Greek mythology encompasses the beliefs and rituals of Classical Greece. It was followed for over three thousand years until the establishment of Christianity and Islam. Unlike many ancient religions, most of Greek mythology came from the telling of stories by the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world and their own cult and ritual practices. Different versions of the tales have created conflicting stories or combined with each other for more epics.
Greek mythology and furries
Greek mythology has no end of stories and characters that appeal to furries, from human/animal hybrids, to stories of transformations. Some furry spiritualists consider this to be one of the earliest forms of furry.
Examples of Greek mythological creatures that have made their way to furry today include:
- Dragons, such as Ladon and Python and the Hydra
- Chimeras, such as the creature of the same name and the Sphinx
Foxes in Greek mythology
Even furry favorite foxes appear in Greek mythology, most noticably the Teumessian fox, a gigantic fox destined never to be caught, sent by the gods to prey upon the children of Thebes as a punishment. Amphitryon, the stepfather of the Greek hero Hercules, stopped the fox by catching the magical dog Laelaps, who was destined to catch everything it chased. Zeus, faced with an inevitable contradiction in fate (an uncatchable fox being pursued by an unavoidable dog) turned the pair of beasts into stone and transmuted them into constellations in the sky.
Transformation stories in Greek mythology
Transformation is another common theme in Greek mythology. Many stories were recorded by the poet Ovid in his collection The Metamorphoses, a narrative of over 100 stories from myth and legend. Many stories surround a maiden or a man transformed into a beast often for sex or as a punishment. An example of this is the story of Actaeon, a young prince and hunter who stumbled across the goddess Artemis bathing. Actaeon hid in the bushes and spied on her as she continued to bathe; she was enraged to discover the spy, and turned him into a stag which was pursued and killed by his own hounds.
Another story relates to Io, a beautiful nymph seduced by the god Zeus. When Zeus was caught, he tried to hide Io by turning her into a cow. Hera, Zeus's wife demanded that the cow be given to her as a tribute and Zeus was forced to agree. Hera forced her to wander the earth plagued by a gadfly until Zeus was able to transform her back into human.
Among the oldest werewolf stories are derived from Greek myth. Pausanias wrote that the first king of Arcadia, Lycaon, made human sacrifices to Zeus (some sources suggest cannibalism,) who in turn punished Lycaon by turning him into a wolf. One of the oldest cults in history, attributed to Zeus Lycaeus, has its origins in that story: an annual sacrifice was held in Zeus's honor, in which a man was chosen to become a wolf. If, in ten years, he abstained from human flesh, he was permitted to regain his humanity. Such a cult has since been driven out by more Hellenistic followers of Zeus.
- Bulfinch, Thomas (2003). "Greek Mythology and Homer", Bulfinch's Greek and Roman Mythology. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-30881-0.