Quick review of “Lore of the Sacred Horse” by Marion Davies

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Marion Davies’ book Lore of the Sacred Horse lacks two key things: citations and citations. I reviewed material that I know well (specifically about Epona) and found that key facts were missing. For example, Davies states on page 23-34, that Epona “had a feast day in the Roman calendar, on the 18th December. Epona was the only Celtic deity to be so honoured by the Romans.”[3]

This first sentence is partially true. Epona did have a feast day attributed to December 18 but it wasn’t from *the* Roman calendar. The feast day was from a regional calendar inscription from Guidizzolo in Northern Italy (which would have been in Gallia Cisalpina).[1,2]  Because this is the only example of Epona being mentioned in a fasti, wouldn’t that indicate that this marks a local celebration (instead of being part of the larger religio Romana)?[4]

Unfortunately, this kind of incomplete information is prevalent through the book. Readers are asked to trust Davies’ information and are not provided any way of continuing their research through citations. I didn’t see other authors mentioned in the text either.

Assuming that the other sections of the book are written in the same way as the information about Epona, don’t trust this book as a source. That doesn’t mean there aren’t good tidbits. You can always learn something from a book, even if it is an example of how not to present research. It is obvious that Davies did research for this book. It’s just a shame that the author did not include any evidence of it.


  1. Boucher, Stéphanie (1984). L’inscription d’Entrains CIL XIII, 2903 et l’apparition du culte d’Epona en Gaule au I siècle de notre ère. Hommages à Lucien Lerat. W. H. Paris, Les Belles Lettres: 131-134.
  2. See the inscriptions page at Epona.net: http://epona.net/inscriptions.html
  3. Davis, Marion (1995). Lore of the Sacred Horse. Capall Bann Publishing. pp. 23-24, 36, 60-1, 70, 127.
  4. “Epona in the Fasti.” (2004) Forum discussion on Ancient Worlds between Nantonos Aedui and Moravius Horatius. http://www.ancientworlds.net/aw/Post/335807

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