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King Alexander had also a very remarkable horse;1 it was called Bucephalus, either on account of the fierceness of its aspect, or because it had the figure of a bull's head marked on its shoulder. It is said, that he was struck with its beauty when he was only a boy, and that it was purchased from the stud of Philonicus, the Pharsalian, for thirteen talents.2 When it was equipped with the royal trappings, it would suffer no one except Alexander to mount it, although at other times it would allow any one to do so. A memorable circumstance connected with it in battle is recorded of this horse; it is said that when it was wounded in the attack upon Thebes, it would not allow Alexander to mount any other horse. Many other circumstances, also, of a similar nature, occurred respecting it; so that when it died, the king duly performed its obsequies, and built around its tomb a city, which he named after it.3

It is said, also, that Cæsar, the Dictator, had a horse, which would allow no one to mount but himself, and that its forefeet were like those of a man; indeed it is thus represented in the statue before the temple of Venus Genetrix.4 The late Emperor Augustus also erected a tomb to his horse; on which occasion Germanicus Cæsar5 wrote a poem, which still exists. There are at Agrigentum many tombs of horses, in the form of pyramids.6 Juha informs us, that Semiramis was so greatly enamoured of a horse, as to have had connection with it.7 The Scythian horsemen make loud boasts of the fame of their cavalry. On one occasion, one of their chiefs having been slain in single combat, when the conqueror came to take the spoils of the enemy, he was set upon by the horse of his opponent, and trampled on and bitten to death. Another horse, upon the bandage being removed from his eyes, found that he had covered his mother, upon which he threw himself down a precipice, and was killed. We learn, also, that for a similar cause, a groom was torn to pieces, in the territory of Reate.8 For these animals have a knowledge of the ties of consanguinity, and in a stud a mare will attend to its sister of the preceding year, even more carefully than its mother.

Their docility, too, is so great, that we find it stated that the whole of the cavalry of the Sybarite army were accustomed to perform a kind of dance to the sound of musical instruments. These animals also foresee battles; they lament over their masters when they have lost them, and sometimes shed tears9 of regret for them. When King Nicomedes was slain, his horse put an end to its life by fasting. Phylarchus relates, that Centaretus,10 the Galatian, after he had slain Antiochus in battle, took possesion of his horse, and mounted it in triumph; upon which the animal, inflamed with indignation, regardless of the rein and become quite ungovernable, threw itself headlong down a precipice, and they both perished together. Philistus relates, that Dionysius having left his horse stuck fast in a morass, the animal, as soon as it disengaged itself, followed the steps of its master, with a swarm of bees, which had settled on its mane; and that it was in consequence of this portent, that Dionysius gained possession of the kingdom.11

1 Plutarch, in his Life of Alexander, gives some account of this celebrated horse, and Aulus Gellius, B. v. c. 2, devotes a chapter to it.—B.

2 Ajasson estimates the price to have been 70,200 francs, £2925 sterling.—B.

3 Situate on the river Hydaspes; Q. Curtius calls it Bucephalus.—B. See B. vi. c. 23, where it is called Bucephala.

4 This account is given by Suetonius, Life of Julius Cesar, c. 61. Cuvier suggests that the hoofs may have been notched, and that the sculptor probably exaggerated the peculiarity, so as to produce the resemblance to a human foot.—B.

5 The nephew of Tiberius and the father of the Emperor Caligula.—B.

6 Ælian, Hist. Anim. B. xii. c. 40, states that three mares of Miltiades and Evagoras, which had been victorious in the Olympic games, were buried with sepulchral honours in the Ceramicus.—B.

7 Ajasson suggests, with much plausibility, that when connections of this description are mentioned, the report originated from persons who had significant names, as Lebœuf and Poulain; analogous to our names of Lamb, Bull, Hog, &c.—B.

8 See B. iii. c. 17.

9 We here find Pliny tripping, for he has previously said, in B. vii. c. 1, that man is the only animated being that sheds tears. See also c. 19 of the present Book, where he represents the lion as shedding tears.

10 Ælian calls him Centoarates. Antiochus I., or Soter, is here alluded to. He was killed in battle with the Galli or Galatians, B.C. 261.

11 Mentioned by Cicero, De Divin. B. i. c. 33.—B.

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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), SENATUSCONSULTUM
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