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WotWotius

Lydian Hermes - The "Dog Throttler"

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Off topic but possibly of interest: The Greeks were also known to sacrifice puppies to the goddess Hekate

 

There is also an astounding amount of archaeological evidence that suggests that residents of Sardis (in Ancient Lydia), sacrificed puppies to a deity: various dog carcasses, dating from the time of the Seleucids, have been found in a mutilated state inside sacrificial urns dotted around the city walls. The deity they were sacrificed to was most probably Hermes. Though also the god of thieves, Hermes was hypocritically the god of theft protection. Sacrificing a dog may well symbolise a guard dog, or another a life form associated with household security.

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Off topic but possibly of interest: The Greeks were also known to sacrifice puppies to the goddess Hekate

 

There is also an astounding amount of archaeological evidence that suggests that residents of Sardis (in Ancient Lydia), sacrificed puppies to a deity: various dog carcasses, dating from the time of the Seleucids, have been found in a mutilated state inside sacrificial urns dotted around the city walls. The deity they were sacrificed to was most probably Hermes. Though also the god of thieves, Hermes was hypocritically the god of theft protection. Sacrificing a dog may well symbolise a guard dog, or another a life form associated with household security.

 

Puppies?! Those sick bastards!

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Indeed.

The reason why I posted this information is because I had to sit through an hour-long lecture (given by a visiting scholar) which, in extremely visceral detail, explored the topic of religious sacrifices in Lydia.

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The deity they were sacrificed to was most probably Hermes. Though also the god of thieves, Hermes was hypocritically the god of theft protection. Sacrificing a dog may well symbolise a guard dog, or another a life form associated with household security.

What support did the scholar give to this theory other than a preceived 'logical' presumption? I have never, ever come accross an ancient author hint at that type of sacrifice to Hermes.

 

Time of the Seleucids you say? One could also make a conclusive leap that it was a Persian tradition carried over from the period of occupation because there is written evidence of Persian veneration of the canine... :blink:

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We're speaking of Lydia in Asia Minor correct? Isn't it speculated that the Etruscans are originally from that area? Wouldn't it be interesting to speculate further that the Etruscan haruspeces' inspection of entrails might have some cultural connection with the rites of this area?

 

Sorry Pantagathus... :blink:

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The deity they were sacrificed to was most probably Hermes. Though also the god of thieves, Hermes was hypocritically the god of theft protection. Sacrificing a dog may well symbolise a guard dog, or another a life form associated with household security.

What support did the scholar give to this theory other than a preceived 'logical' presumption? I have never, ever come accross an ancient author hint at that type of sacrifice to Hermes.

 

Time of the Seleucids you say? One could also make a conclusive leap that it was a Persian tradition carried over from the period of occupation because there is written evidence of Persian veneration of the canine... :blink:

 

Various coins depicting Hermes have been found on the site. However, on these coins, his image was shown with an eagle, not a dog. Therefore, the basis of his theory was predominantly 'logical' presumption. He also speculated that the bones may just have easily have been associated with the city's two major deities: Cybelle, and Artemis.

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Various coins depicting Hermes have been found on the site. However, on these coins, his image was shown with an eagle, not a dog. Therefore, the basis of his theory was predominantly 'logical' presumption. He also speculated that the bones may just have easily have been associated with the city's two major deities: Cybelle, and Artemis.

OK, so WotWotius it appears the lecturer wasn't entirely pulling this concept out of the neither regions of his bowels... :whistling:

 

The Liddell-Scott dictionary gives the following definitions:

Kandaules: dog-throttler, Lydian name for Hermes & name of a Lydian king (in Herodotus, the one who lost Sardis to the Gyges)

&

Kunagches:(sp?) dog-throttler, title of Hermes

 

Judging by the abbreviation/name of the first source listed for these two epithets (Hippon?), it seems to be perhaps a Byzantine source? Maybe Andrew Dalby can help us out here...

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OK, so maybe this is why Hermes was the 'Dog Throttler':

 

"There was a four-cornered statue of Hermes [a Herma] by the side of the road, with a heap of stones piled at its base. A dog approached the statue and said to it, 'To begin with, Hermes, I salute you! And now I am going to anoint you, since I cannot let a god go by without anointing him, much less a god of the athletes.' Hermes said to the dog, 'If you can just leave the oil alone and not pee on me, I shall be grateful enough; you do not need to honour me in any other way!" - Aesop, Fables 564 (from Babrius, Fabulae 48)

 

:lol:

 

Note: I have split this out of the Carthage thread for obvious reasons...

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"There was a four-cornered statue of Hermes [a Herma] by the side of the road, with a heap of stones piled at its base. A dog approached the statue and said to it, 'To begin with, Hermes, I salute you! And now I am going to anoint you, since I cannot let a god go by without anointing him, much less a god of the athletes.' Hermes said to the dog, 'If you can just leave the oil alone and not pee on me, I shall be grateful enough; you do not need to honour me in any other way!" - Aesop, Fables 564 (from Babrius, Fabulae 48)

 

ROTFLOL!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

 

erm...carry on..:lol:

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Various coins depicting Hermes have been found on the site. However, on these coins, his image was shown with an eagle, not a dog. Therefore, the basis of his theory was predominantly 'logical' presumption. He also speculated that the bones may just have easily have been associated with the city's two major deities: Cybelle, and Artemis.

OK, so WotWotius it appears the lecturer wasn't entirely pulling this concept out of the neither regions of his bowels... :D

 

The Liddell-Scott dictionary gives the following definitions:

Kandaules: dog-throttler, Lydian name for Hermes & name of a Lydian king (in Herodotus, the one who lost Sardis to the Gyges)

&

Kunagches:(sp?) dog-throttler, title of Hermes

 

Judging by the abbreviation/name of the first source listed for these two epithets (Hippon?), it seems to be perhaps a Byzantine source? Maybe Andrew Dalby can help us out here...

 

Sorry, I missed this thread till now. Yes, I know your "Hippon." He's an old friend. He's the scurrilous and obscene early Greek poet Hipponax. Only known in fragments unluckily, but some of the fragments are quite juicy ... He appears (according to this particular fragment) to have been engaged in burglary, or pretending he was (you can't always take poets literally) and sends off a short prayer to Hermes the dog-throttler to help him get over a wall, possibly before the guard-dog gets him.

 

WW's visiting lecturer either wrote, or else had read, the following:

 

C. H. Greenewalt, \Ritual dinners in early historic Sardis\. Berkeley, 1976.

 

Yes, they were dog dinners, it seems. I understand there is archaeological evidence (the bones in sacrificial pots) as well as the scattered literary evidence.

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C. H. Greenewalt, \Ritual dinners in early historic Sardis\. Berkeley, 1976.

 

Yes, that is the man.

 

Yes, they were dog dinners, it seems. I understand there is archaeological evidence (the bones in sacrificial pots) as well as the scattered literary evidence.

 

From what I remember, it seems that the remains of the canines illustrate evidence for skinning (various slice marks have been found on bones etc.); therefore, they may well have been served, in one form or another, in a ritualistic meal.

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Sorry, I missed this thread till now. Yes, I know your "Hippon." He's an old friend. He's the scurrilous and obscene early Greek poet Hipponax. Only known in fragments unluckily, but some of the fragments are quite juicy ... He appears (according to this particular fragment) to have been engaged in burglary, or pretending he was (you can't always take poets literally) and sends off a short prayer to Hermes the dog-throttler to help him get over a wall, possibly before the guard-dog gets him.

Well then that sheds less light on the significance to Lydian cult practices then I thought

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