This Blog is dedicated to the Noble and Great horses in our lives and throughout history. Visit the land of the unicorns in Behind The Mist, the horse lover's fantasy for pre-teens to adults.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

THE GREAT BUCEPHALUS-An important player in The Mist Trilogy

I started this blog one year ago. Since that time, thousands of you have visited and enjoyed the stories about famous horses. I am repeating this post because Bucephalus plays an important role in the third book of The Mist Trilogy: The Rising Mist. Plus, I think Bucephalus is cool!

One of the most famous horses in history is the black stallion, Bucephalus, mount of Alexander the Great. In the third book of The Mist Trilogy, The Rising Mist, the reader meets this amazing horse in his immortal life. I don't want to tell you any more about that or it might ruin the story. But I do want to tell you about the original Bucephalus. Much of what is written about him may very well fall in the category of folklore so I can't be sure of all of the facts. But I will tell you what is believed to be true.

Bucephalus was born around the year 356 B.C., the same time as Alexander The Great. He was bred by the great horsemen in Thessaly. When he was twelve years old, he was brought as an unbroken stallion to Philip II of Macedonia by a horse dealer. The dealer, Philonicus, was asking 13 talents for the horse. A talent was a huge amount of money, equaling 57 to 60 pounds of gold or silver. So, imagine the value of 13 talents! In any case, when Philip saw that none of his horsemen and trainers could ride the horse, he scoffed and asked to have the horse taken away. However, young twelve- year-old Alexander, who had been watching the attempts by his father's trainers, stepped forward and said: "I can tame this horse to ride. It only needs the right rider." The adults, of course, laughed him to scorn but he was not deterred. We can call Alexander the first "Horse Whisperer" because, as he had been watching, he noticed that the horse was frightened by the shadows cast by the men as well as their aggressive body and head movements. The young boy walked quietly up to the horse, speaking softly to him, and turned him to face the sun, thus casting the shadows behind him. Gently stroking his black coat he worked his way around to the horse's side and mounted the stallion. Off they galloped until boy and horse were one.(one famous mos

Alexander named him Bucephalus, which means "Ox head" because his head, which sported a white star and one blue eye, was extremely broad as a bull's.

At that time, bridles were used but not leather saddles or stirrups. Alexander and Bucephalus traveled thousands of miles with only a cloth laid over the horse's back. The two conquered the entire Persian empire from the Mediterranean Sea to modern day India, and south to Egypt. It is interesting to note that, on their march down to Egypt, Jerusalem folded without a battle. The people of Jerusalem quoted Daniel's prophecy found in the 8th chapter about a mighty Greek King that would conquer Egypt so Alexander left them alone and traveled on.

Alexander believed that both he and his horse would be immortal (A fact attested to in the third book of The Mist Trilogy) and when his horse died at the age of 28 or 30 (depending on the source,) Alexander gave him a state funeral and named a city, Bucephala, after him. Some say that the horse died in Alexander's last battle, other say he died of old age.

Bucephalus has been immortalized in art, literature and movies. In fact, Walter Farley's Black Stallion was loosely based upon this story. If you watch the movie carefully, you will see the father of the boy, Alec, give him a tiny statue of Bucephalus when they are on the boat.

Check out the clip below from a movie about Alexander the Great.

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1 comment:

  1. M. J.-
    I love this blog. Where can I preorder your book?