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loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Friday, July 10, 2009

50 dogs, one hunter - a classic tragedy

And I mean "classic" in the old sense: this is a post on the dogs of the hunter Actaeon of Greek mythology. It was he who, hunting with his pack of dogs in the woods, came across the goddess Artemis (Diana, in the Roman version) bathing. She was the most chaste and modest of goddesses, and forbade him to say any word or call any attention to the situation. But speak he did, and in her anger she changed him into a stag, whereupon his dogs did their job and tore him apart.

There were, by legend, fifty of them. And in 1898 E. Cobham Brewer, in his Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, actually listed their names (I do not know why the apostrophes, though I imagine it's an old-school nicety of translation):

Alc (strength), Amaryn’thos (from Amary’thia, in Eubœa), As’bolos (soot - colour), Ban’os, Bor’eas, Can’ach (ringwood), Chediæ’tros, Cisse’ta, Co’ran (cropped, crop-eared), Cyllo (halt), Cyllop’ots (zig-zag runner), Cyp’rios (the Cyprian), Draco (the dragon), Drom’as (the courser), Dro’mios (seize-’em), Ech’nobas, Eu’dromos (good-runner), Har’pal (voracious), Harpie’a (tear-’em), Ichnob’at (track-follower), La’bros (furious), Lacæna (lioness), Lach’n (glossy-coated), Lacon (Spartan), La’don (from Ladon, in Arca’dia), Lælaps (hurricane), Lampos (shining-one), Leu’cos (grey), Lycis’ca, Lynce’a, Mach’imos (boxer), Melamp (black), Melanche’t (black-coat), Melan’ea (black), Menele’a, Molossos (from Molossos), Na’pa (begotten by a wolf), Nebroph’onos (fawn-killer), Oc’ydroma (swift-runner), Or’esitrophos (mountain-bred), Ori’basos (mountain - ranger), Pachy’tos (thick-skinned), Pam’phagos (ravenous), Pœ’menis (leader), Pter’elas (winged), Stricta (spot), Therid’amas (beast-tamer or subduer), The’ron (savage - faced), Thoös (swift), U’ranis (heavenly-one).

1 comment:

parlance said...

I think the comma is to do with the breath before the sound.

No, on second thoughts, I reckon it's the emphasis on what syllable. Like we have in dictionaries.

Poor guy - tough punishment for making one mistake with a woman.

Hmmm... what did he actually do? Maybe he deserved to be ripped to pieces by his dogs. Wonder what the dogs did after that?