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The Dogs of War

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Gordopolis View Drop Down
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    Posted: 16 Aug 2018 at 17:50
Not sure if it's right to add this to the 'weapons' section, but:

'Cry "Havoc!", and let slip...'
http://www.gordondoherty.co.uk/writeblog/thedogsofwar 
A look at the use of Molossian hounds in the Roman army.


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toyomotor View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Aug 2018 at 03:46
Originally posted by Gordopolis Gordopolis wrote:

Not sure if it's right to add this to the 'weapons' section, but:

'Cry "Havoc!", and let slip...'
http://www.gordondoherty.co.uk/writeblog/thedogsofwar 
A look at the use of Molossian hounds in the Roman army.




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It's not that I was born in Ireland,
It's the Ireland that was born in me.
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franciscosan View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Aug 2018 at 23:12
Interesting about the Molossian hounds.  I did not realize that there line had died out, but I imagine that they are not _really_ extinct, just grown into something else, and bred with other lines.

If you want to look at ancient dogs, you might look at the coins of Segesta, an Elymian city on the the West coast of Sicily.  I often wonder what kind of breeds are depicted on, say, ancient coins, but I am not sure if they absolutely know.  The Greeks, however, did not have an affinity towards dogs, like the ancient Elymians seem to have.  Although there are exceptions and occasionally dogs appear on ancient Greek coins.  

Dogs in the Iliad, are these half feral creatures that eat the dead (and maybe the not quite dead) on the battlefield.  The author of the Odyssey, however, has a soft place in his heart for dogs, such as the tale of the aged hunting dog Argos recognizing his master on Odysseus' return.  Nobody else recognizes him disguised as a beggar, but the dog does (after 20+ years), and dies happy to see him.  There is a roman Republic coin with Hermes on the obverse, and Odysseus returning with Argos greeting him on the reverse.

Of course, for the English language, we can discuss the difference between dogs, and hounds (and canines?).


Edited by franciscosan - 19 Aug 2018 at 23:14
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Sep 2018 at 22:14
Of course, in the _Odyssey_, Odysseus is returning to his house in disguise, and nobody (besides Athena who is helping him) can tell who he is.  So the dog Argos is a silent witness to Odysseus' return, and of course the dog cannot do anything to give it away, so at the age of 20, he dies sitting on the manure pile, and Odysseus sheds a silent tear for the great beast.  Someone has to recognize his rightful return, but at the same time such a recognition shouldn't get in the way of the slaughter of the suiters.  In antiquity, Homer was considered the expert for just about anything, and so the Odyssey is considered evidence that a (large) hunting dog could live 20 years.  One might assume since heroes are extraordinary, perhaps hero's dogs are extraordinary as well.


There is a good article on the literary history of the Argus story, on academia.edu by Glenn Most, "A Shaggy Dog Story...."  a bit of the hair of the dog that bit you.
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