Wolves in folklore, religion and mythology

aesthetics  →
being  →
complexity  →
database  →
enterprise  →
ethics  →
fiction  →
history  →
internet  →
knowledge  →
language  →
licensing  →
linux  →
logic  →
method  →
news  →
perception  →
philosophy  →
policy  →
purpose  →
religion  →
science  →
sociology  →
software  →
truth  →
unix  →
wiki  →
essay  →
feed  →
help  →
system  →
wiki  →
critical  →
discussion  →
forked  →
imported  →
original  →
Wolves in folklore, religion and mythology
[ temporary import ]
please note:
- the content below is remote from Wikipedia
- it has been imported raw for GetWiki
File:She-wolf suckles Romulus and Remus.jpg|thumb|upright=1.35|The Capitoline WolfCapitoline WolfThe wolf is a common motif in the foundational mythologies and cosmologies of peoples throughout Eurasia and North America (corresponding to the historical extent of the habitat of the gray wolf). The obvious attribute of the wolf is its nature of a predator, and correspondingly it is strongly associated with danger and destruction, making it the symbol of the warrior on one hand, and that of the devil on the other. The modern trope of the Big Bad Wolf is a development of this. The wolf holds great importance in the cultures and religions of the nomadic peoples, both of the Eurasian steppe and North American Plains.Wolves were sometimes associated with witchcraft in both northern European and some Native American cultures: in Norse folklore, the völva (witch) Hyndla and the giantess Hyrrokin are both portrayed as using wolves as mounts, while in Navajo culture, wolves were feared as witches in wolf's clothing.{{Harvnb|Lopez|1978|p=123}} Similarly, the Tsilhqot'in believed that contact with wolves could cause mental illness and death.


One of the earliest written references to black wolves occurs in the Babylonian epic Gilgamesh, in which the titular character rejects the sexual advances of the goddess Ishtar, reminding her that she had transformed a previous lover, a shepherd, into a wolf, thus turning him into the very animal that his flocks must be protected against.{{Harvnb|Marvin|2012|pp=46–47}}


File:Romolo e remo.jpg|thumb|Romulus and Remus nursed by the She-wolf (c. 1616), Peter Paul RubensPeter Paul RubensIn Proto-Indo-European mythology, the wolf was presumably associated with the warrior class, who would "transform into wolves" (or dogs) upon their initiation. This is reflected in Iron Age Europe in the Tierkrieger depictions from the Germanic sphere, among others. The standard comparative overview of this aspect of Indo-European mythology is McCone (1987)Kim R. McCone, "Hund, Wolf, und Krieger bei den Indogermanen" in W. Meid (ed.), Studien zum indogermanischen Wortschatz, Innsbruck, 1987, 101–154


According to legend, the establishment of the Lithuanian capital Vilnius began when the grand duke Gediminas dreamt of an iron wolf howling near the hill. Lithuanian goddess Medeina was described as a single, unwilling to get married, though voluptuous and beautiful huntress. She was depicted as a she-wolf with an escort of wolves.


