First Traces of Wolves and Men

The earliest Wolves depicted.

The fact that there are several words for ‘wolf’ of Common Indo-European date shows that the wolf was widespread throughout the Indo-European territory. It also indicates its cultic and ritual significance, which is clearly attested in the oldest Indo-European traditions.

– Indo European and the Indo-Europeans, Gamkrelidze & Ivanov.

The early Indo European (IE) words for wolf and their strong presence 10,000 years later is one of the first key indicators of the cultural resonance of Wolves and the Wolf.

Early domesticated dogs can be seen in murals from the Çatalhöyük site in modern day Turkey which has been dated at approximately 7000 years old.

The mural known as the ‘Shrine of the Hunters’ also possibly shows the beginnings of a ritualised form of hunt that becomes a recurring theme in subsequent Indo European daughter cultures. 

(Wolf/dog in mural detail from, “Shrine of the hunters”, Çatalhöyük, as reconstructed by James Wellaart)

The hunters/warriors are nude save for a clearly depicted (ritual?) belt. The hunters’ prey, a gargantuan auroch, is surrounded on all sides by the hunters as well as smaller animals that look remarkably like domesticated wolves. The animals are hunting side-by side with warriors.

Even further back in time, Mesolithic images of men hunting with wolves, have been found in the prehistoric rock paintings of Tassili N’Ajjer. The images have been dated to c.11,000 BCE.

Further cave paintings of hunters and domesticated canines have been found at Tadrart Acacus.

(Rock art depicting man hunting with dogs. Tadrart Acacus, Libya. © Peter Boekamp)

(Hunter and dog, detail of image from Tadrart Acacus, Libya)

However the earliest image of a wolf can be found in the font De gaume cave in the Dordogne area of France. The images date from the Magdalenian period approximately 15,000 BCE

It is also from this approximate culture that the first symbolic image of a half-animal/half-man figure is found. 

Often described as “The Sorcerer”, the image is in the cavern known as ‘The Sanctuary’ at the Cave of the Trois-Frères, Ariège, France.

The subtlety in the image is hard to discern in the photograph above, however artist Henri Breuil sketched a more vivid image in the 1920s:-

While accuracy of the image has been questioned, its authenticity was confirmed by Jean Clottes as recently as 2011.

If it is a human in a horned head-dress, it’s parallels with the antler headdresses found at StarCarr are unmistakable. 

Борз – The Chechen Wolf

The Wolf is the national animal of the Chechen nation. The symbolic and metaphorical associations of the wolf stretch deep into Chechen history with many positive idiomatic uses of wolf.

Turpalo-Noxchuo the mythical founder of the Chechen people was raised by a wolf-mother or she-wolf, which bares striking parallels to Apollo, and also Romulus and Remus.

In “Chechens a Handbook” Amjad Jaimoukha adds an even more intriguing detail:

According to mythology, god had created sheep for the wolf to enjoy, but man tricked it out of its ‘patrimony’, so it had to resort to ruse and robbery to reclaim its right. The cult of the wolf was widespread in olden times, and the observance of its day, Saturday, afforded immunity from lupine raids on one’s ovine stock.

Vainakh peoples held the belief that the tail and tendons of wolves held magical properties. Wolf teeth and bones crafted into amulets, were hung around the necks of children as a protection from disease, malevolent spirits and evil eyes.

#borz #vainakh #ingush #Nokhchiy #нохчий #noxçiy, #нахчой #naxçoy #Durdzuks #დურძუკები #Kists #ქისტები #КистӀий #turpalo-noxchuo #turpalonoxchuo

The 80 yr old Livonian Werewolf Shaman

Theiss of Kaltenburg was an 80 year old man of Livonia, tried for heresy in the late 17th century.

He claimed to be part of benign cult of Werewolves who fought the devil and brought back stolen grain and property.

