Alexander’s Horse

Plutarch (the Roman historian who lived during the first century AD) illustrates an important episode in Alexander the Great’s childhood. Alexander’s father (Philip the Great of Macedon) was presented with a horse for sale, at the price of thirteen talents. However, this horse was too wild to be of any use in Philips presence that he decided to pass on the offer. Yet, Alexander saw no fault in the horse and he begged Philip to reconsider his decision. Philip was annoyed at Alexander’s behavior thus he spoke these words:

“Young man, you find fault with your elders, as if you knew more than they, or could manage the horse better.”

Alexander replied, “And I certainly could”

“If you should not be able to ride him, what forfeiture will you submit to for your rashness?” Philip answered.

“I will pay the price of the horse.”

Sure enough Alexander tamed the horse. Philip was very pleased with his son. Weeping aloud with joy he kissed his son and said, “Seek another kingdom, my son, that may be worthy of thy abilities; for Macedonia is too small for thee”

In this story Plutarch wishes to convey Alexander’s bravery in acting against his father’s wishes. He also tells us about Alexander’s independence. The characteristics seen in Alexander here would shape his life for the future.

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2 Responses to Alexander’s Horse

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