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Washington, United States
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 !

Thursday, February 18, 2010

xenophon's dog

Xenophon (430 - 354 BC), the Greek writer and solider of fortune, is best known for his writings on the Greece of his times, military history, and the sayings of Socrates. His work includes a short collection on the art of hunting with dogs. Called the Cynegeticus, the writings include thoughts on good breeding and care of hunting dogs, as any decent hunter should consider. But elsewhere - and I am driven to distraction that I can't find the original citation for this - he paid tribute to a particular beloved friend, as this journal excerpt from the 19th century tells us:

The bas-reliefs on the friezes of the Grecian temples give us an idea what that
greyhound was like which Xenophon describes so lovingly : " I have myself bred
up a swift, hard-working, courageous, soundfooted dog. He is most gentle and
kindly-affectioned; and never before had I such a dog. When he is not actually
engaged in coursing -he is never away from me. On his return he runs before me,
often looking back to see if I am there, and as soon as he sees me, showing
great joy and trotting away again before me. If a short time has passed since he
has seen me or my friend, he jumps up repeatedly by way of salutation and barks
with joy. He has also many different sorts of speech. I am not ashamed to
chronicle the name of this dog, nor to let posterity know that Xenophon the
Athenian had a greyhound called " Horme," possessed of the greatest speed,
intelligence, and fidelity." Truly posterity is grateful for this little sketch,
which seems to bring us nearer to the ancient Greek than can whole tomes of
history.
-- from M. F. O'Malley, "The Dog in History," Aunt Judy's May-Day Volume Vol. 17 (London: George Bell & Sons, York Street, Covent Garden, 1879). If you would like to read the full text of the Cynegeticus, look here.

5 comments:

Four Dinners said...

Maximus Spittimus has no idea what you are talking about.

(Four Dinners, however, does, and enjoyed that enormously. Thank you.

I wonder how many people remember the influence animals have had over us over the centuries?

Proabably startlingly few eh?)


Four Dinners
Aide de Camp
http://maximusspittimus.blogspot.com

Pets Community said...

Its a nice blog posted by you. I was seeking for this type of blog that have a fresh and interesting content.

Pets Community

Cliff and Olivia said...

Sounds like a nice woofie. Probably deserved the posterity!?

The humans says it was an interesting quote. We don't know what they're talking (or should we say barking) about.

Everycat said...

Curator, we must thank you for this post! The ape had no idea that Xenophon was wise about dogs too. He wrote a wonderful treatise on the training and keeping of horses which she did know about. His words on humane training are still used by the most intelligent and wisest of equestrian trainers in the field of classical riding today. He was a man ahead of his time and must have had a real connection to the true nature of animals.

Whicky Wuudler

curator said...

Whicky, it is my great pleasure always to write a post you admire! I hope you and everyone in your house are well!