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The Dogs of War

Printed From: WorldHistoria Forum
Forum Name: Weapons
Forum Description: Weaponry ranging from small arms to nuclear devices, tanks, planes and other military vehicles
Printed Date: 29 Sep 2020 at 05:45
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Topic: The Dogs of War
Posted By: Gordopolis
Subject: The Dogs of War
Date Posted: 17 Aug 2018 at 03:50
Not sure if it's right to add this to the 'weapons' section, but:

'Cry "Havoc!", and let slip...' 
A look at the use of Molossian hounds in the Roman army.

Gordon Doherty, Author - -

Posted By: Guest
Date Posted: 19 Aug 2018 at 13:46
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...' 
A look at the use of Molossian hounds in the Roman army.

This post is really an advertisement for your web site and book.
Advertising is not permitted on this forum-see Forum Code of Conduct.
Why not post your opinions, thoughts etc on Dogs of War so that they may be debated, discussed.

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Posted By: franciscosan
Date Posted: 20 Aug 2018 at 09:12
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?).

Posted By: franciscosan
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2018 at 08:14
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 by Glenn Most, "A Shaggy Dog Story...."  a bit of the hair of the dog that bit you.

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