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""On the field of Lützen on the same day / Gustavus..." Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2016 9:18 p.m. PST

… Adolphus lay in his blood." – The Death of the Leu von Mitternacht.

"And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider's name was Death, and Hades followed him. Like many other creatures great and small of mythological significance to the Indo-Europeans, greys experienced a bit of a revaluation under the new management of the Christian symbol system. Once, though, white horses were held sacred from the steppes of Central Asia to the hills of the Berkshire Downs where "The White Horse of the White Horse Vale / Was cut out of the grass", as Chesterton once put it, "before the gods that made the gods". And while deities like Odin, Indra and Svantovit rode them as well as Persian kings, Celtic fertility goddesses and Greek heroes and white horses were sent as messengers to propitiate the gods before battle by Romans, the Norse, Huns and Magyars, greys never lost their ambiguous connotation of being bearers of bad tidings and ghostly apparitions. When Streiff galloped out of the November mist and gun-smoke of battle, the king's charger, riderless and smeared in blood, running between the front lines, offered a spectacle of epic proportions on many archetypical levels. Even if Streiff wasn't a grey at all, as popular iconography and history painting have it, but a chestnut. The "Lion of the North", King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, champion of the Protestant cause in the Thirty Years' War, did own a grey once, though, but the horse was shot under him during a reconnaissance ride near Ingolstadt after the Battle of Rain on the River Lech in the spring of the year, where Count Tilly fell, then the commander of the Imperials and the Catholic League before Wallenstein took over. The year before, Gustav Adolf already had acquired his Oldenburg chestnut charger from Johann Streiff von Lauenstein, one of his cavalry colonels, for a thousand riksdalers, at least ten times the price of a war horse. Ironically enough, the gift of an Oldenburg stallion by a breeder near Celle once prevented Tilly from sacking the stud farm and Gustavus' horse shot at Ingolstadt, probably another Oldenburg, was recovered by the Bavarians after the siege was raised and the town had become the first fortress that held against a Swedish army during the Thirty Years' War. The "Schwedenschimmel", the Swedish grey of Gustavus Adolphus, was taxidermied as a trophy and is now the Europe's oldest stuffed animal, on exhibition in the city museum of Ingolstadt. Streiff, Europe's second oldest specimen so preserved, would suffer a similar fate…."



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Puster Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2016 3:11 a.m. PST

Makes me remember that Graf Anton Günther kept Oldenburg out of the mess of the 30year war – not least by supplying all sides lavishly with horses.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2016 10:46 a.m. PST



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