The skillfull employer of men will employ the wise man, the brave man, the covetous man, and the stupid man. — Sun Tzu

Story of the Greeks - Helene Guerber




The Steed Bucephalus

When only thirteen years of age, Alexander once saw some horsedealers bringing a beautiful steed before the king. The animal had a white spot on his nose shaped somewhat like the head of an ox, and on this account was named Bucephalus, which means "ox-head."

Philip admired the horse greatly, and bade the grooms try him, to see if his gait was good. One after another mounted, only to be thrown a few minutes later by the fiery, restless steed, which was becoming very much excited.

The horse seemed so skittish that Philip finally told the men to lead him away, adding that a man would be foolish to purchase such a useless animal. Alexander then stepped forward and begged permission to try him.

His father first made fun of him for asking to mount a horse which none of the grooms could manage; but, as Alexander persisted in his wish, he was finally allowed to make the attempt.

The young prince then quietly walked up to the excited horse, took the bridle, held it firmly, and began to speak gently and pat the steed's arched neck. After a moment, Alexander led Bucephalus forward a few steps, and then turned him around, for he had noticed that the horse was frightened by his shadow.

Then, when the shadow lay where he could not see it, and where it could no longer frighten him, the young man dropped his cloak quietly, and vaulted upon the horse's back. Once more Bucephalus reared, pranced, kicked, and ran; but Alexander sat firmly on his back, spoke to him gently, and, making no effort to hold him in, let him speed across the plain.

In a few moments the horse's wildness was over, and Alexander could ride back to his proud father, sitting upon a steed which obeyed his slightest touch.

Alexander
Alexander and Bucephalus.


Philip was so delighted with the coolness, courage, and good horsemanship that Alexander had shown on this occasion, that he made him a present of the steed. Bucephalus became Alexander's favorite mount, and, while he would allow no one else to ride him, he obeyed his master perfectly.

Although most young men began the study of philosophy only at sixteen, Alexander was placed under the tuition of Aristotle soon after his first ride on Bucephalus. This philosopher was a pupil of Plato. He was so learned and well known, that Philip, in writing to him to tell him of Alexander's birth, expressed his pleasure that the gods had allowed his son to live in the same age with so great a teacher.

Alexander loved Aristotle dearly, and willingly learned all that was required of him. He often said that he was very grateful, for this philosopher had taught him all the good he knew. Alexander's remarkable coolness, judgment, and perseverance were largely owing to his teacher, and, had he always followed Aristotle's advice, he would have been truly great.

But although Alexander did not always practice the virtues which Aristotle had tried to teach him, he never forgot his old tutor. He gave him large sums of money, so that the philosopher could continue his studies, and find out new things; and during his journeys he always sent him complete collections of the animals and plants of the regions he visited.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

Early Inhabitants of Greece
The Deluge of Ogyges
Founding of Important Cities
Story of Deucalion
Daedalus and Icarus
The Adventures of Jason
Theseus Visits the Labyrinth
The Terrible Prophecy
The Sphinx's Riddle
Death of Oedipus
The Brothers' Quarrel
The Taking of Thebes
The Childhood of Paris
Muster of the Troops
Sacrifice of Iphigenia
The Wrath of Achilles
Death of Hector and Achilles
The Burning of Troy
Heroic Death of Codrus
The Blind Poet
The Rise of Sparta
The Spartan Training
The Brave Spartan Boy
Public Tables in Sparta
Laws of Lycurgus
The Messenian War
The Music of Tyrtaeus
Aristomenes' Escape
The Olympic Games
Milo of Croton
The Jealous Athlete
The Girls' Games
The Bloody Laws of Draco
The Laws of Solon
The First Plays
The Tyrant Pisistratus
The Tyrant's Insult
Death of the Conspirators
Hippias Driven out of Athens
The Great King
Hippias Visits Darius
Destruction of the Persian Host
Advance of the Second Host
The Battle of Marathon
Miltiades' Disgrace
Aristides the Just
Two Noble Spartan Youths
The Great Army
Preparations for Defense
Leonidas at Thermopylae
Death of Leonidas
The Burning of Athens
Battles of Salamis and Plataea
The Rebuilding of Athens
Death of Pausanias
Cimon Improves Athens
The Earthquake
The Age of Pericles
Teachings of Anaxagoras
Peloponnesian War Begins
Death of Pericles
The Philosopher Socrates
Socrates' Favorite Pupil
Youth of Alcibiades
Greek Colonies in Italy
Alcibiades in Disgrace
Death of Alcibiades
Overthrow of Thirty Tyrants
Accusation of Socrates
Death of Socrates
The Defeat of Cyrus
Retreat of the Ten Thousand
Agesilaus in Asia
A Strange Interview
The Peace of Antalcidas
The Theban Friends
Thebes Free Once More
The Battle of Leuctra
Death of Pelopidas
The Battle of Mantinea
The Tyrant of Syracuse
Damon and Pythias
The Sword of Damocles
Dion and Dionysius
Civil War in Syracuse
Death of Dion
Philip of Macedon
Philip Begins His Conquests
The Orator Demosthenes
Philip Masters Greece
Birth of Alexander
The Steed Bucephalus
Alexander as King
Alexander and Diogenes
Alexander's Beginning
The Gordian Knot
Alexander's Royal Captives
Alexander at Jerusalem
The African Desert
Death of Darius
Defeat of Porus
Return to Babylon
Death of Alexander
Division of the Realm
Death of Demosthenes
Last of the Athenians
The Colossus of Rhodes
The Battle of Ipsus
Demetrius and the Athenians
The Achaean League
Division in Sparta
Death of Agis
War of the Two Leagues
The Last of the Greeks
Greece a Roman Province