At what stage in Alexander's life does he get his first horse in Fire from Heaven?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Alexander receives his first horse as an adolescent, when he has begun his Spartan training in earnest. Let us remember that before gaining a horse he shows his bravery and courage by killing a man at the tender age of twelve. Following this exploit, he goes to a horse fair where he asks for a horse which his father is unable to ride in an attempt to show his courage and manhood. Although he is first angry by his son's request, Philip then laughs and promises his son the horse if he is able to ride him. The subsequent success of Alexander in riding this untameable horse is of course the story of how Alexander gained the famous horse that he is associated with, that came to be called Bucephalus or Oxhead.

Alexander therefore gained his first horse as part of his transition from a child into a man. The method of gaining his horse allowed him to demonstrate his maturity and bravery and also was a key element of his own identity formation. His exploits as an adolescent allow us to see something of the might and majesty of the Alexander the Great that he is in the process of becoming.


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