{{further|Dacian draco}}In his book From Zalmoxis to Genghis Khan, Mircea Eliade attempted to give a mythological foundation to an alleged special relation between Dacians and the wolves:{{sfn|Eliade|1995|p=11}}
  • Dacians might have called themselves "wolves" or "ones the same with wolves",{{sfn|Eisler|1951|p=137}}{{sfn|Eliade|1995|p=11}} suggesting religious significance.{{sfn|Eliade|1995|p=13}}
  • Dacians draw their name from a god or a legendary ancestor who appeared as a wolf.{{sfn|Eliade|1995|p=13}}
  • Dacians had taken their name from a group of fugitive immigrants arrived from other regions or from their own young outlaws, who acted similarly to the wolves circling villages and living from looting. As was the case in other societies, those young members of the community went through an initiation, perhaps up to a year, during which they lived as a "wolf".{{sfn|Jeanmaire|1975|p=540}}{{sfn|Eliade|1995|p=13}} Comparatively, Hittite laws referred to fugitive outlaws as "wolves".{{sfn|Eisler|1951|p=144}}
  • The existence of a ritual that provides one with the ability to turn into a wolf.{{sfn|Eliade|1995|p=15}} Such a transformation may be related either to lycanthropy itself, a widespread phenomenon, but attested especially in the Balkans-Carpathian region,{{sfn|Eisler|1951|p=144}} or a ritual imitation of the behavior and appearance of the wolf.{{sfn|Eliade|1995|p=15}} Such a ritual was presumably a military initiation, potentially reserved to a secret brotherhood of warriors (or Männerbünde).{{sfn|Eliade|1995|p=15}} To become formidable warriors they would assimilate behavior of the wolf, wearing wolf skins during the ritual.{{sfn|Eliade|1995|p=13}} Traces related to wolves as a cult or as totems were found in this area since the Neolithic period, including the Vinča culture artifacts: wolf statues and fairly rudimentary figurines representing dancers with a wolf mask.{{sfn|Zambotti|1954|loc=p. 184, fig. 13–14, 16}}{{sfn|Eliade|1995|p=23}} The items could indicate warrior initiation rites, or ceremonies in which young people put on their seasonal wolf masks.{{sfn|Eliade|1995|p=23}} The element of unity of beliefs about werewolves and lycanthropy exists in the magical-religious experience of mystical solidarity with the wolf by whatever means used to obtain it. But all have one original myth, a primary event.{{sfn|Eliade|1995|p=27}}{{sfn|Eliade|1986}}


{{further|Wulf|Werewolf|Wolfsegen}}(File:The binding of Fenris by D Hardy.jpg|upright|thumb|right|Fenrir, bound by the gods)Norse mythology prominently includes three malevolent wolves, in particular: the giant Fenrisulfr or Fenrir, eldest child of Loki and Angrboda who was feared and hated by the Æsir, and Fenrisulfr's children, Sköll and Hati. Fenrir is bound by the gods, but is ultimately destined to grow too large for his bonds and devour Odin during the course of Ragnarök. At that time, he will have grown so large that his upper jaw touches the sky while his lower touches the earth when he gapes. He will be slain by Odin's son, Viðarr, who will either stab him in the heart or rip his jaws asunder, according to different accounts.BOOK,weblink Historia Naturalis, Pliny the Elder, viii, 81, 22/34 Fenrir's two offspring will, according to legend, devour the sun and moon at Ragnarök. On the other hand, however, the wolves Geri and Freki were the Norse god Odin's faithful pets who were reputed to be "of good omen."BOOK, Guerber, Hélène Adeline, Myths of the Norsemen: from the eddas and the sagas, 1909, Dover, 1992, Dover Publications, Mineola, N.Y., 0-486-27348-2, 17, 347, Odin's Personal Appearance, Greek and Northern Mythologies, At his feet crouched two wolves or hunting hounds, Geri and Freki, animals therefore sacred to him, and of good omen if met by the way. Odin always fed these wolves with his own hands from meat set before him., In the Hervarar saga, king Heidrek is asked by Gestumblindi (Odin), "What is that lamp which lights up men, but flame engulfs it, and wargs grasp after it always." Heidrek knows the answer is the Sun, explaining: "She lights up every land and shines over all men, and Skoll and Hatti are called wargs. Those are wolves, one going before the sun, the other after the moon."But wolves also served as mounts for more or less dangerous humanoid creatures. For instance, Gunnr's horse was a kenning for "wolf" on the Rök Runestone, in the Lay of Hyndla, the völva (witch) Hyndla rides a wolf, and to Baldr's funeral, the giantess Hyrrokin arrived on a wolf.Wolf or Wulf is used as a surname, given name, and a name among Germanic-speaking peoples. "Wolf" is also a component in other Germanic names:


{{further|Lycaon (Arcadia)}}The Ancient Greeks associated wolves with the sun god Apollo.Mount Lykaion () is a mountain in Arcadia where an altar of Zeus was located. Zeus Lykaios was said to have been born and brought up on it, and was the home of Pelasgus and his son Lycaon, who is said to have founded the ritual of Zeus practiced on its summit. This seems to have involved a human sacrifice, and a feast in which the man who received the portion of a human victim was changed to a wolf, as Lycaon had been after sacrificing a child. The sanctuary of Zeus played host to athletic games held every four years, the Lykaia.


