Bucephalus - Scared of his own shadow

@JudyEv (83954)
Bunbury, Australia
March 19, 2017 12:40am CST
Miranda Hunt (@Brittnyrose) wrote recently about her dog being scared of her shadow which brought to mind the saying about being 'scared of their own shadow'. Another animal that was scared of its own shadow was Bucephalus, the revered mount of Alexander the Great. It's a bit unfortunate that the name means 'ox-head' but some references say this refers to a branding mark on the horse's haunch. However he is described as a massive horse with a large head, black in colour with a large white star between the eyes, one of which was 'blue' or a 'wall eye'. The legend, told by Plutarch in 344 BC, tells that Bucephalus was offered to Alexander's father, King Philip II but, because no-one had been able to tame the animal, the king was not interested in paying out the high price of 13 talents. Alexander, aged 12 or 13, made a bet with his father that he could subdue Bucephalus. He turned the horse's head toward the sun so their shadows fell behind them, gained the animal's trust and the rest, as they say, is history. Bucephalus carried Alexander to victory in many a battle. I have a photo of a sculpture which stands in Edinburgh in Scotland. I thought at first it was Alexander and Bucephalus. Edited: It is of the Duke of Wellington mounted on his favourite charger Copenhagen. If you'd like to see more sculptures of horses, let me know. I have more than you could poke a stick at. And perhaps @LoriAMoore could tell us where THAT saying came from.
17 people like this
14 responses
@Ronrybs (6926)
• London, England
19 Mar
The chap looks like the Duke of Wellington, but I am not sure of his connection to Scotland. If it is the Duke, then the horse would be Copenhagen
4 people like this
@JudyEv (83954)
• Bunbury, Australia
19 Mar
I took photos of so many horse statues but should have added shots of the inscriptions as well. Some were hard to photograph from ground level but Vince wouldn't let me hire a cherry-picker! Thanks for the info.
1 person likes this
@Ronrybs (6926)
• London, England
19 Mar
@JudyEv A bit narrowed minded, cherry pickers are essential for photography!
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (83954)
• Bunbury, Australia
20 Mar
@Ronrybs It's okay. One of these days, he'll come up with it as his idea then it will be full steam ahead.
1 person likes this
@Morleyhunt (14155)
• Canada
19 Mar
Interesting story. Lovely statue/sculpture....but I've not heard the saying ....poke a stick at.....our version is ....shake a stick...
3 people like this
@JudyEv (83954)
• Bunbury, Australia
19 Mar
And I don't recall hearing 'shake a stick'. Another difference between us! LOL
@topffer (26821)
• France
19 Mar
We have the same expression in French but I did not knew that it was coming from Alexander the Great. It seems very plausible. I remember to have seen this statue. The rider is the duke of Wellington.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (83954)
• Bunbury, Australia
19 Mar
I doubt the saying came from this story but it does suit it well. Thanks for the info on the statue too. There is one of Bucephalus in Edinburgh but I don't seem to have a photo of it.
1 person likes this
@Asylum (44134)
• Manchester, England
19 Mar
You must have a very large selection because I can poke a stick at a vast number of pictures of horses.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (83954)
• Bunbury, Australia
19 Mar
Maybe I exaggerated just a tad.
1 person likes this
@Asylum (44134)
• Manchester, England
19 Mar
@JudyEv It was buckets of exaggeration.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (83954)
• Bunbury, Australia
20 Mar
@Asylum Are we talking big buckets or little beach buckets?
2 people like this
@JohnRoberts (27702)
• Los Angeles, California
19 Mar
I have been to Edinburgh but do not recall that particular statue. Was it from the castle?
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (83954)
• Bunbury, Australia
19 Mar
It is in front of Register House at the eastern end of Princess Street, looking up the North Bridge. It was created in 1852 in bronze by John Steell.
