate between the two influences throughout his reign. When his cousin became President in 1848, Napoleon was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to Spain, he served in a military capacity as general of a division in the Crimean War, as Governor of Algeria, as a corps commander in the French Army of Italy in 1859. His curious nickname, "Plon-Plon", derives from his pronunciation of his name when he was a child, while the nickname "Craint-Plomb" was given to him by the army due to his absence from the Battle of Solferino; as part of his cousin's policy of alliance with Piedmont-Sardinia, in 1859 Prince Napoleon married Princess Maria Clotilde of Savoy, daughter of Victor Emmanuel II of Italy. When Napoléon Eugène, Prince Imperial died in 1879, Prince Napoleon became, the most senior member of the Bonaparte family, but the Prince Imperial's will excluded him from the succession, nominating Prince Napoleon's son Napoléon Victor Jérôme Frédéric Bonaparte as the new head of the family.
As a result, Prince Napoleon and his son quarrelled for the remainder of Prince Napoleon's life. Prince Napoléon died in Rome in 1891, aged 68. Prince Napoléon, upon being banished from France by the 1886 law exiling heads of the nation's former ruling dynasties, settled at Prangins on the shores of Lake Geneva, in Vaud, Switzerland where, during the Second Empire, he had acquired a piece of property; the assets he left his heir were modest: Besides the Villa Prangins and the adjoining estate of 75 hectares, estimated at 800,000 francs of the time 130 million of France's old francs, they were limited to a portfolio valued at 1,000,000 francs, about 160 million old francs. He and Maria Clotilde had three children: Prince Napoléon takes a leading role in Robert Goddard's novel Painting the Darkness. References are made to his role in the Crimean War and his son's succession to the Bonapartist claim over him. Belgium: Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold in 1854. United Kingdom: Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath In the Courts of Memory, by Lillie de Hegermann-Lindencrone, relates the story of the origin of his nickname, with the warning.
Berthet-Leleux, François Le vrai prince Napoléon--Jérôme Flammarion, Gaston Un neveu de Napoléon Ier, le prince Napoléon 1822-1891 Edgar Holt, Plon-Plon: The Life of Prince Napoleon. Media related to Napoléon Joseph Charles Paul Bonaparte at Wikimedia Commons
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Edgar Degas was a French artist famous for his paintings, sculptures and drawings. He is identified with the subject of dance. Regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism, he rejected the term, preferring to be called a realist, he was a superb draftsman, masterly in depicting movement, as can be seen in his rendition of dancers, racecourse subjects and female nudes. His portraits are notable for their psychological complexity and for their portrayal of human isolation. At the beginning of his career, Degas wanted to be a history painter, a calling for which he was well prepared by his rigorous academic training and close study of classical art. In his early thirties, he changed course, by bringing the traditional methods of a history painter to bear on contemporary subject matter, he became a classical painter of modern life. Degas was born in Paris, into a moderately wealthy family, he was the oldest of five children of Célestine Musson De Gas, a Creole from New Orleans and Augustin De Gas, a banker.
His maternal grandfather Germain Musson, was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti of French descent and had settled in New Orleans in 1810. Degas began his schooling at age eleven, his mother died when he was thirteen, his father and grandfather became the main influences on him for the remainder of his youth. Degas began to paint early in life. By the time he graduated from the Lycée with a baccalauréat in literature in 1853, at age 18, he had turned a room in his home into an artist's studio. Upon graduating, he registered as a copyist in The Louvre Museum, but his father expected him to go to law school. Degas duly enrolled at the Faculty of Law of the University of Paris in November 1853, but applied little effort to his studies. In 1855 he met Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, whom Degas revered and whose advice he never forgot: "Draw lines, young man, still more lines, both from life and from memory, you will become a good artist." In April of that year Degas was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts.
He studied drawing there with Louis Lamothe, under whose guidance he flourished, following the style of Ingres. In July 1856, Degas traveled to Italy. In 1858, while staying with his aunt's family in Naples, he made the first studies for his early masterpiece The Bellelli Family, he drew and painted numerous copies of works by Michelangelo, Raphael and other Renaissance artists, but—contrary to conventional practice—he selected from an altarpiece a detail that had caught his attention: a secondary figure, or a head which he treated as a portrait. Upon his return to France in 1859, Degas moved into a Paris studio large enough to permit him to begin painting The Bellelli Family—an imposing canvas he intended for exhibition in the Salon, although it remained unfinished until 1867, he began work on several history paintings: Alexander and Bucephalus and The Daughter of Jephthah in 1859–60. In 1861 Degas visited his childhood friend Paul Valpinçon in Normandy, made the earliest of his many studies of horses.
He exhibited at the Salon for the first time in 1865, when the jury accepted his painting Scene of War in the Middle Ages, which attracted little attention. Although he exhibited annually in the Salon during the next five years, he submitted no more history paintings, his Steeplechase—The Fallen Jockey signaled his growing commitment to contemporary subject matter; the change in his art was influenced by the example of Édouard Manet, whom Degas had met in 1864. Upon the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, Degas enlisted in the National Guard, where his defense of Paris left him little time for painting. During rifle training his eyesight was found to be defective, for the rest of his life his eye problems were a constant worry to him. After the war, Degas began in 1872 an extended stay in New Orleans, where his brother René and a number of other relatives lived. Staying at the home of his Creole uncle, Michel Musson, on Esplanade Avenue, Degas produced a number of works, many depicting family members.