In the Rig Veda, Ṛjrāśva is blinded by his father as punishment for having given 101 of his family's sheep to a she-wolf, who in turn prays to the Ashvins to restore his sight.Murthy, K. KrishnaMythical animals in Indian art, Abhinav Publications, 1985, {{ISBN|0-391-03287-9}} Wolves are occasionally mentioned in Hindu mythology. In the Harivamsa, Krishna, to convince the people of Vraja to migrate to Vṛndāvana, creates hundreds of wolves from his hairs, which frighten the inhabitants of Vraja into making the journey.Wilson, Horace Hayman & Hall, Fitzedward The Vishńu Puráńa: A System of Hindu Mythology and Tradition, Trubner, 1868 Bhima, the voracious son of the god Vayu, is described as Vrikodara, meaning "wolf-stomached".Wilkins, W. J. Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic, Kessinger Publishing, 2004, {{ISBN|0-7661-8881-7}}


According to the Avesta, the sacred text of the Zoroastrians, wolves are a creation from the 'darkness' of the evil spirit Ahriman, and are ranked among the most cruel of animals.Yasna, ix. 18–21 and belong to the daevas. The Bundahishn, which is a Middle Persian text on the Zoroastrian creation myth, has a chapter dedicated to the 'nature of wolves' as seen in Zoroastrian mythology and belief.Wusuns, an Indo-European{{harvnb|Sinor|1990|p=153}} semi-nomadic steppe people of Iranian origin,{{harvnb|Kusmina|2007|pp=78, 83}} had a legend that after their king Nandoumi was killed by Yuezhi, another Indo-European people, Nandoumi's infant son Liejiaomi was left in the wild and He was miraculously saved from hunger being suckled by a she-wolf, and fed meat by ravens.{{harvnb|François|Hulsewé|1979|p=215}}Shiji 《史記·大宛列傳》 Original text: 匈奴攻殺其父,而昆莫生棄於野。烏嗛肉蜚其上,狼往乳之。{{harvnb|Beckwith|2009|p=6}}{{harvnb|Watson|1993|pp=237–238}}


In Roman mythology wolves are mainly associated to Mars, god of war and agriculture. The Capitoline Wolf nurses Romulus and Remus, sons of Mars and future founders of Rome. The twin babies were ordered to be killed by their great uncle Amulius. The servant ordered to kill them, however, relented and placed the two on the banks of the Tiber river. The river, which was in flood, rose and gently carried the cradle and the twins downstream, where under the protection of the river deity Tiberinus, they would be adopted by a she-wolf known as Lupa in Latin, an animal sacred to Mars. As a consequence, the Italian wolf is the national animal of the modern Italian Republic.In Antiquity, the she-wolf was identified as a symbol of Rome by both the Romans themselves and nations under the Roman rule. The Lupa Romana was an iconic scene that represented in the first place the idea of romanitas, being Roman. When it was used in the Roman Provinces, it can be seen as an expression of loyalty to Rome and the emperor.WEB,weblink The Lupa Romana in the Roman Provinces, Acta Archaeologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Akadémiai Kiadó, 2016-04-01, Mika Rissanen, The treatment given to wolves differed from the treatment meted out to other large predators. The Romans generally seem to have refrained from intentionally harming wolves. For instance, they were not hunted for pleasure (but only in order to protect herds that were out at pasture), and not displayed in the venationes, either. The special status of the wolf was not based on national ideology, but rather was connected to the religious importance of the wolf to the Romans.WEB,weblink Was There a Taboo on Killing Wolves in Rome?, Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica, Fabrizio Serra Editore, 2016-03-28, Mika Rissanen, The comedian Plautus used the image of wolves to ponder the cruelty of man as a wolf unto man."Lupus" (Wolf) was used as a Latin first name and as a Roman cognomen.


