Horses played an important role in the life of Ariane of Europe. Ariane had several horses, including the stallion Skinfaxi, who looked something like this:

pen drawing, 17th century, collection British Museum, London, England

(The proud stallion Skinfaxi is very similar to this Arabian stallion)

Without her proud stallion Skinfaxi, Ariane would be nowhere.

The faithful animal carried Ariane all over Crete. Today we call Crete an island, but in Ariadne's time people did not, because the country was considered too big for that.

At that time (around 1500 BC) Crete was widely known as the country of the 100 cities. In fact, it had about 162 different settlements.

At the beginning of the novel, Ariane stays with her uncle Sarpedon in Tamara, now called Mália, about 40 km. away from her home town of Knossos. Ariane easily covered such a distance with the help of her horse Skinfaxi. That took her about an afternoon of riding.

Although Skinfaxi was not afraid of anything, he always looked a bit surprised when he encountered the Talos. This bronze giant, over 30 meters long, walked three times a day along the beaches of Crete, to protect Europe from enemy invaders. The Talos instinctively knew whether the ships approaching the island meant evil. If that was the case, the Talos broke off a piece of a rock and threw it at the approaching ship to prevent it from mooring.

The Talos was not immortal, and was killed by the Argonauts, who found out where his Achilles tendon lay.

The end of the Talos is described by Apollonius Rhodius (Greek writer 3rd century BC.) in his Argonautica 4, p. 1638 a.o. " His body and limbs were brutal and invulnerable, except for one point: under a tendon near his ankle, there was a blood-red vein protected only by thin skin, which meant life or death for him. ” (vertaling Rieu).

Although some adverse thinkers nowadays believe that horses are not suitable for carrying people on their backs, Skinfaxi had no problem tolerating Ariadne on his back. Ariadne weighed no more than about 60 kg., which felt like a feather to the mighty stallion. Skinfaxi enjoyed taking long trips with the beautiful princess on his back, and Ariane always took good care of him.

My dear wife Suzan has written a nice article about the criticism that some people have on horse riding: see (in Dutch)

In chapter 33 a horse race is described, in which the participants compete hard with a pair of horses and a chariot to be the first to cross the finish line. The race is intensively portrayed, and the reader imagines himself a spectator at this historical event that took place in the imagination of the author some 35 centuries ago.