Fantasy Creature Friday – Mares of Diomedes!

August 28, 2015 Discussions 4

What is Fantasy Creature Friday? It’s a discussion where I will talk about a particular creature every week. And what book or book series I think of when that creature is mentioned. At the end of the post, you will also get to link up your own fantasy creature book reviews and discussions for others to wander through.


This weeks creature are the:


Mares of Diomedes!


The Mares of Diomedes, also called the Mares of Thrace, were 4 man-eating horses from Greek mythology. They were wild and uncontrollable, and belonged to a giant named Diomedes. He was King of Thrace and the son of Ares and Cyrene. Alexander the Great’s horse is said to be descended from one of these 4 mares.

Their names were Podargos, which means ‘the swift’; Lampon which means ‘the shining’; Xanthos which means ‘the yellow’; and Deinos which means ‘the terrible’.

Some say they expelled fire with every breath. They were uncontrollable due to eating human flesh. In some stories, Heracles steals them, and after killing Diomedes, feeds the king’s flesh to the horses. Thus making them calmer and while still untamed, easier to move around without being killed. Their descendants were said to be used during the Trojan War.

I hadn’t realized there were actual, named meat-eating horses. But I have read about such creatures before in the following books: The Elvenborn by Mercedes Lackey, Storm Siren by Mary Weber.


Had you heard of meat-eating horses before? What is your favorite book with a meat-eating horse in it?



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4 Responses to “Fantasy Creature Friday – Mares of Diomedes!”

  1. Lola

    Another fantasy creature I’ve never heard of before. Really meat eating horses? That sounds so disturbing and I kinda wonder why authors don’t use these more often. Sounds like these would work well in a fantasy or horror books.
    Lola recently posted…Lola’s Kitchen: Naan RecipeMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      I’ve read about them in a few books, I know I’ve forgotten to list some of them. It’s always kind of neat to come across them since it’s more unusual. The meat-eating horses in the Mercedes Lackey trilogy are actually unicorns. So that made it doubly neat to read about. (Though they’re not called unicorns, think she used Alicorn which is not the same creature really…)

  2. Rindis

    I don’t know your reference (Diomedes). Greek mythology continues to be a weak point for me, even though I enjoy it. (Argh! One of the labors of Heracles! Now I really feel stupid.)

    But I have come across meat-eating horses. The hrulgin in Edding’s Belgariad, look a lot like horses, but have claws instead of hooves and the incisors of a meat-eater. They’re also, as a species, insane (backstory reasons). I’m sure I’ve seen the idea elsewhere since, but I’m having trouble placing it right now.
    Rindis recently posted…Merchants of ConquestMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      *laughs* Don’t feel stupid! I hadn’t even known there were named meat-eating horses until I went to write up this post! I’ve come across such creatures before, just not realized they were actually in mythology.

      And I can’t believe I forgot about the hrulgin! I’ve read all the books in that series, though it has been years since I last read them.

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