Two Dahman Shahwan stallions at Ahmed Pasha’s?

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on April 14th, 2015 in Egypt

The long-held hypothesis that Prince Ahmad Pasha Kamal had two grey Dahman stallions at the same time, developed by Pearson and Mol in a seminal footnote of their Arabian Horse Families of Egypt gets a boost when one carefully reads this passage of Lady Anne Blunt’s Journals, March 9th, 1904, where she first describes the stallions she saw (numbering mine):

To Ahmed Pasha’s stud. Of the horses, there was first

(#1) the old bay like Mabruka, in color shape and mark on nose, blind of near eye, a Keyhilan A. of the Tanviri [actually, Tamiri] strain, his sire the old chestnut Seglawi of Ibn Sbeyni,  

(#2) then a white Dahman Shahwan, dam the Dahmeh that belonged to Ahmed Bey Sennari, sire the Keh. A. of Mesenneh strain brought to A.B. Sennari from the desert, a handsome and very strong horse but wanting in something of quality

(#3) and also the white with still some dark on the legs and mane; 

(#4) Managhi Ibn Sbeyel (sire of our filly Jamila) his dam the Managhieh Sbeylieh brought from Arabia to the Tihawis (from whom Ahmed Pasha took her) his sire the old Seglawi Jedran from Ali Pasha Sherif belonging to Ahmed Pasha (now dead). 

(#5) There was also a chestnut horse, dam I forget, sire Aziz, rather good. 

Among the mares […]

I want to say two things here: first, the semi-colon at the end of the sentence in bold makes it clear that Lady Anne saw and described five horses not four (i.e., the white with still some dark on the legs and mane in #3 is not the Managhi Ibn Sbeyel in #4, but a different horse altogether); second, that Lady Anne somewhat associated that #3 horse with the preceding one #2; the use of “and also” between #2 and #3, before she’s done with listing all the horses is illustrative of this association, and so is the absence of a comma between the two. The absence of a strain for #3 is also significant in this regard (especially when realizing how much Lady Anne paid attention to a horse’s strain when describing him, when she does not know or remembers a horse’s strain, she says it, as in #5 for example); in view of the apparent association of #3 with #2, the absence of a strain for #3 may be taken to indicate that #3 was of the same strain as #2, a Dahman Shahwan as well.

In this hypothesis, Lady Anne would have seen and described two Dahman Shahwan horses at Ahmed Pasha on that day, the first “a white Dahman Shahwan, dam […], sire […], a handsome and very strong horse but […]”, and also a second one, “the white with still some dark on the legs and mane“, perhaps a younger brother of the first, but one which Lady Anne seems to have noted/admired before (hence the use of “the” instead of “a”).

4 Responses to “Two Dahman Shahwan stallions at Ahmed Pasha’s?”

  1. Maybe, but I’m not sure. Lady Anne seems to have described a horse typically by stating FIRST color and markings and distinctive physical characteristics, followed by strain, then pedigree, then comments (if any). Thus there is the “old bay… mark on nose, blind of near eye, a Kehilan A.” There is the “white Dahman Shahwan,” and then “the white with still some dark on the legs and mane Managhi Ibn Sbeyel.” I think you would want to check Lady Anne’s original handwritten journal entry to be sure of that semi-colon. You are quick to dismiss “Tanviri” as simply a transcriber’s error for “Tamri.” Can we be sure that the punctuation was transcribed correctly?

    Note also that each horse is prefaced with introductory language such as:

    “there was first”

    “then a”

    “and also”

    “There was also”

    If you posit two Dahman stallions, then the Managhi Ibn Sbeyel appears in the list without any such introductory words.

  2. Maybe; we need to look at this semi colon in the original.

    On Tanviri, the letter v does not exist in Arabic. and the n and the v together form an m.

  3. I agree, the original handwritten entry needs to be examined.

    Another point about positing a second Dahman stallion in this journal entry is that it would leave Lady Anne’s description of the Managhi Ibn Sbeyel stallion without any coat color included. This would be very unusual for Lady Anne to have done.

  4. You convinced me. That semi-colon is probably a typo.

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