The Slavic languages share a term for "werewolf" derived from a Common Slavic vuko-dlak "wolf-furr".The wolf as a mythological creature is greatly linked to Balkan and Serbian mythology and cults.BOOK,weblink 257, Вук као митска животиња дубо- ко је везан за балканску и српску митологију и култове. Заправо, то је животиња која је била распрострањена у јужнословенским крајевима и која је представљала сталну опасност како за стоку ..., Maske, maskiranje i rituali u Srbiji, 9788675585572, Marjanović, Vesna, 2005, It has an important part in Serbian mythology.BOOK,weblink 221, Тако стоји и еа осталим атрибутима деспота Вука. По- зната је ствар, да и вук (животиња) има зпатну уло- I у у митологији, Brankovo kolo za zabavu, pouku i književnost, 1910, In the Slavic, old Serbian religion and mythology, the wolf was used as a totem.BOOK, У старој српској ре- лигији и митологији вук је био табуирана и тотемска животиња., {{full citation needed|date=May 2019}} In the Serbian epic poetry, the wolf is a symbol of fearlessness.JOURNAL, Miklosich, Franz, Franz Miklosich, 1860, Die Bildung der slavischen Personennamen, Aus der kaiserlich-königlichen Hoff- und Staatdruckerei, Vienna, German, 44–45, Vuk Karadžić, 19th-century Serbian philologist and ethnographer, explained the traditional, apotropaic use of the name Vuk (wolf): a woman who had lost several babies in succession, would name her newborn son Vuk, because it was believed that the witches, who "ate" the babies, were afraid to attack the wolves.JOURNAL, Karadžić, Vuk Stefanović, Vuk Stefanović Karadžić, 1852, sr:Српски рјечник, Typis congregationis mechitaristicae, Vienna, Serbian, 78,


{{further|Asena}}In the mythology of the Turkic peoples, the wolf is a revered animal. In the Turkic mythology, wolves were believed to be the ancestors of their people.Wink, André (2002). Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World. Brill Academic Publishers, p. 65. {{ISBN|0-391-04173-8}}.{{Harvnb|Walker|2005|pp=83–84}} The legend of Asena is an old Turkic myth that tells of how the Turkic people were created. In Northern China a small Turkic village was raided by Chinese soldiers, but one small baby was left behind. An old she-wolf with a sky-blue mane named Asena found the baby and nursed him, then the she-wolf gave birth to half-wolf, half-human cubs, from whom the Turkic people were born. Also in Turkic mythology it is believed that a gray wolf showed the Turks the way out of their legendary homeland Ergenekon, which allowed them to spread and conquer their neighbours.Cultural Life – Literature Turkey Interactive CD-ROM. Retrieved on 2007-08-11.T.C. Kultur Bakanligi. Nevruz Celebrations in Turkey and Central Asia. Ministry of Culture, Republic of Turkey. Retrieved on 2007-08-11, In modern Turkey this myth inspired extreme-right nationalist groups known as "Grey Wolves". As with most ancient peoples' beliefs, the wolf was thought to possess spiritual powers, and that parts of its body retained specific powers that could be used by people for various needs.


In the Secret History of the Mongols, the Mongol peoples are said to have descended from the mating of a doe (gua maral) and a wolf (boerte chino).Монголын нууц товчоо In modern Mongolia, the wolf is still seen as a good luck symbol, especially for males. In Mongolian folk medicine, eating the intestines of a wolf is said to alleviate chronic indigestion, while sprinkling food with powdered wolf rectum is said to cure hemorrhoids.BOOK, Severin, Tim, In Search of Genghis Khan: An Exhilarating Journey on Horseback Across the Steppes of Mongolia, 2003, 0-8154-1287-8, 280, Mongol mythology explains the wolf's occasional habit of surplus killing by pointing to their traditional creation story. It states that when God explained to the wolf what it should and should not eat, he told it that it may eat one sheep out of 1,000. The wolf however misunderstood and thought God said kill 1,000 sheep and eat one.WEB, Jasper Becker,weblink Outlaw or Hunting Wolves, Mongolia Today, 2007-09-12,weblink" title="">weblink September 16, 2007,


