Byzantium and the Near Orient
Refinement and use of the carousel as a military device.

This is an early record in stone from the Byzantine area of Asia Minor, circa 500 A.D. It shows riders in baskets, there is a sword and acrobats; this is possibly showing us what we would call an ancient amusement park.

Activities at a Turkish fair in this watercolor from the 1600's show several versions of the carousel and other rides.  Notice the robes being worn and the head dresses, most of these people appear to be adult males.



This 15th century drawing shows part of the carousel's use as a way to practice your cavalry riding skills. The riders must knock off the hat of the man standing holding the stick.  This ride could probably be quite dangerous.  It was probably considered a man's combat trainer more than an amusement ride.

In the book "Travels of Peter Mundy", 1608-1667, is this  sketch of a human powered carousel ride from a village festival; notice the turban and cone-like hats.  This shows the device as an amusement ride, however, for many centuries the carousel was considered a top-secret military training apparatus, especially after it was first brought to Europe by the early Crusaders.








Back to Dentzel Carousel Company