One of Degas's New Orleans works, A Cotton Office in New Orleans, garnered favorable attention back in France, was his only work purchased by a museum during his lifetime. Degas returned to Paris in 1873 and his father died the following year, whereupon Degas learned that his brother René had amassed enormous business debts. To preserve his family's reputation, Degas sold his house and an art collection he had inherited, used the money to pay off his brother's debts. Dependent for the first time in his life on sales of his artwork for income, he produced much of his greatest work during the decade beginning in 1874. Disenchanted by now with the Salon, he instead joined a group of young artists who were organizing an independent exhibiting society; the group soon became known as the Impressionists. Between 1874 and 1886 they mounted eight art shows, known as the Impressionist Exhibitions. Degas took a leading role in organizing the exhibitions, showed his work in all but one of them, despite his persistent conflicts with others in the group.
He had little in common with Monet and the other landscape painters in the group, whom he mocked for painting outdoors. Conservative in his social attitudes, he abhorred the sca
Horse racing is an equestrian performance sport involving two or more horses ridden by jockeys over a set distance for competition. It is one of the most ancient of all sports, as its basic premise – to identify which of two or more horses is the fastest over a set course or distance – has been unchanged since at least classical antiquity. Horse races vary in format and many countries have developed their own particular traditions around the sport. Variations include restricting races to particular breeds, running over obstacles, running over different distances, running on different track surfaces and running in different gaits. While horses are sometimes raced purely for sport, a major part of horse racing's interest and economic importance is in the gambling associated with it, an activity that in 2008 generated a worldwide market worth around US$115 billion. Horse racing has a long and distinguished history and has been practised in civilisations across the world since ancient times. Archaeological records indicate that horse racing occurred in Ancient Greece, Babylon and Egypt.
It plays an important part of myth and legend, such as the contest between the steeds of the god Odin and the giant Hrungnir in Norse mythology. Chariot racing was one of the most popular ancient Greek and Byzantine sports. Both chariot and mounted horse racing were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 648 BC and were important in the other Panhellenic Games, it continued although chariot racing was dangerous to both driver and horse, which suffered serious injury and death. In the Roman Empire and mounted horse racing were major industries. From the mid-fifteenth century until 1882, spring carnival in Rome closed with a horse race. Fifteen to 20 riderless horses imported from the Barbary Coast of North Africa, were set loose to run the length of the Via del Corso, a long, straight city street. In times, Thoroughbred racing became, remains, popular with aristocrats and royalty of British society, earning it the title "Sport of Kings". Equestrians honed their skills through games and races. Equestrian sports provided entertainment for crowds and displayed the excellent horsemanship needed in battle.
Horse racing of all types evolved from impromptu competitions between drivers. The various forms of competition, requiring demanding and specialized skills from both horse and rider, resulted in the systematic development of specialized breeds and equipment for each sport; the popularity of equestrian sports through the centuries has resulted in the preservation of skills that would otherwise have disappeared after horses stopped being used in combat. There are many different types of horse racing, including: Flat racing, where horses gallop directly between two points around a straight or oval track. Jump racing, or Jumps racing known as Steeplechasing or, in the UK and Ireland, National Hunt racing, where horses race over obstacles. Harness racing, where horses trot or pace while pulling a driver in a sulky. Saddle Trotting, where horses must trot from a starting point to a finishing point under saddle Endurance racing, where horses travel across country over extreme distances ranging from 25 to 100 miles.
Different breeds of horses have developed. Breeds that are used for flat racing include the Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, Arabian and Appaloosa. Jump racing breeds include the Thoroughbred and AQPS. In harness racing, Standardbreds are used in Australia, New Zealand and North America, when in Europe and French Trotter are used with Standardbred. Light cold blood horses, such as Finnhorses and Scandinavian coldblood trotter are used in harness racing within their respective geographical areas. There are races for ponies: both flat and jump and harness racing. Flat racing is the most common form of racing seen worldwide. Flat racing tracks are oval in shape and are level, although in Great Britain and Ireland there is much greater variation, including figure of eight tracks like Windsor and tracks with severe gradients and changes of camber, such as Epsom Racecourse. Track surfaces vary, with turf most common in Europe, dirt more common in North America and Asia, newly designed synthetic surfaces, such as Polytrack or Tapeta, seen at some tracks.
Individual flat races are run over distances ranging from 440 yards up to two and a half miles, with distances between five and twelve furlongs being most common. Short races are referred to as "sprints", while longer races are known as "routes" in the United States or "staying races" in Europe. Although fast acceleration is required to win either type of race, in general sprints are seen as a test of speed, while long distance races are seen as a test of stamina; the most prestigious flat races in the world, such as the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Melbourne Cup, Japan Cup, Epsom Derby, Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup, are run over distances in the middle of this range and are seen as tests of both speed and stamina to some extent. In the most prestigious races, horses are allocated the same weight to carry for fairness, with allowances given to younger horses and female horses running against males; these races offer the biggest purses. There is another category of races called handicap races where each horse is assigned a different weight to carry based on its ability.
Beside the weight they carry, horses' performance can be influenced by position relative to the inside barrier, gender and training. Jump racing in Gr