In Japanese mythology, grain farmers once worshiped wolves at shrines and left food offerings near their dens, beseeching them to protect their crops from wild boars and deer.{{Harvnb|Walker|2005|p=132}} Talismans and charms adorned with images of wolves were thought to protect against fire, disease, and other calamities and brought fertility to agrarian communities and to couples hoping to have children. The Ainu people believed that they were born from the union of a wolf like creature and a goddess.BOOK, Walker, Brett L., The Lost Wolves Of Japan, 2005, 0-295-98492-9, 331,



Unlike fox and bear, the wolf has always been feared and hated in Finland, and wolf has been the symbol of destruction and desolation, to the extent that the very name of wolf in Finnish language, susi, means also "a useless thing" and the by-name hukka means perdition and annihilation. While bear has been the sacred animal of Finns, wolves have always been hunted and killed mercilessly. The wolf has been represented as implacable and malicious predator, killing more than it manages to eat. {{Citation needed|date=June 2011}}

Arctic and North America

In most Native American cultures, wolves are considered a medicine being associated with courage, strength, loyalty, and success at hunting.WEB,weblink Native American Indian Wolf Legends, Meaning and Symbolism from the Myths of Many Tribes,, 23 April 2018,

Arctic and Canada

File:Casco y collera de lobo tlingit (M. América, Madrid) 01.jpg|thumb|Helmet and collar representing a wolf, at the Museum of the Americas in MadridMadridWolves were generally revered by Aboriginal Canadians that survived by hunting, but were thought little of by those that survived through agriculture. Some Alaska Natives including the Nunamiut of both northern and northwestern Alaska respected the wolf's hunting skill and tried to emulate the wolf in order to hunt successfully. First Nations such as Naskapi as well as Squamish and Lil'wat view the wolf as a daytime hunting guide.BOOK, Lopez, Barry, Of wolves and men, 1978, 0-7432-4936-4, 320, The Naskapis believed that the caribou afterlife is guarded by giant wolves that kill careless hunters who venture too near. The Netsilik Inuit and Takanaluk-arnaluk believed that the sea-woman Nuliayuk's home was guarded by wolves. Wolves were feared by the Tsilhqot'in, who believed that contact with wolves would result in nervous illness or death.BOOK, L. David Mech & Luigi Boitani, Wolves: Behaviour, Ecology and Conservation, 2001, 448, 0-226-51696-2, The Dena’ina believed wolves were once men, and viewed them as brothers.{{Harvnb|Mech|Boitani|2003|p=292}}