The judges in the case did not agree with his defence, and he was sentenced to flogging and banishment.

Historian Carlo Ginzberg, in his 1966 paper “The Night Battles: Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries” suggested this was linked to the agrarian Benandanti cult of Northern Italy. He further theorised that it was evidence of an ancient shamanic shape shifting cult.

Unfortunately an interesting story does not always make for the best theory and Ginzbergs intriguing hypothesis has been strongly criticised; most notably by Dutch historian Willem De Blécourt in his 2007 paper “A Journey to Hell: Reconsidering the Livonian “Werewolf””.

However, recently Bruce Lincoln gave a measured reappraisal of the notion. In his 2015 Hayes-Robinson lecture ‘The Werewolf, the Shaman, and the Historian: Rethinking the Case of “Old Thiess” after Carlo Ginzburg’

Full audio of Lincoln’s lecture can be found here:-

Boundaries of Wilderness and Civilisation

This intriguing book by Hans Peter Duerr was a slightly controversial bestseller in its time, but includes a fascinating perspective on Medieval Werewolves.

Duerr posits the theory that those accused of witchcraft, possession and werewolf behaviour in early modern Christianity were actually having hallucinogenic visionary journeys with the aid of a herbal salve.

Although mostly dismissed by anthropologists, its contemporary sales likely had a larger impact on the emerging pagan culture, in a similar same way to Margaret Murray’s 1921 Witch Cult in Western Europe.

The author also readily admits to esoteric practices, in an opening statement that warns the reader not to try and make their own salves.

In the past few years, I have frequently received letters from readers expressing interest in the composition and dose of witches’ salves. I have also found in the American ‘freak’ literature totally irresponsible ‘recipes’ that were praised as ‘tickets’ California-style. I discussed the matter with some nightshade spirits who are friends of mine, and they asked me to transmit the following to the readers of this book:

1 They do not want to be called just for fun or out of craziness. If they feel like striking up a friendship, they will let the respective person know.

2 The tickets they issue are often one-way, singles i.e.: the return part is missing.

This sort of admission is either a positive or negative recommendation depending upon one’s view of the mystical.

Nevertheless the chapter topics alone should prove enticing to those interested in werewolves

  1. Witches’ Salves: for Flying to the Sabbat or into the Trap of the Demon?
  2. From the Lioness of Women to the Night Travellers
  3. The Vagina of the Earth and Venus Mountain
  4. Wild Women and Werewolves
  5. The Bedevilling of the Senses, especially those of Women
  6. Wolves, Death and the Island of Ethnographers
  7. The Upside-down World or ‘Pot in Every Chicken’
  8. A Midsummernight’s Dream?
  9. Fear of Flying
  10. The Half-truths of the Coyote or Castaneda and the Altered States of America
  11. Dreamtime and Dream Journey
  12. Road Bilong Science

Most surprising of all is the notes and bibliography which comprise nearly half the book!

Published in Germany in 1978, Felicitas Goodmans English translation was published in 1985.

Indo European Wolves – 3

“The sign of the wolf (or the wolf-pack) is clear enough in Greek age set confraternities such as the Athenian ejhbeia and the Spartan krupreia the adolescents in these peer- groups prepared for full warriorhood by behaviour that was exactly reversed from the norm: they prowled at night, were hidden and covert in their actions, used trick, trap, stratagem and ambush and all the techniques forbidden to the true adult warrior-hoplite, in his daylight discipline.

“However, these young warriors-in-training eventually would be reintegrated into their societies, while a “wolfish” activity or character, from Hittite times on (but especially well illustrated in the Germanic sources) defined an outlaw, one whose crimes had put him outside society, and who can be hunted like the wolf, i.e., be both “killer” and “to be killed”; cf. Germanic warg. Werewolf or man-wolf activity may not be simply solitary, as shown by a widely-recurring belief in destructive, night-roaming bands or confraternities of lycanthropes who had abjured the laws of society.

