Myths, Rumours and Equestrian Statues

A couple of weeks ago I was showing a friend from another part of Spain around Barcelona. As part of our impromptu tour we passed the statue of Ramon Berenguer III on Via Laietana. My friend asked me if I knew the significance of the fact that one of the horse’s hooves is raised. When I told him that I had no idea he told me the following:

Spanish equestrian statues follow the following simple rule: If the horse is rearing up and has 2 feet raised off the ground then the rider died in battle. If the horse has one foot raised then the rider died of injuries sustained in battle shortly after the battle ended. If the horse has all four hooves on the ground then the rider died of natural causes.

I was surprised by this but, seeing how my friend is a pretty knowledgeable guy and studied Spanish history at school I didn’t argue. A few days later I asked another friend and also checked online and it does seem to be a generally believed fact that these rules apply.

The problem is that I’ve read several biographies of Ramon Berenguer III (Also known as Ramon the Great) and they all agree that he died of natural causes in 1131 !

Statue of Ramon Berenguer III on horseback. Via Laietana Barcelona
Statue of Ramon Berenguer III on horseback. Via Laietana Barcelona

Leave a comment