United States

In the cardinal directions of Midwestern Native Americans, the wolf represented the west, but it represented the southeast for the Pawnee tribe. According to the Pawnee creation myth, the wolf was the first creature to experience death.{{Harvnb|Lopez|1978|p=133}} The Wolf Star, enraged at not having been invited to attend a council on how the Earth should be made, sent a wolf to steal the whirlwind bag of The Storm that Comes out of the West, which contained the first humans. Upon being freed from the bag, the humans killed the wolf, thus bringing death into the world. Native Americans have long seen the wolf as an animal of power. Many tribes credit the actual creator of the earth to be a wolf. The Arikara and Ojibwe believed a wolfman spirit made the Great Plains for them and for other animals. Many tribes consider wolves to be closely related to humans.WEB,weblink Native American Wolf Mythology, March 27, 2017, The reason for this belief is because of the wolf’s dedication to its pack,WEB, Wollert, Edward, Wolves in Native American Religion,weblink Wolf Song Alaska, March 27, 2017, a trait the tribes attributed with themselves. The Navajo tribe was known for performing healing ceremonies where they would call upon wolves to restore health to their ill. Wolves were admired for their superb hunting skills. Prayers were offered in honor of wolves before they went out of hunting excursions. The Pawnee’s connection with wolves was so great that their hand signal for Pawnee was actually the same one that they had for wolf. Before battles, Apache warriors would pray, sing, and dance to gain the teamwork, strength, and bravery of wolves.The Pawnee, being both an agricultural and hunting people, associated the wolf with both corn and the bison; the "birth" and "death" of the Wolf Star (Sirius) was to them a reflection of the wolf's coming and going down the path of the Milky Way known as Wolf Road. The Navajo tribe feared taboo-breaking witches (nearly always male) in wolves' clothing called yee naaldlooshii, literally "with it, he goes on all fours". Wolf in Navajo is mąʼiitsoh- literally "large coyote".There is an Omaha legend in which a wolf guides a wounded warrior back to his camp, alerting him whenever there are rival warriors nearby and showing him the easiest path. There is a story that was pushed around as Cherokee legend, Two Wolves,WEB,weblink Cherokee Legend - Two Wolves.,, 23 April 2018, that is often referenced in media but actually has ties to Christian-style parables that was told by Minister Billy Graham and actually mentioned, specifically, eskimoWEB,weblink Check the tag on that "Indian" story., 21 February 2012, , and because it's been attributed to the Cherokee – the one that goes around the Cherokee world has a deeper meaning and negates the "GOOD" VS "EVIL" tropweblink |title= Check the tag on that 'Indian story' |. In Cherokee beliefs, there was a clan called the wolf people. They would never kill a wolf, believing the spirit of the slain wolf would revenge its death. The Cherokee also believed that if a hunter showed respect and prayed before and after killing an animal such as a deer, a wolf, a fox, or an opossum would guard his feet against frostbite. The Tewa tribe believed that wolves held the powers of the east and were one of the zenith power-medicine animals.WEB,weblink The Wolf in Native American Folklore by Running Deer,, 23 April 2018,


{{see also|Chechen wolf}}The wolf is a national symbol of Chechnya.BOOK, Katherine S. Layton, Chechens: Culture and Society,weblink 17 December 2014, Palgrave Macmillan, 978-1-137-48397-3, 62–63, According to folklore, the Chechens are "born of a she-wolf", as included in the central line in the national myth. The "lone wolf" symbolizes strength, independence and freedom. A proverb about the teips (sub-clans) is "equal and free like wolves".BOOK, Robert Seely, Russo-Chechen Conflict, 1800-2000: A Deadly Embrace,weblink 2001, Psychology Press, 978-0-7146-4992-4, 28–,

