Werewolf Week: WOLF MADNESS!!!

Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy 1.1.1:

Lycanthropia, which Avicenna calls cucubuth, others lupinam insaniam, or wolf-madness, when men run howling about graves and fields in the night, and will not be persuaded but that they are wolves, or some such beasts. Aetius and Paulus call it a kind of melancholy; but I should rather refer it to madness, as most do. Some make a doubt of it whether there be any such disease. Donat ab Altomari saith, that he saw two of them in his time: Wierus tells a story of such a one at Padua 1541, that would not believe to the contrary, but that he was a wolf. He hath another instance of a Spaniard, who thought himself a bear; Forrestus confirms as much by many examples; one amongst the rest of which he was an eyewitness, at Alcmaer in Holland, a poor husbandman that still hunted about graves, and kept in churchyards, of a pale, black, ugly, and fearful look. Such belike, or little better, were king Praetus’ daughters, that thought themselves kine. And Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel, as some interpreters hold, was only troubled with this kind of madness.

This disease perhaps gave occasion to that bold assertion of [907]Pliny, some men were turned into wolves in his time, and from wolves to men again: and to that fable of Pausanias, of a man that was ten years a wolf, and afterwards turned to his former shape: to Ovid’s tale of Lycaon, &c. He that is desirous to hear of this disease, or more examples, let him read Austin in his 18th book de Civitate Dei, cap. 5. Mizaldus, cent. 5. 77. Sckenkius, lib. 1. Hildesheim, spicel. 2. de Mania. Forrestus lib. 10. de morbis cerebri. Olaus Magnus, Vincentius Bellavicensis, spec. met. lib. 31. c. 122. Pierius, Bodine, Zuinger, Zeilger, Peucer, Wierus, Spranger, &c. This malady, saith Avicenna, troubleth men most in February, and is nowadays frequent in Bohemia and Hungary, according to Heurnius. Scheretzius will have it common in Livonia. They lie hid most part all day, and go abroad in the night, barking, howling, at graves and deserts; they have usually hollow eyes, scabbed legs and thighs, very dry and pale, saith Altomarus; he gives a reason there of all the symptoms, and sets down a brief cure of them.

Werewolf-Woodcut-243X200

Werewolf Week: Augustine on Arcadian Werewolf Legends

From Augustine’s City of God XVIII.17

“Varro adds to this by relating other things no less incredible about that most renowned witch Circe, who changed the companions of Ulysses into beasts, and about the Arcadians, who after drawing lots would swim across a certain pool and there be turned into wolves; they would then live with similar wild beasts in the deserts of that region. If, however, after nine years they had not tasted of human flesh, they would be turned back into humans if they swam back across the pond. He also mentions that a certain Demaenetus had tasted a part of the sacrifice in the form of a burnt boy which the Arcadians used to offer to their god Lycaeus; he was turned into a wolf and after ten years restored to his human form. He then practiced boxing and won that contest in the Olympics. The same historian thinks that such a name was not given to Pan Lycaeus and Jupiter Lycaeus for any other reason than this transformation into wolves, which they used to think could not happen but by divine influence. (For, a wolf is called a lykos in Greek, from which it appears that the name of Lycaeus is derived. He also says that the Romans were called Luperci as though derived from the seed of those mystery rites.)”

Hoc Varro ut astruat, commemorat alia non minus incredibilia de illa maga famosissima Circe, quae socios quoque Vlixis mutauit in bestias, et de Arcadibus, qui sorte ducti tranabant quoddam stagnum atque ibi conuertebantur in lupos et cum similibus feris per illius regionis deserta uiuebant. Si autem carne non uescerentur humana, rursus post nouem annos eodem renatato stagno reformabantur in homines. Denique etiam nominatim expressit quendam Demaenetum gustasse de sacrificio, quod Arcades immolato puero deo suo Lycaeo facere solerent, et in lupum fuisse mutatum et anno decimo in figuram propriam restitutum pugilatum sese exercuisse et Olympiaco uicisse certamine. Nec idem propter aliud arbitratur historicus in Arcadia tale nomen adfictum Pani Lycaeo et Ioui Lycaeo nisi propter hanc in lupos hominum mutationem, quod eam nisi ui diuina fieri non putarent. Lupus enim Graece *lu/kos dicitur, unde Lycaei nomen apparet inflexum. Romanos etiam Lupercos ex illorum mysteriorum ueluti semine dicit exortos.