Dogs have been featured prominently in Greek mythology, often acting as loyal companions to the gods and goddesses and even the mortal heroes too.
Most people of his hometown thought he had died. However, his ever-loyal wife Penelope; earnest son Telemachus; and unwaveringly devoted dog Argus never lost hope that he would come back home someday. For two decades, Odysseus fearlessly navigated harsh waters until finally his drive was compensated.
Odysseus enters the town in disguise, thanks to a beggar’s cloak. As he approaches his home, Argos–the old dog bred by Odysseus years ago–takes notice of him. Poor Argus had been exiled from the house and was now living in squalor. On seeing Odysseus, he drops his ears and wags his tail. Odysseus notices the dog straight away and is moved to tears by the hound’s faithfulness.
Argus cries out upon seeing his master again and dies soon after from happiness.
Quote From the Odyssey:
As they were talking, a dog that had been lying asleep raised his head and pricked up his ears. This was Argos, whom Odysseus had bred before setting out for Troy, but he had never had any enjoyment from him. In the old days he used to be taken out by the young men when they went hunting wild goats, or deer, or hares, but now that his master was gone he was lying neglected on the heaps of mule and cow dung that lay in front of the stable doors till the men should come and draw it away to manure the great close; and he was full of fleas. He was in a poor condition after Penelope’s suitors had kicked in the ass. As soon as he saw Odysseus standing there, he dropped his ears and wagged his tail, but he could not get close up to his master. When Odysseus saw the dog on the other side of the yard, dashed a tear from his eyes without Eumaeus seeing it, and said:
“Eumaeus, what a noble hound that is over yonder on the manure heap: his build is splendid; is he as fine a fellow as he looks, or is he only one of those dogs that come begging about a table, and are kept merely for show?”
“This hound,” answered Eumaeus, “belonged to him who has died in a far country. If he were what he was when Odysseus left for Troy, he would soon show you what he could do. There was not a wild beast in the forest that could get away from him when he was once on its tracks. But now he has fallen on evil times, for his master is dead and gone, and the women take no care of him. Servants never do their work when their master’s hand is no longer over them, for Zeus takes half the goodness out of a man when he makes a slave of him.”
So saying he entered the well-built mansion, and made straight for the riotous pretenders in the hall. But Argos passed into the darkness of death, now that he had seen his master once more after twenty years.
For dog owners, daily displays of unwavering faithfulness and devotion are not uncommon. In just a few lines, Homer the great sage captures the essence of our dogs’ spirits. Argus has even become a symbol for steadfastness.
Laelaps was a dog that could always catch whatever it was tracking.
There are no stories concerning Laelaps parentage, but there are some who suggest that it is the same dog that watched over baby ZEUS on CRETE. A golden hound was tasked with safeguarding baby Zeus, who would later become the King of Gods.
The story of Laelaps began with the abduction of Europa by Zeus. Zeus had taken the form of a bull to abduct Europa. He took her to the island of Crete, where he made love to the beautiful princess. Europa then got pregnant and bore Zeus three sons – Rhadamanthys, Minos, and Sarpedon. Zeus, however, did not remain on the island of Crete; he abandoned Europa there, but not without gifts. He gifted his lover a javelin, which when thrown would not miss its target. The other gift was TALOS, the man of bronze who would always protect Europa. The third gift that Zeus left Europa was Laelaps, the hunting dog that would never miss its targets.
Europa ruled the island of Crete, and she got married to King Asterion. Being mortal, Europa eventually passed away and Talos became the protector of Crete. The other two gifts, Laelaps and the javelin were inherited by one of Europa’s sons, Minos. Minos also became king of Crete after Asterion died.
Unfortunately, MINOS had major problems because of his jealous wife, PASIPHAE. She had cursed him to ejaculate poisonous snakes and scorpions. This curse was meant to limit the extra-marital affairs of Minos because any lover he was with would be killed.
Procris, the Athenian princess, and the wife of Cephalus came to Crete after leaving her husband. It was during this time that the paths of Minos and Procris crossed. Procris promised Minos that she could cure him of his curse, which she did. As a sign of gratitude, Minos gifted her with the javelin and Laelaps.
Procris would then return to her husband, Cephalus. Unfortunately, Cephalus accidentally killed her in a hunting accident. The javelin and Laelaps now belonged to Cephalus. Soon after the death of Procris, Amphitryon came to Cephalus after the husband of Alcmene was tasked by Creon to get rid of the TEUMESSIAN FOX, which had been terrorizing THEBES.
The Teumessian Fox was a man-eating monster that threatened the life of the people of Thebes. Unfortunately, this animal was also destined to never be caught, and no hunter had ever come close to catching it. That is why Amphitryon sought to use Laelaps because it was destined to always capture its prey. Cephalus agreed to use Laelaps to hunt the Teumessian Fox. In return, Amphitryon would share with Cephalus the spoils of the oncoming war with the Taphians.
Using Laelaps to capture the Teumessian Fox created a paradox.
After Zeus observed what was going on, he decided to bring the chase to an end. Zeus turned both animals into stones. He then transformed them into two constellations so that the chase could continue. The TWO CONSTELLATIONS are Canis Major (Laelaps) and Canis Minor (the Teumessian Fox).
Cerberus The Three-headed Dog
Cerberus was the offspring of two monsters – Typhon and Echidna. Typhon was a giant with one hundred heads, while Echidna was half woman and half snake. Cerberus had three heads, a mane of snakes, and a tail with a dragon head.
The task of guarding the underworld was given to Cerberus by Hades, the god of the underworld. He would make sure that no living soul would escape from the underworld.
Even though Cerberus is considered a fearsome creature, he is also associated with healing. This is because Cerberus would drink from the river Lethe which would make him forget any pain or suffering. The river Lethe is also associated with forgetfulness and oblivion.
It is said that when a person drinks from the river Lethe, they will forget all their memories. This is why some people believe that Cerberus is a symbol of the afterlife and resurrection.
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