5 A Bronze Figure of Winged Pegasus

5 • A Bronze Figure of Winged Pegasus

Greece, early 5th century BC
Size: 7 cm long

The Earl of Gloucester in King Lear said about his bastard son Edmund that ‘there was good sport at his making’. Pegasus, the winged horse of Greek mythology, was the result of a night of passion between Poseidon and Medusa that must have been a much trickier encounter. Later he became the steed of the hero Bellerophon. Horses with wings appear in various mythologies – Buraq, for example, who carried the Prophet Muhammad on the Mi’raj – but it would be difficult to make a case for their existence outside the poetic imagination, or the transposition of revelation, any more than would be possible for the existence of centaurs. Nevertheless, their roles through mythology seem far more meaningful than the daily reporting of celebrity, fashion, even wars and their attendant atrocities.