The Werewolf Timeline Pre-1000
- According to Greek mythology, King Lycaon of Arcadia was a wicked and impious ruler who sought to test the divine nature of Zeus, the king of the gods. To do this, Lycaon served the god a dish made from the flesh of a human child. As punishment for his heinous act, Zeus transformed Lycaon into a wolf, and the term "lycanthrope" was coined to describe those who could transform into wolves. This myth is often cited as the earliest recorded reference to werewolves in history.
- In his book "Histories," the ancient Greek historian Herodotus writes about the Neuri, a tribe of people who lived in what is now modern-day Ukraine and Belarus. According to Herodotus, the Neuri had the ability to transform into wolves once a year, a trait that was passed down through their families. This is the first recorded instance of werewolf-like transformations being attributed to an entire group of people rather than just an individual.
- According to legend, Damarchus was an Arcadian of Parrhasia who won Olympic games as a boxer. He is said to have transformed into a wolf at the sacrifice of Lycaean (Wolf) Zeus, and nine years later, he became a man again. This legend suggests that the transformation into a wolf was seen as a temporary state, rather than a permanent condition. It is also one of the earliest recorded instances of a human being able to transform into a wolf at will.
- In his poem "Eclogues," the Roman poet Virgil tells the story of Moeris, a man who is able to transform into a wolf by using a special herb. According to the story, Moeris was given the herb by a sorceress and was able to use it to transform into a wolf at will. This is one of the earliest recorded instances of a person using a substance, in this case an herb, to facilitate a transformation into a wolf.
- In his epic poem "Metamorphoses," the Roman poet Ovid includes a verse about Lycaon, the mythical King of Arcadia who was transformed into a wolf as punishment for serving human flesh to the god Zeus. Ovid's verse expands on the myth of Lycaon, describing how the king was transformed into a wolf and how his descendants were also cursed with the ability to transform into wolves. This verse is an important example of how the myth of the werewolf was passed down and adapted through the centuries.
- In his work "Satyricon," the Roman writer Petronius tells the story of a soldier who is a werewolf. The soldier is described as having the ability to transform into a wolf at will and terrorizes the countryside near Cologne, Germany. This is one of the earliest recorded instances of a werewolf being depicted as a human who has the ability to transform into a wolf at will, rather than a person who is cursed or possessed by a wolf spirit.
- St. Patrick is a well-known figure in Irish history, famous for spreading Christianity throughout the country and establishing monasteries and schools. According to legend, St. Patrick was also involved in combating the practice of lycanthropy in Ireland. One story tells of how St. Patrick confronted a group of people who were believed to be werewolves and was able to banish the wolf spirits from their bodies, turning them back into humans. This legend suggests that St. Patrick was seen as having the ability to overcome the curse of lycanthropy and highlights the significance of the werewolf myth in early Irish folklore.
- According to legend, Baianus was a man who had the ability to transform into a wolf through the use of necromancy, or the practice of communicating with the dead. Baianus was said to be able to perform this transformation at will and was believed to use his powers for nefarious purposes. This legend is an example of how the werewolf myth was often associated with dark magic and the supernatural in the Middle Ages.
- The word "werewolf" is derived from the Old English term "werwulf," which means "man-wolf." The first recorded use of the word "werewolf" in English is in the year 1020, in a document known as the "Peterborough Chronicle." This document is an important historical record of the early history of England and includes many references to supernatural creatures, including werewolves. The use of the word "werewolf" in this document is significant because it shows that the werewolf myth was well-known and widely believed in early medieval England. The term "werewolf" has since become the standard term for a person who can transform into a wolf or wolf-like creature, and is used in literature, film, and popular culture around the world.
- Vseslav Bryachislavich was a powerful ruler of the medieval state of Polotsk, located in what is now modern-day Belarus. He is best known for his military successes and his efforts to expand the territory of Polotsk. However, Vseslav Bryachislavich is also remembered for his alleged lycanthropy. According to legend, Vseslav Bryachislavich was able to transform into a wolf at will and was believed to have used this ability to gain an advantage in battle. Many people in Polotsk and the surrounding areas believed that Vseslav Bryachislavich was a werewolf and feared him as a result. Despite this reputation, Vseslav Bryachislavich was a successful ruler and remains an important figure in the history of the region.