The four horses of the Apocalypse: white, red, black, and ….. ? (Rev. 6:8)


The first three horses are white, red, and black. No disagreement there. But I have a question about the “pale” color of the fourth horse. In John’s Greek, the color is χλωρός (chloros), which means pale green, “the color of a corpse,” according to one commentary, though the next time the same Greek word appears in Revelation, it’s just green, the color of grass: … burning up a third part of earth, burning up a third of the trees, burning up all the green grass on it (Rev. 8:7), in Ronald Knox’s translation. But in Rev. 6:8, the color of the fourth horse, according to Knox, is “cream-white.” What is going on here? And in the Vulgate, why is χλωρός translated as viridis when it’s the color of grass but as pallidus when it’s the color of the fourth horse?


I think that χλωρός connects with χξϛ, 666. They start and end the same. A word for “wisdom” in Greek is ριωσ, which complements. χξϛ + ριωσ => χλωρός.

Rev 13.18
Here is wisdom (ριωσ) . Let him that hath understanding add the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is χξϛ.

It is described as a number so that ϛ.is pronounced “ST” rather that “S”.
“If any man have an ear, let him hear.”

χξϛ + ριωσ = ? (A man, mortally wounded but lived to the wonder of the world.)

In my scenario of the Seven Seals, the fourth horseman is Iova/Zeus.
“If any man have an ear, let him hear.”

I will leave it to you to put the pieces together.


The Navarre Bible volume for Revelation (which uses the Revised Standard Version) translates this passage as “a pale horse, and its rider’s name was death”. The note for the eighth verse says: “‘Pale horse’: the fourth horse has a strange color, which some translate as greenish or ashen; it probably means a death-like colour [sic]. Death is personified by the horse’s sinister rider; this symbol is reinforced by his companion Hades or Sheol, the dark abode of the dead (cf. Rev 1:18). . . .”


Pale is the color of impending death


In Koine Greek, what would be the usual word for “deathly pale”? Would it be chloros ?


Welcome to the wonderful world of linguistic differences in color mapping, or in tones which are considered alike!

“Chloros” is a springlike yellow-green, or a pale green, or a yellow, or any pale color from yellow up to white. It is used differently in phrases about leaves, skin, human hair, and horse colors.

So first off, let’s think about human hair colors. “Chloros” was used to describe a blond, or someone with fair or flaxen hair – anything short of a platinum blonde, basically.

In horses, it can be used for a yellow color that’s more yellow than dun, or for a pretty golden palomino, or for that yellowish-whitish cream color in horses that isn’t the same as gray or white.

It also shows up in the name of chlorine gas, which is a bright yellow!

OTOH, it can be used in skin colors for a beautiful or frightened pallor; but Greek medical writers used it to describe both an unhealthy pallor and a bilious yellow skin (as in jaundice).

It can also be used metaphorically to mean something fresh and blooming and spring-like, or green wood (that isn’t dried), or green fruit (that isn’t ripe). It can even mean something that is sparkling and bright.

In Latin, “viridis” is all about greenery of this sort of vigorous growth. But “pallidus” is often used for horses of some pale color between yellow and white.

If you are interested in Latin horse colors, the Etymologiae of St. Isidore of Seville will set you up. That portion is translated, with enviable liveliness, by T.H. White in his Book of Beasts.


There’s a lot of fun with the Revelation horse colors, and with the Zechariah horse colors too.

For example, some translations have “rufus” and some have “roseus” for the red horse. Rufus is red or reddish yellow; but roseus is a pink or light red color, or in horses, a red sorrel. The Greek is “pyrros,” literally fire-red, but it also can mean red or reddish yellow, or even tawny yellow. Redheads are “pyrros.”

“Albus” is a silver-white, not just white. “Leukos” is white for horses, but with a connotation of brightness or clarity. In humans, it is white or gray hair.

Latin “niger” is just black, but in a horse it connotes having black skin as well as black hair; a black-haired horse with pink skin is really a very dark “brown,” which has been borne out by DNA studies of color genes in horses. The Greek for black is “melas,” from which we get “melanin.”

Hope this helped!


@Jezra, @Hunho, @Dlee, @Mintaka, Thank you all for your contributions. This is turning out to be a more complex inquiry than I had expected. It’s intriguing. Please keep them coming!

In the meantime, I have been looking at the ways chloros is used in the Septuagint. It occurs fifteen times, nearly always as the color of grass, pasture, crops, trees, woodlands, forests, or greenery in general, as here in Gen. 30:37, in Ronald Knox’s translation:

Jacob, then, left in charge of the rest of the flocks, did this. He took green branches of poplar, and almond, and plane, and partly peeled them; so that (now the bark had gone) the white shewed through where they had been stripped, whereas the parts he had left untouched remained green; everywhere the colour was varied.

The other references are:

Gen. 1:30, 2:5

Ex. 10:15

Num. 22:4

Deut. 29:23

2 Kings 19:26

Job 39:8

Prov. 27:25

Isaiah 15:6, 19:7, 27:11, 37:27

Ezek. 17:24, 20:47

There seem to be one or two exceptions which I need to look at more carefully, but I won’t have time this evening. More details tomorrow.


maybe palomino or one of those wonderful Akhal Teke colours


A short tale about the pale horse of the Apocalypse.


I thought I’d found a difficult verse in the Septuagint with chloros, but it isn’t really. It’s this sentence in Gen. 1: 30,

ὃ ἔχει ἐν ἑαυτῷ ψυχὴν ζωῆς πάντα χόρτον χλωρὸν εἰς βρῶσιν

which Knox translates as:

… here all that lives shall find its nourishment.

Knox seems to be making an effort to keep his translation short and snappy. The literal translation of χόρτον χλωρὸν would be “green field” or “green yard,” where the original Hebrew has “every green plant.” So the word still means just “green,” in the usual sense of the color of grass, crops, and trees.


Behold a vision, otjm.



How strange! How unBiblical! This green horse (calf? deer? goat?) doesn’t look the least bit scary or sinister. Something wrong here! I hate to say this, but the author of Revelation wouldn’t approve of this artistic interpretation of his words.


We have to remember that, when translating the Bible, St. Jerome was fluent in Koine Greek. We only know the language in the direct context of the Bible. In all languages, there are sometimes a word with different meaning which don’t translate exactly when used in different contexts. I believe St. Jerome was using the death-like connotations of pallidus more than the literal translation in this case, whereas chloros (sorry, don’t have Greek letters on my phone) in other instances was used simply as a shade of green.


This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit