The Birth of Xanthus and Balius
To this day, “The Birth of Xanthus and Balius” remains one of my favorite stories, and consequently, one of my favorite paintings.
It was inspired by the story that appears in Homer’s Iliad, in which Achilles horses have been killed on the battlefield, and he is unable to continue the fight. He calls upon the gods to help him.
The Western Wind, Zephyr, hears Achilles plea. The Wind conjures his immortal sons, the horses Xanthus and Balius, up from the dust to pull Achilles chariot.
“The Wind Breathed into the Horses Great Strength;
The Two Shook the Dust from their Manes and Raced Away.”