Abrahamic traditions


File:Immanuelskirken Copenhagen mosaic.jpg|thumb|A mosaic on the entrance of a Church in Denmark depicting the Good Shepherd protecting a lamb from a wolf]]The Bible contains 13 references to wolves, usually as metaphors for greed and destructiveness. In the New Testament, Jesus is quoted to have used wolves as illustrations to the dangers His followers would have faced should they follow him (Matthew 10:16, Acts 20:29, Matthew 7:15)BOOK, Bright, Michael, Beasts of the Field: The Revealing Natural History of Animals in the Bible, 2006, 1-86105-831-4, 346, File:Gustave Doré - Dante Alighieri - Inferno - Plate 4 (Dante meets Virgil).jpg|thumb|upright|Virgil leads Dante away from the she-wolf in Inferno Canto 1 lines 87-88 as drawn by Gustave DoréGustave DoréThe Book of Genesis was interpreted in Medieval Europe as stating that nature exists solely to support man (Genesis 1:29), who must cultivate it (Genesis 2:15), and that animals are made for his own purposes (Genesis 2:18–20).The wolf is repeatedly mentioned in the scriptures as an enemy of flocks: a metaphor for evil men with a lust for power and dishonest gain, as well as a metaphor for Satan preying on innocent God-fearing Christians, contrasted with the shepherd Jesus who keeps his flock safe.{{citation needed|date=December 2013}} The Roman Catholic Church often used the negative imagery of wolves to create a sense of real devils prowling the real world.{{Citation needed|date=April 2009}} Quoting from Leviticus and Deuteronomy, the Malleus Maleficarum states that wolves are either agents of God sent to punish sinners, or agents of the Devil sent with God's blessing to harass true believers to test their faith.However, legends surrounding Saint Francis of Assisi show him befriending a wolf. According to the Fioretti, the city of Gubbio was besieged by the Wolf of Gubbio, which devoured both livestock and men. Francis of Assisi, who was living in Gubbio at the time took pity on the townsfolk, and went up into the hills to find the wolf. Soon fear of the animal had caused all his companions to flee, but the saint pressed on and when he found the wolf he made the sign of the cross and commanded the wolf to come to him and hurt no one. Miraculously the wolf closed his jaws and lay down at the feet of St. Francis. "Brother Wolf, you do much harm in these parts and you have done great evil ..." said Francis. "All these people accuse you and curse you… But brother wolf, I would like to make peace between you and the people." Then Francis led the wolf into the town, and surrounded by startled citizens he made a pact between them and the wolf. Because the wolf had "done evil out of hunger" the townsfolk were to feed the wolf regularly, and in return, the wolf would no longer prey upon them or their flocks. In this manner Gubbio was freed from the menace of the predator. Francis, ever the lover of animals, even made a pact on behalf of the town dogs, that they would not bother the wolf again.In Canto I of Dante's Inferno, the pilgrim encounters a she-wolf blocking the path to a hill bathed in light. The she-wolf represents the sins of concupiscence and incontinence. She is prophecised by the shade of Virgil to one day be sent to Hell by a greyhound.Much of the symbolism Jesus used in the New Testament revolved around the pastoral culture of Israel, and explained his relationship with his followers as analogous to that of a good shepherd protecting his flock from wolves. An innovation in the popular image of wolves started by Jesus includes the concept of the wolf in sheep's clothing, which warns people against false prophets.{{Harvnb|Marvin|2012|pp=43–45}} Several authors have proposed that Jesus's portrayal of wolves, comparing them to dangerous and treacherous people, was an important development in perceptions on the species, which legitimized centuries of subsequent wolf persecution in the western world.{{Harvnb|Lopez|1978|p=208}}{{Harvnb|Mech|Boitani|2003|p=293}} Subsequent medieval Christian literature followed and expanded upon Biblical teachings on the wolf. It appeared in the seventh century edition of the Physiologus, which infused pagan tales with the spirit of Christian moral and mystical teaching. The Physiologus portrays wolves as being able to strike men dumb on sight, and of having only one cervical vertebra. Dante included a she-wolf, representing greed and fraud, in the first canto of the Inferno. The Malleus Maleficarum, first published in 1487, states that wolves are either agents of God sent to punish the wicked, or agents of Satan, sent with God's blessing to test the faith of believers.{{Harvnb|Lopez|1978|pp=205, 219 & 240}}The hagiography of the 16th Century Blessed Sebastian de Aparicio includes the account that in his youth, his life was saved in a seemingly-miraculous way by a wolf. During an outbreak of the bubonic plague in his town in 1514, his parents were forced to isolate him from the community in quarantine, and built a hidden shelter for him in the woods, where they left him. While lying there helpless, due to his illness, a she-wolf found the hiding spot and, poking her head into his hiding spot, sniffed and then bit and licked an infected site on his body, before running off. He began to heal from that moment.JOURNAL,weblink Fairfield County Catholic, Blessed Sebastián de Aparicio, Markey, Greg, Father, 14 February 2013, 25 February 2013,


Wolves are mentioned three times in the Qur'an, specifically in the Sura Yusuf.12.13: "He said: Surely it grieves me that you should take him off, and I fear lest the wolf devour him while you are heedless of him."12.14: "They said: Surely if the wolf should devour him notwithstanding that we are a (strong) company, we should then certainly be losers."12.17: "They said: O our father! Surely we went off racing and left Yusuf by our goods, so the wolf devoured him, and you will not believe us though we are truthful."

