Misconceptions in Straight Egyptian pedigrees are harder to dispel

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on March 17th, 2010 in Arabia, Egypt

I recently saw in the online brochure of a well known stud that breeds “Straight Egyptians” that the Saqlawi Jadran descendents of Roga El Beda (i.e., the tail female line represented by Moniet El Nefous and El Bataa in modern pedigrees, among others) was made to trace back to the desert-bred mare Ghazieh through Bint Horra (allegedly the dam of Roga El Beda, according to this brochure).

This is plain wrong, and was based on erroneous information from the Raswan Index, which has been relayed in Al Khamsa Arabians I and II, and later corrected in Al Khamsa Arabians III. Decade old Mitchondrial DNA research (Bowling, 1999, unpublished) indicates that the haplotype market for the Roga El Beda tail female is different from that of the Ghazieh tail female.

I don’t know what you think, but I have found some of these errors much harder to dispel in the case of Straight Egyptians than for the rest of the asil Arabians, despite rock solid evidence to the contrary (e.g., the myth of the Kuhaylan Jallabi tail female as surviving in Straight Egyptians).

15 Responses to “Misconceptions in Straight Egyptian pedigrees are harder to dispel”

  1. Hi Edouard:

    I recently borrowed Authentic Arabian Bloodstock II from the Library of Congress. In the section for Kuhaylan Jellabi, Judi Forbis does mention the mitochondrial study and the fact that the KJ’s may be SJ’s after all. I had never seen Judi acknowledge the study previously, so I was surprised. Maybe it is not so much of a myth anymore. I like how Mari Silveus explained it to me. She didn’t choose the KJ horses because of their strain. She chose them because physically and emotionally, these horses were the living embodiment of the horse that galloped in her mind’s eye. So, whether they are KJ or SJ, really does not matter. They remain the same horses, with the same qualities that she fell in love with, a long time ago. As a purist (and proud of it) I tend to drown in the meticulous details but I really appreciated what Mari said and the perspective that she helped me get, as far as the KJ, whoops, SJ horses are concerned.
    Thanks for helping us all to stretch the way we are thinking and embrace new horizons.
    You are the best Edouard!

  2. of course, i agree with you 100%…

  3. The Kuhaylan Jellabi-Ghazieh issue is really a separate matter from the Roga El Beda [Roda APS]-Ghazieh issue.

    The latter (Moniet to Ghazieh) really did not need DNA to straighten it out but it was useful to have that support later.

    To be fair to Al Khamsa, Al Khamsa Arabians back in 1983 made readers aware of the questions of this issue by outlining the pedigree record issues and questions regarding Roga El Beda, (citing the 1978 Archer, Pearson, Collins book among others), though it listed the family in supposition to possibly Ghazieh with explanations. However I believe even Raswan would have changed his information if he had such complete access to the original Blunt records.

    In Colin Pearson’s 1988 book, (still before the DNA research) the line of Moniet El Nefous was accurately traced back to Roga El Beda [Roda APS]. I would have thought that all readers of that 1988 publication would have then seen this which was sorted out long ago before DNA. In Pearson’s book you cannot even look up any Moniet line horses under Ghazieh, so just using this reference book would make the issue noticeable.

    Yet some still followed the Ghazieh supposition. I was quite amazed to find that within the last several years and even to the present some Europeans still charting Moniet’s line to Ghazieh in books or on websites. This information is then picked up by others overseas who may not have seen all the information published on this over a long period of time. Explanations on the Moniet to Ghazieh issue have been out there for over three decades now.

    It is an example of how there is no one global database for sharing all knowledge. It requires us to become our own investigators and judges of what we discover. This can actually be fun and fortunately we have Edouard’s blog to facilitate the sharing of such information. Clearly Moniet El Nefous does not trace back to Ghazieh in tail female.

  4. all good points, Joe..

  5. I am sure Raswan would have corrected his database. He was very open to such corrections, and even asked for corrections in print. He was working from scattered bits of paper and notes from all over the world, and serves as a mentor for always seeking to better our available information.

    In regard to the Jallabiyah question, I believe the Pyramid Society performed their own mtDNA test, to verify what the Bowlings had found, and came to the same conclusions.

  6. of course it looks nicer if a famous Egyptian line like that of Moniet is made to trace to a desert-bred like Ghazieh as opposed to a mare with no known antecendents like Roga El Beda (or El Dahma for that matter)..

  7. Edouard, I am not sure that there is a fine distinction among those Egyptian oriented breeders who celebrate the Ghazieh and Roga and El Dahma female lines. I am under the impression that Ali Pasha Sherif is often of equal regard as Abbas Pasha. I think that these original benefactors including the Blunts are thought of as trusted sources even if all the antecedents are yet to be unearthed.

  8. Of course, they are. These APS horses were some of the best horses in the world in their time. I am nevertheless frustrated at the lack of robust traceability to the desert source so far, despite continuing efforts. Aren’t you, too?

  9. The “lack of robust traceability to the desert” is an interesting question, Edouard. Lady Anne Blunt did make an effort to obtain and record pedigrees on her horses purchased, directly or indirectly, from the Ali Pasha Sherif collection. She knew Ali Pasha Sherif personally over a 17 year period, from 1880 until he died in 1897. Yet even some of the horses she bought directly from him have incomplete pedigrees in her stud records. For example, Mesaoud’s dam is given as Yemameh, “a grey Seglawieh Jedranieh of Ibn Sudan’s strain” without further pedigree. Merzuk’s dam is given simply as “a chestnut Kehileh Jellabieh.” Lady Anne lists no sire for El Argaa, the dam of Feysul.

    Why was this? Was Ali Pasha Sherif uncooperative when it came to supplying complete pedigrees? Were his own records incomplete? Did Lady Anne have additional information and not record it in her stud records for some reason? In one case we know from her published Journals that she had information that Mesaoud’s dam was “sister to Wazir.” Why no pedigree for Yemameh in the stud records? We may never know the answers.

  10. Is Bint Nura’s skull in the British Museum? It would be interesting to get mtDNA from one of the teeth to see if it matches El Dahma’s line.

  11. Edouard, I applaud your passion and find it inspiring. I know that through your work and those you inspire we will continue with the archaeology of ancestral information. In an ideal world we would like to know all antecedents in every line directly to the man or men of the tribe who parted with each horse. It is a huge job especially now but still a noble goal for which I do not shrink. I only put it in perspective and in the interim apply the reasonable assumptions that are necessary to appropriately honor the traditions of this breed. In having this discussion years ago with two astute researchers I had said that finding all the antecedents would be like attempting to empty the Dead Sea with an eyedopper. Well, maybe that was an exaggeration but we still know where the Dead Sea resides and it will always be there waiting for us.

  12. An eyedropper full: Bint Nura’s skull is in the British Museum. So a tooth would definitely answer some questions!

  13. Is there any way to contact Ralph Suarez? Eduoard, You may give him my email. I have some news for him from George Hooper regarding his horses! Thanks, Wendy

  14. Being new to owning an Arabian mare (just a few years anyway) I know I will never fully understand all of this but I have enjoyed the journey. I own a single Arabian mare, HF Macarena. Her tail female is Roga El Beda. What does this mean for me choosing a stallion for her? If anything.

    She has yet to produce a single registered Arabian foal and I have a couple of stallions that I’m considering but no commitment yet. Where do I have to go to get an “impartial” suggestion for a good cross for my mare?

  15. Anyone knows who is the curator for the section in the British Museum that has Bint Nura’s skull?

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