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Alexander’s Famous Horse January 26, 2014

Posted by anagasto in art, history.
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Bucephalus was being sold for big money, but when King Philip’s attendants tested him in the field, they found him impossible to subdue. It had the mark of an ox head on his haunch.

Alexander was only twelve years old, but when he saw them lead that horse away, he said that he very much wanted to ride him, and he offered his father a bet on the price of the horse, the equivalent of sixteen thousand dollars. It was very much money for a horse at that time.

Alexander took hold of the bridle and turned the horse towards the sun. He had noticed that it shied away from its own shadow. He walked beside it and talked to it and put his own jacket on its back, and when the horse accepted the jacket, he jumped on.

The Delphic Oracle had told Philip that the destined ruler of the world would be whoever rode a horse with the mark of an ox head on his haunch.
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Alexander the Great by Master of Griselda ...........

Alexander the Great by the anonymous (?) ” Master of the Griselda legend”

A few years later, when Alexander overran half the world with his armies, he used somewhat more expedient methods to deal with difficulties.

Remember the Gordian Knot? and how Alexander was universally admired for cutting through it instead of trying to undo it?

And when his best friend died, he hanged the doctor.
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Alexander began to rule when he was 20, and he died at the age of 33.

In those 13 years he conquered half the world leading his armies as far as India. But by then he was brutal in his ways and would no longer have the patience to break in a difficult horse.

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Eskandar_fighting_the_enemy

Alexaner fighting photo by http://www.sztuka.pl in public domain according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Eskandar_fighting_the_enemy.jpg .

Notice that in the East his name is Eskandar.

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Off topic:

If you look more closely at the photo of the sarcophagus above, you’ll see that the soldiers fought on horseback without stirrups. (Churchill had to practice it, too, when he studied at the military academy; he had to get on and off a horse in full gallop and he often fell.)

A sarcophagus is a coffin made of stone, mostly decorated with sculptures and inscriptions.

sarcophagus (n.) Look up sarcophagus at Dictionary.com
c.1600, “type of stone used for coffins,” from Latin sarcophagus, from Greek sarkophagos “limestone used for coffins,” literally “flesh-eating,” from sarx (genitive sarkos) “flesh” (see sarcasm) + phagein “to eat” (see -phagous).

According to that ever resourceful Wikipedia, stirrups may have been invented in China and came to Europe very late, during the Middle Ages.
Some argue that the stirrup was basic in the spread of modern civilization.

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C r e d i t s

The top photo is by Patrickneil and published under CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license at
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alexander_Sarcophagus.jpg.

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Comments»

1. Carl D'Agostino - July 9, 2012

Caligula had the Roman Senate declare his horse a senator and demanded they honor his horse as a way of showing his contempt.

2. Erika - July 10, 2012

To be declared a senator would be offensive to horses, whereas some donkeys might actually feel honored, and for a pig it would be the final redemption.


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