Thursday, March 16, 2006


Classical Dog Names

Xenophon, On Hunting 7.5 (tr. E.C. Marchant):
Give the hounds short names, so as to be able to call to them easily. The following are the right sort: Psyche, Thymus, Porpax, Styrax, Lonché, Lochus, Phrura, Phylax, Taxis, Xiphon, Phonax, Phlegon, Alcé, Teuchon, Hyleus, Medas, Porthon, Sperchon, Orgé, Bremon, Hybris, Thallon, Rhomé, Antheus, Hebe, Getheus, Chara, Leusson, Augo, Polys, Bia, Stichon, Spudé, Bryas, Oenas, Sterrus, Craugé, Caenon, Tyrbas, Sthenon, Aether, Actis, Aechmé, Noës, Gnomé, Stibon, Hormé.

Τὰ δ' ὀνόματα αὐταῖς τίθεσθαι βραχέα, ἵνα εὐανάκλητα ᾖ. εἶναι δὲ χρὴ τοιάδε: Ψυχή, Θυμός, Πόρπαξ, Στύραξ, Λογχή, Λόχος, Φρουρά, Φύλαξ, Τάξις, Ξίφων, Φόναξ, Φλέγων, Ἀλκή, Τεύχων, Ὑλεύς, Μήδας, Πόρθων, Σπέρχων, Ὀργή, Βρέμων, Ὕβρις, Θάλλων, Ῥώμη, Ἀνθεύς, Ἥβα, Γηθεύς, Χαρά, Λεύσσων, Αὐγώ, Πολύς, Βία, Στίχων, Σπουδή, Βρύας, Οἰνάς, Στέρρος, Κραύγη, Καίνων, Τύρβας, Σθένων, Αἰθήρ, Ἀκτίς, Αἰχμή, Νόης, Γνώμη, Στίβων, Ὁρμή.
Marchant ad loc.:
The names are significant of the colour, strength, spirit, sagacity or behaviour of the hounds. Hebe and Psyche are still in the list of bitches' names, and modern equivalents of several of the other names are in use, e.g. Lance (Lonché), Sentinel (Phylax), Ecstasy (Chara), Blueskin (Oenas), Crafty (Medas), Hasty (Sperchon), Vigorous (Thallon), Impetus (Hormé), Counsellor (Noës), Bustler (dog) or Hasty (bitch); cf. Sperchon. For Πολύς we should probably read Πολεύς, "Rover."
Ovid, Metamorphoses 3.206-225 (tr. Frank Justus Miller, revised by G.P. Goold):
But while he [Actaeon] stands peplexed he sees his hounds. And first come Melampus and keen-scented Ichnobates, baying loud on the trail -- Ichnobates a Cretan dog, Melampus a Spartan; then others come rushing on swifter than the wind; Pamphagus, Dorceus, and Oribasos, Arcadians all; staunch Nebrophonos, fierce Theron and Laelaps; Pterelas, the swift of foot, and keen-scented Agre; savage Hylaeus, but lately ripped up by a boar; the wolf-dog Nape and the trusty shepherd Poemenis; Harpyia with her two pups; Sicyonian Ladon, thin in the flanks; Dromas, Canache, Sticte, Tigris, Alce; white-haired Leucon, black Astobolos; Lacon, renowned for strength, and fleet Aëllo; Thoos and swift Lycisce with her brother Cyprius; Harpalos, with a white spot in the middle of his black forehead; Melaneus and shaggy Lachne; two dogs from a Cretan father and a Spartan mother, Labros and Argiodus; shrill-tongued Hylactor, and others whom it were too long to name.

Dum dubitat, videre canes, primique Melampus
Ichnobatesque sagax latratu signa dedere,
Cnosius Ichnobates, Spartana gente Melampus.
inde ruunt alii rapida velocius aura,
Pamphagos et Dorceus et Oribasos, Arcades omnes,
Nebrophonosque valens et trux cum Laelape Theron
et pedibus Pterelas et naribus utilis Agre
Hylaeusque ferox nuper percussus ab apro
deque lupo concepta Nape pecudesque secuta
Poemenis et natis comitata Harpyia duobus
et substricta gerens Sicyonius ilia Ladon
et Dromas et Canache Sticteque et Tigris et Alce
et niveis Leucon et villis Asbolos atris
praevalidusque Lacon et cursu fortis Aello
et Thoos et Cyprio velox cum fratre Lycisce
et nigram medio frontem distinctus ab albo
Harpalos et Melaneus hirsutaque corpore Lachne
et patre Dictaeo, sed matre Laconide nati
Labros et Argiodus et acutae vocis Hylactor
quosque referre mora est.
Miller/Goold ad loc.:
The English names of these hounds in their order would be: Black-foot, Trail-follower, Voracious, Gazelle, Mountain-ranger, Faun-killer [sic, should be Fawn-killer], Hurricane, Hunter, Winged, Hunter, Sylvan, Glen, Shepherd, Seizer, Catcher, Runner, Gnasher, Spot, Tigress, Might, White, Soot, Spartan, Whirlwind, Swift, Cyprian, Wolf, Grasper, Black, Shag, Fury, White-tooth, Barker, Black-hair, Beast-killer, Mountaineer.
Hyginus 181 reproduces fairly closely Ovid's list (without mentioning Ovid's name) and adds:
Item alii auctores tradunt haec nomina: Acamas Syrus Aeon Stilbon Agrius Charops Aethon Coran Boreas Draco Eudromus Dromius Zephyrus Lampus Haemon Cyllopodes Harpalycus Machimus Ichneus Melampus Ocydromus Borax Ocythous Pachitus Obrimus, feminae: Argo Arethusa Urania Theriope Dinomache Dioxippe Echione Gorgo Cyllo Harpyia Lynceste Leaene Lacaena Ocypete Ocydrome Oxyroe Orias Sagnos Theriphone Volatos Chediaetros.
Odysseus' dog was named Argos (Homer, Odyssey 17.290-327).

Maybe I should have entitled this blog post Greek Dog Names, since I see there isn't even a single Latin name represented.

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