Macedonia, under the Romans, AE26. 3rd Century.Alexander The Great on his horse Bucephalus right

Ancient Coins -  Macedonia, under the Romans, AE26. 3rd Century.Alexander The Great  on his horse Bucephalus right
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MACEDON.Koinon of Macedon.Pseudo-Autonomous issue 3rd Cent AD.AE.( 9.45g,26mm)AΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ, head of Alexander The Great right .Reverse.KOINON MAKEΔΟΝΩΝ ΝΕΩ, Alexander The Great on his horse Bucephalus right.Ref:SNG Cop 1351. Fine with beautiful green patina!!Rare and interesting tipe!


Bronze statue of Alexander on Bucephalus
Museo Nazionale di Villa Guilia, Rome, Italy
The legend begins with Philoneicus, a Thessalian, bringing a wild horse to Philip II for him to buy (Plutarch, Alexander 6.1.). Plutarch gives us the rest of the story as well. Nobody could tame down the gorgeous horse, and Philip grew upset at Philoneicus for bringing such an unstable horse to him. Alexander, however, publicly defied his father and claimed that he could handle the horse. Alexander's reaction was viewed by his father to be immature, in addition to being disrespectful to all the people that failed to tame down Bucephalus. For that reason, Philip proposed, and Alexander agreed instantly, that if Alexander could ride the the "wild" horse, Philip would buy it; on the other hand, if not Alexander failed at taming down Bucephalus, he would have to pay the price of the horse, which was 13 talents, an enormous sum for a boy of Alexander's age to have. (The 1994 World Almanac says that 1 talent was about 60 pounds. Sixty pounds of anything is a lot of money.)

Alexander apparently noticed that the horse had been shying away from its own shadow, and so he led it gently into the sun, so that its shadow was behind it, all the while stroking it gently and whispering into its ear. Eventually the horse let Alexander mount him, and the 12 year-old Alexander was able to show his equestrian skill to his father and all who were watching:

"Philip and his friends looked on at first in silence and anxiety for the result, till seeing him turn at the end of his career, and come back rejoicing and triumphing for what he had performed, they all burst out into acclamations of applause; and his father shedding tears, it is said, for joy, kissed him as he came down from his horse, and in his transport said, 'O my son, look thee out a kingdom equal to and worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee.'"

Alexander went on to name his horse Bucephalus, which means Oxhead, as the horse had a rather sizeable head.

It is interesting to note that at the time of Alexander people used only bridles and cloths laid over their horses' backs to ride; leather saddles or stirrups were not in use at the time. Despite the fact that they had little tack to make riding comfortable, Alexander and Bucephalus rode thousands of miles and fought in many battles together.

Detail from the Alexander mosaic
From the House of the Faun, Pompeii, c. 80 B.C.
National Archaeologic Museum, Naples, Italy

The king's stallion died of battle wounds in June of 326 B.C., in Alexander's last great battle on the left bank of the Hydaspes. He founded two cities there, Alexandria Nicaea (to celebrate his victory) and Bucephala (modern Jhelum), named after Bucephalus. For his beloved horse, Alexander held a generous funeral, which he himself led. Alexander knew that it was with the help of his wonderful horse Bucephalus, that he had become Alexander the Great. After all, Alexander viewed his Bucephalus like his hero Achilles viewed his horses, who said they were known to "excel all others - for they are immortal; Poseidon gave them to my father Peleus, who in his turn gave them to myself" (Homer, The Illiad, Book XXIII).

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Cotización al: 12/05/20

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