Modern folklore, literature and pop culture

{{further|Wolves in fiction}}The popular image of the wolf is significantly influenced by the Big Bad Wolf stereotype from Aesop's Fables and Grimm's Fairy Tales.The Christian symbolism where the wolf represents the devil, or evil, being after the "sheep" who are the living faithful, is found frequently in western literature.In Milton's Lycidas the theological metaphor is made explicit:
"The hungry Sheep look up, and are not fed / But swoln with wind, and the rank mist they draw / Rot inwardly and foul contagian spread: Besides what the grim Woolf with privy paw / Daily devours apace"
The wolf in the Scandinavian tradition as either representing the warrior or as a symbol of Odin, sometimes combined with the Christian symbolism as the wolf representing evil or the devil, came to be a popular attribute in the heavy metal music subculture, used by bands such as Sonata Arctica, Marduk, Watain, Wintersun, and Wolf.

See also




  • BOOK, Beckwith, Christopher I., Christopher I. Beckwith, Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present,weblink 16 March 2009, Princeton University Press, 978-1400829941, 30 December 2014, harv,
  • BOOK, harv, Eisler, Robert, Robert Eisler, Man into wolf: an anthropological interpretation of sadism, 2, and lycanthropy,weblink 1951, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, B0000CI25D
  • BOOK, harv, Eliade, Mircea, Mircea Eliade, Zalmoxis, the vanishing God: comparative studies in the religions and folklore of Dacia and Eastern Europe,weblink 1986, University of Chicago Press, 978-0226203850
  • BOOK, harv, Eliade, Mircea, Mircea Eliade, Ivănescu, Maria, Ivănescu, Cezar, De la Zalmoxis la Genghis-Han: studii comparative despre religiile È™i folclorul Daciei È™i Europei Orientale, From Zalmoxis to Genghis Khan: comparative studies in the religions and folklore of Dacia and Eastern Europe,weblink Based on the translation from French of De Zalmoxis à Gengis-Khan, Payot, Paris, 1970, 1995, Humanitas, BucureÈ™ti, Romania, Romanian, 978-9732805541
  • BOOK, François, Anthony, Hulsewé, Paulus Hulsewé, A.F.P. Hulsewé, 1 January 1979, China in Central Asia: The Early Stage: 125 BC - AD 23 ; an Annotated Transl. of Chapters 61 and 96 of the History of the Former Han Dynasty. With an Introd. by M.A.N.Loewe,weblink Brill Publishers, Brill Archive, 9004058842, 30 May 2015, harv,
  • BOOK, harv, Jeanmaire, Henri, Couroi et courètes,weblink 1975, Arno, New York, French, 978-0405070013
  • BOOK, Kusmina, Elena Efimovna, Elena Efimovna Kuzmina, 2007, The Origin of the Indo-Iranians,weblink Brill Publishers, BRILL, 978-0521299442, February 13, 2015, harv,
  • BOOK, Lopez, Barry H., Of Wolves and Men, J. M. Dent and Sons Limited, 1978, 978-0-7432-4936-2, harv,
  • BOOK, Marvin, Garry, Wolf, Reaktion Books Ldt, 2012, 978-1-86189-879-1, harv,
  • BOOK, Mech, L. David, Boitani, Luigi, Wolves: Behaviour, Ecology and Conservation, University of Chicago Press, 2003, 978-0-226-51696-7, {{Google books, yes, zhwfmQEACAAJ, |ref=harv}}
  • BOOK, Sinor, Denis, Denis Sinor, The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia, Volume 1,weblink 1 March 1990, Cambridge University Press, 0521243041, 1 January 2015, harv,
  • BOOK, Watson, Burton, Burton Watson, 1993, Records of the Grand Historian of China. Han Dynasty II. Chapter 123. The Account of Ta-yüan, New York City, Columbia University Press, harv,
  • BOOK, harv, Zambotti, Pia Laviosa, I Balcani e l'Italia nella Preistoria, 1954, Italian, Como
, {{Living things in culture}}

- content above as imported from Wikipedia
- "Wolves in folklore, religion and mythology" does not exist on GetWiki (yet)
- time: 10:39pm EDT - Mon, Sep 16 2019
[ this remote article is provided by Wikipedia ]
LATEST EDITS [ see all ]
Eastern Philosophy
History of Philosophy
M.R.M. Parrott