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At the end of Book XIX of The Iliad we find that Achilles's horse spontaneously begins talking to him:

Automedon, whip in hand, sprang up behind the horses, and after him Achilles mounted in full armour, resplendent as the sun-god Hyperion. Then with a loud voice he chided with his father’s horses saying, “Xanthus and Balius, famed offspring of Podarge—this time when we have done fighting be sure and bring your driver safely back to the host of the Achaeans, and do not leave him dead on the plain as you did Patroclus.”

Then fleet Xanthus answered under the yoke—for white-armed Juno had endowed him with human speech—and he bowed his head till his mane touched the ground as it hung down from under the yoke-band. “Dread Achilles,” said he, “we will indeed save you now, but the day of your death is near, and the blame will not be ours, for it will be heaven and stern fate that will destroy you. Neither was it through any sloth or slackness on our part that the Trojans stripped Patroclus of his armour; it was the mighty god whom lovely Leto bore that slew him as he fought among the foremost, and vouchsafed a triumph to Hector. We two can fly as swiftly as Zephyrus who they say is fleetest of all winds; nevertheless it is your doom to fall by the hand of a man and of a god.”

In the Bible (Numbers 22) there is also an account of someone's steed spontaneously talking to him:

Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a fool of me. I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you.” And the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? Is it my habit to treat you this way?” And he said, “No.”

In both of these cases, a steed which had heretofore apparently been a regular mute animal spontaneously begins to speak to its master. In both instances as well it is described as a specific Divine act granting speech to the animal.

This leads me to wonder if there is any connection between these passages. Is it just a coincidence that two ancient texts have similar scenes? Was one perhaps inspired by the other? Was this merely a typical trope in ancient literature? Has this parallel been discussed in subsequent literary analysis?

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