Was St Paul riding a horse on his way to Damascus?

It was pointed out to me that nowhere in the account of Pauls conversion Acts 9:1 nowhere in that account is there a mention of a horse. I say that surely he must have been on a horse. He was on a mission for the High Priest. They most certainly must have given him a horse. In those days a horse was a symbol of authority. Like a corporate jet or limo is nowdays Even so the medieval artists who depict Paul as fallen from a horse, are not inaccuate. I saw a picture of a stained glass window today depicting the conversion of Paul. In this stained glass window Paul has not only fallen to the ground but the horse also. To me that said that God had stripped Paul of all his secular authority. It also said that God had also stricken that authority down,
What say you? .

If you get authority from the Sanhedrin, they aren’t very likely to give you a horse.

In the Roman world, there wasn’t as much horseback riding as you might think.

The main issue would be pants, or rather, the lack thereof. You would either have to have a very short tunic (like a Greek youth or an Republican Roman cavalryman) which would show your legs (like a good Jewish Pharisee wouldn’t do), or you would have to wear riding trousers like a barbarian. (Scythians, Celts, Persians, later Roman cavalry.)

So a Roman person with authority on a long journey (if he didn’t want to show off his legs) usually rode in a carriage, litter, sedan chair, or maybe even a horse litter. Riding a camel could even happen, since Judea was in the East.

But the trip from Jerusalem to Damascus wasn’t all that long. Paul could walk. His legs weren’t broken. Carriages and litters and sedan chairs were often either bumpy or made you seasick, although they did keep you out of the dust of the road and kept your sandals nice and clean.

Horses sure like carrots. I wonder if they had carrots back then.

When St Paul recounted the story of his encounter with Christ in Acts 22:11 he says that his companions led him into Damascus “by the hand.” Although this doesn’t rule out a horseride, this statement rather suggests to me that they were all on foot.

150 miles from Jerusalem to Damascus, bro.

Ten days of walking.

And Saul got his authority from the High Priest himself. I doubt that the full Sanhedrin would have supported or approved going after the Christians in any situation at that time.

In a late crucifixion dating scheme, the year would have been late A.D. 37.

According to one theory, Hagan’s in “Fires of Rome”, Caiaphas was expressly REMOVED by Syrian President Vitellius, who was in Jerusalem for the Passover of A.D. 36, for his high-handed crucifixion of Jesus, with Pilate being put on notice.

So it can be concluded that Saul’s mission to arrest the Christians and return them to Jerusalem, or just cause them trouble was a “black ops” mission and done without full favor of the Sanhedrin.

Working somewhat against the horse assumption is that Saul probably traveled with several other like-minded thugs in a loose gang. But the circumstantial evidence favors horses. If the Jews were wealthy enough, they would ride horses and certainly the problems with bare legs and other cultural considerations could have been easily handled.

Fulton Oursler

I believe that the relevant point is that St. Paul was changed by his encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanks be to the Lord!

I’m sorry but I guess I’m missing some point. What relevance does it have if Paul had or did not have a horse that day?

If he was riding anything, it was more likely a donkey than a horse, led by someone in his party who would have been on foot. However, there is no evidence one way or the other from Sacred Scripture. My take is that he and his posse were all walking.

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I like the donkey idea. Donkeys were significant symbols to the Jews of that day. Jesus entered Jerusalem on a white donkey. For me Pauls conversion is much more significant if he falls from a position of authority.

There’s no evidence for that either. Anyway, if Saul was riding a donkey, then we can say that God knocked him off his . . . umm, never mind.

What was St. Paul riding on? I dunno, but everyone knows the apostles pooled in a Honda (“the Apostles were in one Accord”). In this they followed Christ’s example, who generally did not like to speak of His car (“I do not speak of my own Accord”).

Oh, and Our Lady drove a Fiat. :smiley:


Most religious art is full of symbolism, not necessarily depicted exactly as a photograph would be (and for that matter, most photographs don’t tell the whole story, either). Whether he was actually riding a horse or not does not make the art “inaccurate,” because the point of the art was not necessarily to give an historical account of exactly what happened in detail. It’s often meant to depict an event, yes, but also to tell a story, show the meaning of the event.

I think he was probably walking, but I also don’t think it really matters. That’s not the point of the story. The meaning I take from those verses, the event itself, isn’t going to change whether he was riding a horse or a donkey or just walking. :shrug:


lol :slight_smile:

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