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Werewolves

by Levi Faollan

So werewolves are creatures who go from being human to wolf and back again. After doing some reasearch for my mythology class, I have found that werewolves originated durring the Greco-Roman time and the earliest recorded history was from Ovid's Metamorphosis. This details how Zeus (Jove) cursed the Tyrant Lycaon into a werewolf, the first in recorded history:

“I traversed Maenalus where fearful dens abound, over Lycaeus, wintry slopes of pine tree groves, across Cyllene steep; and as the twilight warned of night's approach, I stopped in that Arcadian tyrant's realms and entered his inhospitable home:—and when I showed his people that a God had come, the lowly prayed and worshiped me, but this Lycaon mocked their pious vows and scoffing said; ‘A fair experiment will prove the truth if this be god or man.’ and he prepared to slay me in the night,—to end my slumbers in the sleep of death. So made he merry with his impious proof; but not content with this he cut the throat of a Molossian hostage sent to him, and partly softened his still quivering limbs in boiling water, partly roasted them on fires that burned beneath. And when this flesh was served to me on tables, I destroyed his dwelling and his worthless Household Gods, with thunder bolts avenging. Terror struck he took to flight, and on the silent plains is howling in his vain attempts to speak; he raves and rages and his greedy jaws, desiring their accustomed slaughter, turn against the sheep – still eager for their blood. His vesture separates in shaggy hair, his arms are changed to legs; and as a wolf he has the same grey locks, the same hard face, the same bright eyes, the same ferocious look. (Ovid, verse 216)

However werewolves have come to be something more then just the simple changing of man to wolf since Ovid recorded this. Originally becoming a werewolf was to be cursed by Zeus(Jove) for offending the travelers. Many things have been added to the legend of the werewolf, such as only being able to kill them with silver bullets and they were only able to transform on the full moon. However Silver bullets were added to the story in the 1800s to keep common folk from hunting and recieving the bounty that had been put on werewolves.


Sources:

http://www.theoi.com/Text/OvidMetamorphoses1.html

stewart, daniel. "Ovid's Flood Story." Hum 121-0001. FTCC. Fayetteville Technical Community College, Fayetteville, NC. 01/04/2011. Lecture .