The Dog-Headed Tribe of Greek Legend
Feb 1, 2018
The dog-headed tribe of Greek legend is also chronicled in the histories of many other nations. Also known as the Cynocephali, or Cynocephaly, evidence of this race of dog headed men is attested by the accounts of explorers, the artwork of cartographers, and multiple historians. Who were the dog men? Where could they be found? How did they vanish from the face of the earth, and what are the odds that members of this tribe, have survived until the present day?
In Egypt, the most monolithic civilization of old, three gods were represented as a human being, with the head of dog… Duamutef and Wepwawet, two gods of war, and Anubis, ruler of the dead. Was the Egyptian artwork depicting members of a race, which at one time co-existed with man?
Reports of this race begin in Greece. The Greek physician Ctesias, in a geographical treatise, wrote that in the mountains of India, there live men with dog heads, known as the Cynocephali, whose territory extends as far as the river Indus. They can understand language, but they have no ability to speak. They communicate with eachother by barking like dogs. Their population numbers over one hundred thousand. The Cynocephali produced amber and purple dye, large quantities of which they presented as annual tribute to the king of India. They did not live in houses. They lived in caves under the earth.
Eight centuries earlier, according to oral history, the Argonauts of Greece waged battle against the half dog tribe, at a place which is located in modern day Serbia. Their location in this area is independently confirmed by Serbian oral tradition, which speaks of the creature Psoglav, having a human body and a canine’s head, with teeth of iron. Psoglavs were said to live in a dark land with many gemstones, but no sun. This confirms they lived in caves.
The most famous of the dog men is Saint Christopher, who appears in several Christian texts, and many examples of religious art. Prior to his conversion, Christopher was said to have been a savage and ferocious soldier, captured in battle on the eastern coast of Libya. He was a large man with the head of a hound, from a tribe of warriors. After meeting Jesus, he repented and was baptized, eventually receiving sainthood, and occasionally granted the honor of being painted with a human face, in later iconic art.
A Chinese historian, Li Yanshou of the Tang dynasty, mentions a dog kingdom… and during the Liang Dynasty of China, the Buddhist missionary Huisheng describes an island of dog-headed men, to the east of Fusang, a nation he visited himself, which has since been identified as Japan.
In one story of King Arthur, his men are caught in a skirmish with dog headed warriors in the mountains of Edinburgh. Hundreds of them fall under the sword of the English knight Bedivere.
The famous explorer Marco Polo wrote of his journey to the Andaman Islands, off the coast of India. He recounts his meeting with barbarian men with heads like hounds, and he also identified the breed as Mastiff. They grew their own spices, which they were willing to trade. They displayed a primitive form of organized religion, and worshipped oxen. From their necks hung religious charms, hammered from pieces of silver and gold.
We can guess what happened to this fierce but minority race. As the empires of men expanded, the half dogs were exterminated. The evidence suggests they were a proud and aggressive tribe, which would have much preferred to die in battle, rather than be assimilated into human culture. However if self-destructive humankind reliquishes its claim to rule the earth, the Cynocephali may once more arise from their caves.
Nice presentation, chock full of good information.
I do not think that the creatures contained herein are our currently reported dogmen, mainly because these fellows are all depicted as having a human body.
The dogmen of our time do not have a human body, as their hind legs are hocked, like those of a canine. So they are obviously two distinct animals.
I find both exciting.
Oh, if only there were time machines.
ETA: The Indian tales… also well done:
The Dog-Headed Men of India
Mar 15, 2020
Why are there so many accounts, including first-hand accounts, of Dog-Headed men living in India and beyond?