30 The Warrior Archetype

Episode Thirty: How Alexander Led

Alexander was twelve years old when horse dealers brought the great stallion Bucephalus, for sale, to his father Philips’s court in Macedonia.

The princes all agreed that the animal was spectacular.

But he was so wild, no one could even mount him.

Then Alexander stepped forward.

Nearly twenty years later, Alexander was still riding Bucephalus in battle, still in front of everyone else.

Subscribe here for the full series, or watch previous episodes here

Subscribe here for the full series, or watch previous episodes here

13 Comments

  1. Joe Jansen on November 26, 2020 at 5:43 am

    It’s intriguing, isn’t it, that of all creatures, we humans seem to have the closest relationships with dogs… and horses? This passage from Chapter 21 of Steve’s “The Afghan Campaign” has always been a favorite, Matthias speaking of his feelings for his mare, Chione:

    ***
    I love my horse. She’s a Nisaean mare – milk-colored, with a brand on her right quarter in the shape of a panther. Her name is Chione, “Snow.” She cost three silver talents when her original rider acquired her in Media. I got her for half. A steal. She’s nine years old and boasts more wounds than Alexander. Her conformation is only ordinary, though she has a strong neck, long legs, and a deep, powerful chest. She has quirks. She likes to be fed from a manger; she won’t touch hay, even oats, spread on the earth. She is spooked by anything white. She nips. She butts. She will not be hobbled. She is terrified of bees. She loves pears and will eat mulberries till she makes herself sick.

    She is also a first-rate cavalry mount. Hare-quick from a standing start, she will hold a line like a carpenter’s rule and not balk at any trench, wall, or obstacle. She can gallop boot to boot without skippering – seeking to outpace her wing mounts – and in the wedge she turns like a swallow in a flock. I do not train her; she trains me. She is the finest horse I have ever owned and I love her as dearly as my own mother.

    ***
    This narration, from the audiobook version narrated by John Lee: https://www.dropbox.com/s/7qclozzua8ar0oy/Snow.m4a?dl=0

    ***
    Hope you all have lots to be grateful for on this Thanksgiving Day.

  2. Andrew+Lubin on November 26, 2020 at 7:28 am

    Being a leader means means you need to motivate your Marines/Soldiers/employees, and I think that’s best done when you believe – truly believe – in yourself and your mission.

    A most interesting part of Steve’s story is young Alexander, age 12, betting his upcoming kingship and kingdom on being able to ride Bucephalus. Ego? Confidence? An interesting but theoretical question since Alexander earned the horse, and when that happens, it builds both his confidence and that of those around him. And that’s real leadership: throwing down a marker, making a commitment, and then following through. Or the example a few stories ago about Alexander refusing to drink in front of his thirsty soldiers; who wouldn’t follow a leader like that?

    ===// We’re here; we’re healthy; lots for which to be thankful today. My best to you all!

    • Joe on November 26, 2020 at 11:10 am

      Back at you, Andrew.

  3. Brian Nelson on November 26, 2020 at 10:55 am

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! This blog is something that I’m very grateful.
    bsn

    • Joe on November 26, 2020 at 11:09 am

      Ditto.

      • Andrew lubin on November 26, 2020 at 11:16 am

        Hear Hear!!

  4. Ingmar Albizu on November 26, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Great article, Steve. My admiration for Alexander grew. Who knew at 12 years of age he already had such spirit and leadership? At 12 I was still playing with GI Joes and watching wrestling on Saturdays. Impressive.

  5. Daphne on November 26, 2020 at 12:47 pm

    A MAGNIFICENT story of Love, Truth and
    The Highest Principles and Integrity!
    Happy Healthy Thanks Giving….to everyone…
    with Gratitude*+*

  6. Renita on November 28, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    Steve,

    I love stories of how the individual emerged in a spiritual sense at the age of 12. In Christian lore, Jesus is said to have spoken to his parents with a new sense of authority in himself. These stories carry a sense of self knowledge. I remember when I was 12 I asked my parents if I could refrain from going to Sunday school. I was aware that the Sunday school teacher had no real spiritual experience to convey to me. She was merely leading the children through activities. My parents struggled with this. But they finally allowed me to skip Sunday school.

    Many of the metaphors of emergence for girls are told in stories like Cinderella and snow white. These metaphors tell about the separation of the girl from the parent (told as wicked stepmother) or falling asleep and transforming.

    Perhaps other riders here find it beneficial to reflect upon their 12 year and how they changed and became more of who they are as an adult or began to change into the being of full awareness.

    • Renita on November 28, 2020 at 1:11 pm

      Riders should be “writers!”

    • Joe on November 29, 2020 at 9:14 am

      Good thoughts, Renita. Maybe it’s too facile to boil everything down to “the hero’s journey.” But maybe the reason it’s so easy to look at stories within that framework is because it IS such a deeply ingrained and fundamental set of archetypes. Jesus, Alexander, even the act of human birth… In one’s comfortable normal world, a call to action/change, denial of the call, getting forced (or choosing to step) over the threshold, and the rest of it.

      I think Vonnegut said there were six basic stories:

      ** “rags to riches” (a story that follows a rise in happiness)
      ** “tragedy”, or “riches to rags” (one that follows a fall in happiness)
      ** “man in a hole” (fall–rise)
      ** “Icarus” (rise–fall)
      ** “Cinderella” (rise–fall–rise)
      ** “Oedipus” (fall–rise–fall).

      Steinbeck and Joseph Campbell might say there’s only one story.

  7. Klais Surik on April 28, 2021 at 10:09 am

    I think you have to think about the fact that such iconic people raise important issues. For example, we have to protect animals, and we have to involve the public in this. I, for example, am very glad that I was able to find information about animal rights here https://studydriver.com/animal-rights-essay/ . So I hope you can understand it better. Good luck.

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