Cynocephalus

Most people have heard of werewolves, but few know of the ancient race of dog-headed men, better known as the Cynocephali. A Cynocephalus was essentially a man with the head of a dog. They could understand language but had no ability to speak. Though they are sometimes depicted in artwork as being civilized, they were by all reports savage beasts who lived to hunt and to kill.

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Around 400 B.C. the Greek physician Ctesias wrote the following passages (translated to English from Greek), describing the tribes of Cynocephalus.

“They speak no language, but bark like dogs, and in this manner make themselves understood by each other. Their teeth are larger than those of dogs, their nails like those of these animals, but longer and rounder. They inhabit the mountains as far as the river Indus. Their complexion is swarthy. They are extremely just, like the rest of the Indians with whom they associate. They understand the Indian language but are unable to converse, only barking or making signs with their hands and fingers by way of reply… They live on raw meat. They number about 120,000.

“The Cynocephali living on the mountains do not practice any trade but live by hunting. When they have killed an animal they roast it in the sun. They also rear numbers of sheep, goats, and asses, drinking the milk of the sheep and whey made from it. They eat the fruit of the Siptakhora, whence amber is procured, since it is sweet. They also dry it and keep it in baskets, as the Greeks keep their dried grapes. They make rafts which they load with this fruit together with well-cleaned purple flowers and 260 talents of amber, with the same quantity of the purple dye, and thousand additional talents of amber, which they send annually to the king of India. “They exchange the rest for bread, flour, and cotton stuffs with the Indians, from whom they also buy swords for hunting wild beasts, bows, and arrows, being very skillful in drawing the bow and hurling the spear. They cannot be defeated in war, since they inhabit lofty and inaccessible mountains. Every five years the king sends them a present of 300,000 bows, as many spears, 120,000 shields, and 50,000 swords.

“They do not live in houses, but in caves. They set out for the chase with bows and spears, and as they are very swift of foot, they pursue and soon overtake their quarry. The women have a bath once a month, the men do not have a bath at all, but only wash their hands. They anoint themselves three times a month with oil made from milk and wipe themselves with skins. The clothes of men and women alike are not skins with the hair on, but skins tanned and very fine.
The dog-headed men were a fierce warrior tribe, but they also traded with the few humans they trusted. They were reported to live primarily in India and Northern Africa, but were seen in many places in between. http://www.gods-and-monsters.com/cynocephalus.html

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Cynocephalus

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