Across the Baltic and North Germanic lands, ‘Hengest and Hors’ was the name given to the cross horse-headed gables which decorated pagan temples and hofs. As the Saxons were a Horse-lord folk – Hengest and Horsa probably took the name as titles for themselves. Tolkien was aware of this – and based the people of Rohan on the Saxon people. Theoden, king of the horse lords takes his name from Theod – Anglo-Saxon for ‘people’ or ‘tribe’. Many of Rohan’s heroes in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings have names based upon the Eoh (white horse) rune. Rohan itself is a Sanskrit word which relates to health and healing.
What seems to be older legends than the Germanic Hengest and Horsa tales, are the Baltic legends of the Ašvieniai – (in the writings of Kathleen Herbert she describes the English as a Baltic people) and these are much more closely related to the Aryan-Hindu legends of the Aswins (sometimes Ashwins / Ashvins) – the divine Horse gods of Hindu lore. Hengest’s (the Jutish chieftain) son was called Ash, and as we will see – we find another connection with their names to horses, as Ash means Horse in the early Aryan languages.
The Vedic Ashwines are Divine Twins, and are depicted as half horse and half human – this symbolism also applies to Woden. They are gods who bring fertility to crops, just as the Baltic Ašvieniai do. In old Lithuanian ‘ašva’ means horse, just as the Sanskrit ‘ashva’ means horse. Both words are connected to our word Ash. Ašvieniai as horse-gods pull the carriage known as Saulė which is the sun. (Saulė is the same as sole, soul, sal, Sol, solar etc). The Vedic Ashwins also pull the sun across the sky. You may have noticed in the Lord of the Rings, the banners and flags of Rohan contained both white horse and rising sun symbolism.