Revered since the dawn of time, for both its beauty and religious symbolism, the white horse has been at the centre of world events from biblical times, to the 20th Century. Here we introduce you to the World of the White Horse, with its mystery, mysticism, imagery and history.

Apocalypse by Joanne Bird
Apocalypse by Joanne Bird, www.joannebird.com

Adopted by the Crusaders & Mediaeval Knights

First Thoughts.
In circa 275 BC the Celts expanded into Galicia now known as Anatolia in Central Turkey taking with them, we believe, their worship of Epona ( or the local varient) and veneration of the white horse. Did the early Christians co-opt the imagery of the white horse from the Celts and make it their own symbol?

The White Horse of Revelations and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
REV 6:2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

REV 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

REV 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean

When the Lamb (Jesus) opens the first four seals out of a total of seven from the scroll which he has taken from God, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse appear, the first being the white horse. The other three horses are black, red and a pale colour. The white horse signifies triumphant warfare because the four horsemen represent war and its attendant evils strife, famine and disease.(See REV 6:2 above). For interpretations of the meaning behind the four horsemen please follow the links.

The symbolism of the four horsemen has always engaged and fascinated people from artists such as Albrecht Durer to the sculptor who fashioned the four golden horses which originally were commissioned to sit atop a triumphal arch in Rome only to be moved to Byzantium later. When Byzantium became Constantinople, the four horsemen were looted by the Venetians on their way to the Fourth Crusade and finally taken to Venice where they graced St Mark's until Napoleon took a fancy to them and removed them to Paris. When Napoleon was suffering reverses and decided to curry favour with the Venetians he returned the four horses to the top of St Mark's. The ceremony, boycotted by the locals, was a total flop and the band played to an invisible audience. But, the four golden horses remain atop St Mark's to this day. Although there is no absolute proof this sculpture is of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, that is the generally held belief, and visitors to Venice in their thousands continue to enjoy their symbolism and beauty.

St George's reported appearance at Antioch in 1098 during the First Crusade
"There came out from the mountains, also, countless armies with white horses, whose standards were all white. And so, when our leaders saw this army, they were entirely ignorant as to what it was, and who they were, until they recognized the aid of Christ, whose leaders were St. George, Mercurius, and Demetrius".- Gesta Francorum

St George is always depicted riding on a white horse and is the Patron Saint of England. For the various legends surrounding St George including St George and the Dragon please follow the link.

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