What Did a Horse Symbolize in Ancient Greece?

In ancient Greece, the horse was more than just a means of transportation. It symbolized power, strength, and speed. The Greeks were known for their love of horses and horsemanship, which was evident in their art and literature.

Symbolism in Mythology

Greek mythology is full of stories that highlight the importance of horses. One such story is that of Pegasus, the winged horse.

According to legend, Pegasus was born from the blood of Medusa when she was beheaded by Perseus. Pegasus became a symbol of creativity, inspiration, and wisdom.

Another famous horse in Greek mythology was Arion, who was said to be able to communicate with humans. Arion’s ability to speak made him a sought-after commodity, as he could provide valuable knowledge and guidance.

Horses in Olympic Games

The Greeks also had a deep respect for horses in sports. The Olympic Games were not just about human athletes but also included equestrian events. These competitions included chariot races and horse races.

The winners of these events were highly respected and celebrated in their communities. The horses themselves were often praised for their speed, agility, and endurance.

The Role of Horses in Battle

Horses played a crucial role in ancient Greek warfare as well. They were used heavily for transportation and as cavalry units during battles. The speed and power of these animals made them invaluable on the battlefield.

One famous example is the Trojan Horse – a wooden horse that was used by the Greeks to infiltrate Troy during the Trojan War. This strategy would not have been possible without horses.


In conclusion, horses held great significance in ancient Greek culture. They symbolized power, strength, speed, creativity, inspiration, wisdom, and were highly valued for their use in sports and warfare.

Their importance can be seen in the stories of mythology, the inclusion of equestrian events in the Olympics, and their use in battle. The Greeks’ love for horses is evident in their art and literature, and their legacy continues to influence modern horse culture to this day.