Skip to comments.How Ancient Greeks Named Their Puppies
Posted on 07/16/2012 10:00:55 PM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
Dogs played a special role in ancient Greek society and mythology; Cerberus guarded the gates of Hades, the goddess Artemis used dogs in her hunt, and Greek citizens employed dogs for hunting and protection.
To the ancient Greeks, picking your new pup was an important decision, just as it is today. But, according to Stanford University researcher Adrienne Mayor, writing for Wonders & Marvels, the process could have been just a little bit different.
Like moderns, the ancients looked for an adventurous and friendly nature, but one test for selecting the pick of the litter seems rather heartless today. Let the mother choose for you, advises Nemesianus, a Roman expert on hunting dogs. Take away her puppies, surround them with an oil-soaked string and set it on fire. The mother will jump over the ring of flames and rescue each puppy, one by one, in order of their merit.
Mayor says that dogs were typically given short names that evoked ideas of things like power, speed, or beauty. Then again, the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same. According to Mayor,
Popular names for dogs in antiquity, translated from Greek, include Lurcher, Whitey, Blackie, Tawny, Blue, Blossom, Keeper, Fencer, Butcher, Spoiler, Hasty, Hurry, Stubborn, Yelp, Tracker, Dash, Happy, Jolly, Trooper, Rockdove, Growler, Fury, Riot, Lance, Pell-Mell, Plucky, Killer, Crafty, Swift, and Dagger.
(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.smithsonianmag.com ...
A mosaic of Hercules with pet Cerberus.
Ancient Doggie Ping
There were dogs in those years? Who knew?
What, no Wizzer?
I had a dog named Happy.
That is what I get for being asked what to name him when I was about 8 years old I guess.
The little guy looked like he was Happy to me.
Wow did that dog go through the wringer with me and my older brother. Great breed for that part of my life, an English Springer Spaniel.
No mention of Kenyans that eat dogs though.
“There were dogs in those years? Who knew?”
Dogs are our oldest domesticated species. Some scientists believe the relationship between man and dog began as far back as 100,000 years ago. If true then man and dog literally evolved together.
I had a dog named Happy when I was in high school.
Unfortunately we had to leave him with my Aunt and Uncle when we were away on Vacation.
He managed to dig his way out from under the garage (stone floor) and came looking for us.
We never got him back and I never found out what happened to him.
“Here Arfimedes...C’mon, boy!”
Our dog is an ESS. She’s 16 now, but she’s been by my son’s side since the day we got her.
He’s a grown man now, and she’s still sleeping in his bed. Best friends forever.
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
Reminds me of the old joke about the Indian boy who asked his father how people got their names.
His father replied: “Why do you ask two dogs f*&^ing?”
I don’t see Humper either. ;-)
Seems like there should be some adaptable methodology here for the political ring involving fire and oil.
My dad had three pups once. Blackie was the blackest, Brownie was the brownest, and Liberace was the pianist.
No “Cujo”, either...
Did he ever have to jump over a ring of fire to save them? And if so, which was first?
Lol! One of my favorite jokes.
Dear Smithsonian, How can historians garner such information but not a simple BC, college record or medical history?
Cerberus would be a great name for a dog, will need to keep that in mind for our next pup. We named the last one Julius Caesaer. it was hilarious when we took him to the doggy training school for his lesson and the trainers would all say, ALL HAIL!
We used to raise English Springer Spaniels - there is no better breed (in my opinion) - great with kids! We now have our last one - Rosie - who is 12 years old and cannot hear at all and can barely see - still wags her tail and we love her!!
“There were dogs in those years? Who knew?”
Back in the Roman days, they had “Beware of Canis (dog)” written on their front entrance tiles. Not only did they have dogs, they knew how to use them.
That ain’t no dog. That’s one of them mutants from “Attack of the Killer Shrews”. IIRC, there’s a Doberman under that outfit somewhere.
"Cave canem" - beware of dog.
From the entrance of the House of the Tragic Poet, in Pompeii.
Now as these two were conversing thus with each other, a dog who was lying there raised his head and ears. This was Argos, patient-hearted Odysseus' dog, whom he himself raised, but got no joy of him, since before that he went to sacred Ilium.
In the days before, the young men had taken him out to follow goats of the wild, and deer, and rabbits; but now he had been put aside, with his master absent, and lay on the deep pile of dung, from the mules and oxen, which lay abundant before the gates, so that the servants of Odysseus could take it to his great estate, for manuring.
There the dog Argos lay in the dung, all covered with dog ticks.
Now, as he perceived that Odysseus had come close to him, he wagged his tail, and laid both ears back; only he now no longer had the strength to move any closer to his master, who, watching him from a distance, without Eumaios noticing, secretly wiped a tear away, and said to him:
"Eumaios, this is amazing, this dog that lies on the dunghill. The shape of him is splendid, and yet I cannot be certain whether he had the running speed to go with this beauty, or is just one of the kind of table dog that gentlemen keep, and it is only for show that their masters care for them."
Then, O swineherd Eumaios, you said to him in answer: "This, it is too true, is the dog of a man who perished far away..."
So he spoke, and went into the strongly settled palace, and strode straight on, to the great hall and the haughty suitors.
But the doom of dark death now closed over the dog, Argos, when, after nineteen years had gone by, he had seen Odysseus.
Odyssey, Book XVII, trans. Richard Lattimore.
that is HILARIOUS!
What a sad story. Argos would be a great name for a dog. Why argue with a classic?
Socrates spent the last day of his life talking to his pet Phido.
How Obama named his puppies: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snack.
Here Arfimedes...Cmon, boy!
OK. That was funny.
(a very popular Scots Gaelic name for a dog is Dileas (pron. JEE-lahs). It means the same thing.)
I had a neighbor when I was a teenager, and their little boy named his dog “Job”. We wondered if he had plans to put it through a lot, or what.
Thats cute. =)
Plato's dialogue about Socrates' last day and his death is called the Phaedo after one of the men present on the occasion who is later reporting what Socrates said--in Greek the diphthong in Phaedo/Phaidon would sound like English long "i." The usual English pronunciation of "Phaedo" is "feedo" rather than "fido."
4 years of Classical Greek, for my sins. Lowest grades I got in college.
Hi, could you remove me from the ping list please? I love the pings, but that graphic just kills me. Thanks.
Dareiou kai Parysatidos gignontai paides dyo... (opening line of Xenophon's Anabasis, the first text we read).
Screaming with fright!