Well, it’s weekend – woot 🙂 I’m heading back to England to visit family today, so looking forward to being able to have a catch up. Before that though, it’s the letter G here today (anyone feeling a little bit like they’re on Sesame Street lol?). I’m a bit fan of mythology and it often inspires my writing. Wolves feature in lots of different mythologies around the world, and today we’re going to look at the Ancient Greeks.
The most famous Greek wolfie myth is that of King Lycaon of Arcadia. There are varying accounts of Lycaon as a king, with some calling him vicious and cruel while others claim he was a cultural leader, founding a great city of Lycosuras and starting the tradition of the Lycaean Games. Whichever may be true, the story goes that Zeus, the king of the Gods, came to visit King Lycaon and at the start of the visit made many demonstrations of his divine nature.
Lycaon was unconvinced by this and sought to ‘test’ his omniscience by sacrificing a child and mixing the flesh in with the meat that was being served to Zeus at the feast. Some versions claim that it was the king’s own son Nyctimus, while others say it was a young captive being held in the palace dungeons. Either way, Zeus was not fooled and was furious at what had been done. Furious he rained lightning bolts down from the sky, killing most of the king’s sons instantly. King Lycaon himself, and any of his sons who survived, were turned into wolves as punishment for what they had done. Nyctimus was brought back to life, and as the sole remaining heir, succeeded his father as King of Arcadia.
It is thought that this myth is the origin of the term ‘lycanthrope’, meaning werewolf (coming from the Greek words lykos meaning wolf and anthropos meaning man).
In other Greek myths wolves would often appear. Charon, the ferryman to the underworld, wore wolf ears. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the goddess Ishtar had the power to turn enemies into wolves. While, Hecate, the goddess of Death, was shown as wearing three wolf heads. The Athenians in particular had great respect for the wolf and it was law that any man who killed one had to pay for the animal’s funeral.
Take care x