Werewolf of the Olympians – Ancient Greek

Werewolf of the Olympians – Ancient Greek

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Video documentary of the Werewolf Damarchus created by Ancient-Mystery.com

The Olympian Werewolf; Damarchus was a real-life Olympic Boxer from Parrhasia (Arcadia) who was said to shape-shift into a Werewolf during the Festival of Lycaea.

The Story of the Werewolf

Pausanias investigated the story for his famous work Description of Greece. While he seems to accept that Damarchus the boxer did indeed exist, he notes Damarchus’ inscription at Olympia mentions nothing about his supposed metamorphosis to a wolf.

The Wolf in Sheep’s clothing.

According to Pausanias, the werewolf could once again live as a man provided he withheld from human flesh for nine years. If, however, the wolf tasted the flesh of a man, he would remain a beast forever.

Augustine and Pliny agree with the main aspects of the story but claim the requisite waiting period was ten years, not nine.

Title page of the oldest manuscript: Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Gr. 1807 (late 9th century)

The story is quickly alluded to in Plato’s masterpiece, The Republic. However, there is no suggestion that the transformation into a Werewolf could be undone in Plato’s version.

Werewolf Mythology

There is quite a large amount of material on Lycanthropy, Werewolves and Shape-shifting within Mythology as a whole. This makes me consider our perception of these beings, as in giving them form, created by mass belief, e.g Literature.

Lycaon; Transformed into a Wolf by Zeus; also known as Zeus lycaeus.

Furthermore, the werewolf is a widespread notion in European folklore. Breathing in many variants, which are related by a common development of a Christian understanding of European folklore. During the early modern period, werewolf beliefs also expanded to the New World with colonialism. Belief in werewolves developed in correspondence to the belief in witches; Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern period.

Similarities to Witchcraft

Similar to the witchcraft trials as a whole; the prosecution of supposed werewolves developed in Switzerland in the 15th century and circulated throughout Europe by the 18th century.

Further Reading

THE BOOK OF WERE-WOLVES by SABINE BARING GOULD [1865] https://www.sacred-texts.com/goth/bow/index.htm

The Michigan Dogman Sightings https://ancient-mystery.com/2020/04/16/the-michigan-dogman-sightings/

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