The online business magazine Quartz has published an article titled Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov accuses the West of violating horse rights. You can read it here.
He is angry because ‘the Czech Republic, where Kadyrov keeps his stable of racehorses, ruled on Monday that it would freeze any prize money won by his animals’.
This anti-equine measure, he claims, would have upset both Alexander and Bucephalus.
“If Bucephalus had heard about this, even a thousand years later he would have been so surprised that he would have rolled over in his grave,” he writes. “And Alexander the Great would have declared a war to restore horses’ rights.”
As for Bucephalus, I suspect any anger he may have felt about the situation would have quickly been allayed by a bag of feed.
As for Alexander, it goes without saying that he would not have ‘declared a war to restore horses’ rights’. Men had few enough rights in Alexander’s day, and he spent little (as in none) of his time extending them. Generally speaking, the rights of animals would not have been of any interest to him to all.
I would say that the only person whose rights mattered to Alexander were his own. He was the king, after all, how could anyone else’s matter as opposed to his own?
Having said that, we know that Alexander did have an interest in horses apart from Bucephalus. I’m thinking here of Arrian VII.13 and Diodorus XVII.110 where the two authors refer to Alexander’s visit to Nesea (aka Nysa).
Lest we think that Alexander was a horse lover in general, let it be remembered that the Nesean horses (or mares, according to Arrian) were known for their excellence. This is why Alexander was there. He wasn’t interested in any old horse breed but excellent ones. Within that context, he like excellent horses such as – for example – Bucephalus.
Thus, when the Mardian tribe stole Bucephalus (D XVII.76), Alexander promised that he would lay waste to the countryside and slaughter the inhabitants unless the horse was returned. Had the Czech Republic stolen Ramzan Kadyrov’s horses and he invoked Alexander, then he would have done so truly.
Interesting. Though I don’t agree that Alex was quite so uncaring for others, personal interests are just that: Personal interests.