Dog Headed Men – Pt 4 – Hesiod

800-700 BC – Hesiod, Catalogues of Women (from the Oxyrhynchus Papyri):

Fragment 40A :

“[The Boreades pursued the Harpyiai (Harpies)] to the lands of the Massagetai and of the proud Hemikunes (Hemicynes) (Half-Dog Men), of the Katoudaioi (Catoudaei) (Underground-Folk) . . .”

Fragment 44 :

“No one would accuse Hesiod of ignorance though he speaks of the Hemikunes (Hemicynes) (Half-Dog People) and the Makrokephaloi (Macrocephali) (Great-Headed People) and the Pygmaioi (Pygmies).”

#dogheadedmen #dogmen #hesiod #Oxyrhynchus #cynocephaly #cynocephaloi #halfdogmen #Hemikunes #Hemicynes #Makrokephaloi #Macrocephali #Boreades

ber-serkr (-s, -ir), m.

A great Blogpost from an academic.

Berserkjablogg by Dr Roderick Dale

‘bear-sark’, berserker, a wild warrior of the heathen age. (Geir T. Zoëga, A Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic)

Berserker: Hell's Warrior
Berserker: Hell’s Warrior

This chap is the subject of my thesis and will probably consititute the bulk of the posts on this blog, although anything Viking-ish is fair game. So, let’s begin by taking a quick peek at the berserkr, who he probably was and what he probably did.

The definition from Zoëga is fairly clear. ‘Bear-sark’, it’s archaic, but still clear to modern English readers; a chap that wears a bear shirt. It could be a bear’s pelt and mask or it could just be a bear’s pelt worn as clothing or armour. Presumably he killed the bear first and thus has proven that he is rather tough. I certainly believe that this meaning is the most likely one within a Viking Age Norse context, but it is not…

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Myths of the Dog-Man

The cynocephali, the Dog Headed creatures of ancient literature could well have influenced our modern conception of the Werewolf.

The cynocephali, the Dog Headed creatures of ancient literature could well have influenced our modern conception of the Werewolf.

The history of these dog-headed men (and their occasional connection to Scythian Amazon Women) is explored in David Gordon Whites book.

These Middle Ages tales reached their peak with the hugely popular Romance of Alexander accounts which were embellished by each subsequent translator, for 400 years.

Apollo the Wolf God

This Monograph uncovers a wide range of Apollo’s links to wolves, wind-wolves, werewolves, and even to the ancient fraternities of human werewolves still remembered in parts of Europe into recent centuries. It discusses the werewolf “army of the dead” that survived in Germanic folk lore as “the Wild Hunt,” so faithfully recorded by the Brothers Grimm.


This densely written Monograph by Daniel E. Gershenson also includes details of Aristotle’s Lyceum, or “wolf place”. The building was so-named because it stood close to a temple dedicated to the wolf-god Apollo, who was also the god of knowledge. Even the English fairy tale about the Three Little Pigs, in which a wolf huffed and puffed to blow their houses down, is shown to be a survival from early beliefs about wind-wolves associated with Apollo in his capacity as a wind god.


Chapter titles:

  • Apollo and the Wolf; Evidence for the Wind Wolf
  • The Wolf-name in Toponymy
  • Heroes of Greek Myth who bear the Wolf-name or partake in its wider context
  • The Dolphin and the Wolf
  • The Wolf and Death
  • Werewolf-confraternities and wind evidence
  • The Stoic Explanation of the epithet Lykeios
  • The Trial of the werewolf named Old Thies, in 1691
  • Lykos and Lykeios

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Journal of Info European Studies

UK Wolf Trust

The UK Wolf Trust aims to:

  • enhance public awareness and knowledge of wild wolves and their place in the ecosystem.
  • provide opportunities for ethological research and other research that may improve the lives of wolves both in captivity and in the wild.
  • raise money to help fund wolf related conservation projects around the world.
  • provide wolf related education programmes for young people and adults

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.