Alexander the Great’s great horse (shame about the stirrups)

I was watching Andrew Marr’s otherwise excellent History of the World, episode 2 – Age of Empire the other day (I’d recorded it, not sure when it was originally on) and there was a fabulous re-enactment of Alexander the Great, as a boy, taming Bucephalus, a magnificent but wild black stallion. Alexander alone had noticed that Bucephalus was afraid of his own shadow. Turning him round, the boy was able to quieten the horse when experienced horse-trainers had all failed. The horse was sleek, black and beautiful and Alexander simply leaped onto his back and rode off.

So far so good.

But a later clip shows Alexander, now grown up and conquering people and their lands hither and thither across the world. And you can just glimpse some metal stirrups…… Alexander’s time was around the fourth century BC.  Stirrups were developed some centuries later – and the first ones were simple leather loops for the big toe, certainly not full steel stirrups.

You can read more about horses in film and TV in my ebook Lights! Camera! Gallop

About lesleylodge

Lesley Lodge now lives on a smallholding bafflingly close to Luton, England, but grew up in the New Forest and has worked for a racing stable, a palomino stud farm and a horse trainer. Her long-time ride is Freddie, a hairy bay cob mare with a long moustache. Lesley has had several short stories published. Blues to Orange, a story about a farmer ruined by the foot and mouth outbreak, was a Luton Literary Prize Winner and published in Junction 10, a collection of short stories. She has twice been a runner-up prize winner in the annual British National Short Screenplay Competition and was the Time Out and Jim Beam Bourbon Cult Film Buff of the Year some years ago. Lesley is always looking for new stories about horses in film or TV

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