Perhaps the most famous horse in history. Bucephalus was the favourite war horse of Alexandra the Great. Alexandra was only 12 or 13 when he met Bucephalus for the first time. In 344 BC his father, King Philip the second of Macedonia, was in negotiations to buy the horse for 13 talents, a staggering amount of money for one horse. The sale was not going well as Bucephalus was proving too troublesome for anyone to ride. Alexandra came over and calmed the horse with soothing words and turned him towards the sun so it could not see its own shadow. He then rode Bucephalus to his father's immense pleasure and won the horse as his own.
Bucephalus and Alexandra struck up a deep and profound relationship which lasted all through Alexandra's teens and twenties and his campaigns and battles that forged the greatest empire the world has ever known. Some eighteen years later Bucephalus died from his wounds after the battle of Hydaspes in which Alexandra and his army defeated King Porus. Alexandra founded the city of Bucephala in honour of his beloved companion. It was on the west bank of the Hydaspes river now in present day Parkistan.
Alexandra claimed descent from Greek's most famous warrior Achilles. Horses were extremely important to Achilles who boasted that they had been given to his father by Poisidon and were therefore immortal. Alexandra emulated the feats of Achilles in all ways including the bonding with exceptional horses. The pair formed a cult which many subsequent military leaders followed, forging powerful links with their favourite war horses.
Detail from the Alexandra Mosaic showing the two of them fighting at the Battle of Issus in 333 BC.
This gold coin depicting Bucephalus is from the reign of Seleucus who directly suceeded Alexandra to rule over his conquered lands.
Insights into Animal Souls
I have a dog that I love dearly. He has brought joy to my life and given smiles to the faces of many he has met. There is no doubt in my mind that he has a wise and sensitive soul, knowing right from wrong and doing everything in his power to cheer up someone down in the dumps. When I look at my dog I feel as though his soul is on a higher level than a lot of people I've met. His selfless nature is inspirational.
I have always been able to teach my cats not to kill birds. I do this by giving them lots of positive attention and communicating with them telepathically. I let them know how sad it makes me feel when they kill other beings, and I let them experience my feelings of sadness. All my cats have wanted to please me.
Alex the African gray parrot was able to count and identify colors, and he had a beautiful relationship with his companion, Irene. When Alex died in 2007, his last words to her were “You be good. I love you.”
We can learn much about the soul of animals from the life of saints and sages. Ramana Maharshi, a great Indian Saint, treated the animals who were drawn to his ashram with the same tenderness and reverence he showed his human devotes. He saw no difference. A cow named Lakshme lived at Ramana's ashram for twenty five years. When Ramana sat with his devotes and shared his spiritual presence, Lakshme would come on her own, walk up to the front, and rest her head on Ramana's feet. Whenever special food was prepared at the ashram Ramana would serve Lakshme himself in the hall with the other devotees. He attended to her in that moment as if she were the most precious being alive. In the end, when Lakshme lay dying, Ramana said to her "Mother, do you want me with you?" He put one hand on her heart and one on her head just as he had done with his own human mother as she lay dying. He could tell that Lakshme's heart was filled with devotion to God. When she died he said that she had attained final liberation.