The story of Alexander the Great and Bucephalus is one that every horse lover should know. In fact, The Black Stallion is loosely based on this story of boy taming beast.
The Story Goes Like This…
Philonicus the Thessalian brought Bucephalus to Philip II (Alexander’s father) in the hopes of selling him. But when they went to the field to try him, he reared and bucked and would not have a rider.
Philip wasn’t happy with Philonicus for bringing him such a mount and declared that the horse was unsuitable and useless.
The Eyes of A Child
As they were leading Bucephalus away, Alexander (who was 12 at the time) stopped them and basically said, “If you guys can’t handle him, let me have a try.”
At first Philip took no notice of what Alexander said (as parents can do), but when they continued to lead the animal away he could see his son become visibly upset.
A Fathers Test
Philip looked at Alexander and said, “None of my men can handle this horse are you really telling me that you can do better?”
Alexander was not a stupid boy (and had an ace up his sleeve). He told his dad he could handle Bucephalus no problem.
His father wasn’t buying it and asked what Alexander was going to forfeit for his rashness should he fail to succeed. The boy looked at him squarely and said, “I shall pay the full price of the horse.”
Alexander’s Trick Card
Alexander had been watching Philip’s men closely as they tried to work with Bucephalus and he’d seen the animal spooking at his own shadow. He grabbed the horses bridle and turned him towards the sun, cleverly eliminating that pesky shadow problem.
The boy was then able to ease onto the horses back and take him for a spin. Of course Philip wavered between pride for his son’s accomplishments and embarrassment for loosing his bet.
When horse and rider returned from their wild run Philip looked at his son and declared “O my son, look thee out a kingdom equal to and worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee.”
What Happened to Buchephalus
Alexander chose the name for his mount because the horses head was ‘as broad as a bulls’. The stallion was his faithful partner in battle throughout Alexander’s entire military career and died of battle wounds in 326 BC during Alexander’s final battle.
Later the warrior was said to have founded the city of Bucephala in memory of his faithful mount.