“These “secret bands” have also been connected to the German Wilde Jagd or Wutende Heer, legendary affiliates of Death and the Devil, and instances of bloodthirsty and destructive werewolf bands are also known in the Iranian sources and in Baltic and Slavic folklore.”

Excerpted from “Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture” edited by J. P. Mallory, Douglas Q. Adams

Image is by Svartvarg on deviantart (deactivated)

Indo European Wolves – 2

?*𝗱𝗵𝗼́𝗵𝗮a𝘂𝘀 (gen. *dhh̥aṷós) ‘± wolf’. Phrygian – δἀος ‘wolf’, Greek – θώς‘jackal; wild dog; panther’. Latin and Greek show a derivative with a new full-grade, * dhéhau-nos: Latin – faunus ‘deity of forests and herdsmen’ (whose feast was part of the Lupercalia), Greek (Hesychius) θἀῡνον ‘± wild animal, beast; the constellation Lupus’ (compare the neo-Latin derivative in New Modern English – fauna). In both Latin and Greek there is at least the possibility that *dhéhaunos had some reference to wolves. Perhaps a late dialect word in PIE-originally an epithet for wolves or other large carnivores. Often, though not compellingly, related to Old Church Slavonic – daviti ‘strangle’. The latter may better be related to New Modern English – die, etc.

Excerpted from “Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture” edited by J. P. Mallory, Douglas Q. Adams

Image is a detail from a poster for Valhalla Rising – original poster is by Scott Wool and can be found here:-

Scott Wool

Indo European Wolves – 1

*𝗵²/³𝘂̭𝗲́𝗱𝗿̥ (gen. *𝗵²/³𝘂̭𝗲́𝗱𝗻𝗼𝘀) ‘creatures, (wild) animals, wolves’. ref. GI 413 (weit’-n-); Puhvel 3:355]. Old Norse vitnir « *h2/3ṷedni̭os) ‘animal; wolf’, Hittite – huetar (gen. huetnas, pI. huitar) ‘creatures, (wild) animals, wolfpack’. Though only certainly attested in these two stocks, the archaic heteroclitic stem argues strongly for PIE antiquity Probably from *h2ṷed- ‘be alive’, otherwise seen only in Luvian. Possibly belonging here too are certain Slavic words for werewolf: Slav vedanec (- vedomee – vedavee) ‘werewolf’, Ukr vis̆c̆un ‘werewolf’, Old Czech vĕdi (pI.) ‘she-werewolves’, though particularly in Ukrainian this word has been subject to phonological deformation. The agreement of Germanic and Hittite would seem to assure a reconstructed meaning ‘(wild) animal’ but the association with ‘wolf’ is obviously very old (as the ‘wild animal par excellence’?).

Excerpted from “Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture” edited by J. P. Mallory, Douglas Q. Adams

Image is “Away” by Sergey Demidov his work here

Hittite Wolf Warriors

“Wolves in a snowstorm”, c. 1900 by Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski (1849 – 1915) a Polish painter of the Munich School

Excerpted from “𝘈 𝘏𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘈𝘯𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘭 𝘞𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘈𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘕𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘌𝘢𝘴𝘵” edited by Billie Jean Collins.

𝘈𝘭𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘯𝘰 𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘳 𝘢 𝘯𝘦𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘷𝘪𝘷𝘢𝘭, 𝘩𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘴𝘢𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘻𝘦𝘥 𝘤𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘣𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘦𝘯𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘢𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘰𝘧𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘪𝘵𝘭𝘦𝘴 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 “𝘣𝘦𝘢𝘳-𝘮𝘢𝘯,” “𝘭𝘪𝘰𝘯-𝘮𝘢𝘯,” “𝘸𝘰𝘭𝘧-𝘮𝘢𝘯,” “𝘭𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘥-𝘮𝘢𝘯,” 𝘢𝘯𝘥 “𝘥𝘰𝘨-𝘮𝘢𝘯,” 𝘧𝘶𝘳𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘧𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘩𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘏𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘴.

𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘒𝘐.𝘓𝘈𝘔 𝘍𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘢𝘭 𝘣𝘦𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘴 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦 “𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘭𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘨𝘰𝘥𝘴”… 𝘐𝘯 𝘢 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘭 𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 “𝘥𝘰𝘨-𝘮𝘦𝘯” 𝘰𝘳 “𝘩𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴” 𝘧𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘰𝘸.

𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘧𝘶𝘯𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘷𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘥. 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘥𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦 (𝘸𝘰𝘭𝘧-𝘮𝘦𝘯, 𝘣𝘦𝘢𝘳-𝘮𝘦𝘯), 𝘳𝘶𝘯 (𝘸𝘰𝘭𝘧-𝘮𝘦𝘯), 𝘣𝘢𝘳𝘬 (𝘥𝘰𝘨-𝘮𝘦𝘯), 𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨 (𝘥𝘰𝘨-𝘮𝘦𝘯), 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘴𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘢𝘥𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘦𝘴. 𝘉𝘶𝘵 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘤𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘱𝘳𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘳𝘺 𝘧𝘶𝘯𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘰𝘭𝘦-𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘺 𝘪𝘯 𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦…

#hittite #indoeuropean #protoindoeuropean #wolfmen #dogmen #wolves #hunters #anunuwa #ironaxe

𝗙𝗿𝗮𝘂𝗲𝗻𝗯𝘂𝗻𝗱 – 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝟭 – 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗹𝗲 𝗪𝗼𝗹𝗳 𝗖𝘂𝗹𝘁?

There is strong circumstantial evidence to suggest that a female analogue to the männerbund existed…

There is strong circumstantial evidence to suggest that a female analogue to the männerbund existed amongst the Proto-Indo European peoples and continued in their daughter cultures, such as the Ancient Greeks.

The Frauenbund, if it did exist, is unlikely to have been a female warrior group, in the sense of the ritualised adolescence of the early männerbund structure. (Although the Scythians did reputedly have female warriors).

The connection to women and Wolves in the earliest Greek myths suggests a very different identity for this hypothetical Frauenbund.

The recurring aspect of female mythic identity in early Greek myths is that of spells/magic/incantation or some kind mysticism.

It is therefore likely in the Proto indo european era that while adolescent boys were living outside the village and learning war and ritual, adolescent girls were learning the equivalent rituals of medicine/herb-lore.

An education in end-of-life care would also likely have been a core component of this education, given the recurrent Goddesses/death/wolves connection.

The (admittedly circumstantial) evidence for the Frauenbund will be posted on the usual 𝗢𝗳 𝗪𝗼𝗹𝗳 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗠𝗮𝗻 𝗕𝗼𝗼𝗸 social media over the coming days/weeks.

Sarmatian Wolf Torque

This torc found in an undisturbed Tumulus clearly shows anthropomorphic figures with Wolf Heads battling a dragon or serpent.

Discovered in a first-century AD Sarmatian Kobyakovo tumulus (see Prokhorova 1994).

This open-work gold torque, still awaiting a comprehensive analysis of its mythological and cultic significance, features the repeated scene of a battle between a dragon and two monstrous canine-headed and canine-legged warriors, wearing armor and fighting with a club.

Since there are two warriors, one fighting the dragon from the front and the other from the rear, they probably symbolize a group of werewolves or wolves wearing armor. Dragon fight, as Wikander (1938) and Widengren (1969) show, is a classical feature of Männerbund mythology, especially among the Iranians.

The club, a most primitive weapon, characterizes the Männerbund as a pristine warrior band (Wikander 1938, Widengren 1969). Thus, the Kobyakov torque appears to feature a scene from the mythology of warrior societies.

Source: adapted from “The Supreme Gods of the Bosporan Kingdom” by Yulia Ustinova.