1 person likes this
@JohnRoberts (27702)
• Los Angeles, California
19 Mar
@JudyEv My hotel was on Princess Street.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (83954)
• Bunbury, Australia
20 Mar
@JohnRoberts I've corrected it to 'Princess Street'. So you don't recall seeing it?
1 person likes this
@Beatburn (3990)
• Philippines
26 Mar
In early times, man's best friend was his horse.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (83954)
• Bunbury, Australia
27 Mar
That's for sure and horses played a huge role in developing the agricultural lands of Australia.
1 person likes this
@Beatburn (3990)
• Philippines
29 Mar
@JudyEv Here as well.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (83954)
• Bunbury, Australia
2 Apr
@Beatburn Did they really? I didn't know the Philippines used horses much. I thought it would have been more water-buffalo or bullocks.
@Platespinner (14622)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
20 Mar
I remember first hearing the story of Bucephalus and Alexander when I watched the movie the Black Stallion as a child.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (83954)
• Bunbury, Australia
20 Mar
Wasn't that a great movie? I still have the book of it. This was the book I found in the bottom of Mum's wardrobe when I went snooping for my Christmas present. I was a quick reader and read it before she came home but it totally spoilt my Christmas as I had to pretend to be surprised, I'd already read it and we only ever got one 'big' present. I never went looking for presents after that!
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
23 Mar
@JudyEv It WAS a good movie, one we actually bought for our kids at one point. Did your parents ever know that you had found and read your Christmas present?
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (83954)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Mar
@Platespinner No, I don't think I ever told them. I was very ashamed of myself really. It was a good lesson for me I think.
@Brittnyrose (1474)
• Aberdeen, North Carolina
20 Mar
Wow what I great topic I never knew about "ox head"
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (83954)
• Bunbury, Australia
20 Mar
It's an insulting name really, isn't it?
1 person likes this
• Aberdeen, North Carolina
26 Mar
@JudyEv lol yeah it is
1 person likes this
@Jessicalynnt (48301)
• Centralia, Missouri
19 Mar
I dont get why the turn would help, I guess the assumption was that it was really the shadow he was afraid of, so odd.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (83954)
• Bunbury, Australia
20 Mar
Yes, he was scared of the shadow moving on the ground. It makes a great legend but the horse couldn't have spent his whole previous life with his back to the sun.
1 person likes this
• Centralia, Missouri
20 Mar
@JudyEv basically yeah
1 person likes this
@Tampa_girl7 (19792)
• United States
19 Mar
What a detailed statue I love it.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (83954)
• Bunbury, Australia
20 Mar
I took photos of horse statues all over the place but mostly I don't know who they are! I'm really only interested in the horses!
1 person likes this
@Tampa_girl7 (19792)
• United States
20 Mar
@JudyEv I found the statues in Europe particularly detailed. Mississippi is lacking in this area
1 person likes this
@IreneVincent (13093)
• United States
4 Apr
I was happy to see your post come up about Bucephalus. This is what I'm talking about, when I finally started paying attention to the "you might also like" column. Great article. I'm glad I found it.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (83954)
• Bunbury, Australia
4 Apr
Thanks I'm glad you enjoyed it. I sometimes go to the sidebar suggestions too.
@Fleura (5078)
• United Kingdom
19 Mar
As others have said, that is the Duke of Wellington on Copenhagen. As for the saying, we say 'more than you could shake a stick at' but I don't know where it comes from. If you try it though you'll find you can't poke or shake a stick all that quickly!
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (83954)
• Bunbury, Australia
19 Mar
Thanks I've corrected the text now. I wish I could find my photo of Bucephalus but it's hiding at the moment.
@DianneN (44912)
• United States
19 Mar
I've seen that in Copenhagen and have a photo of it at home, of course. Otherwise, I'd show it to you.
@UncleJoe (6784)
• Virginia Beach, Virginia
19 Mar
I once owned a Pinto mare that was afraid of her shadow. An unsuspecting rider would get dumped when the sun's angle put her shadow within her sight. I think she was a faker because she only did that one time with me. She quickly learned to not do that again with me.