Canis lupus in the text? A wolf sacrifice in Xenophon’s Anabasis, 2.2.9


Słowa kluczowe:

wolf, sacrifice, bloody rites, Greece, Persia, Anabasis


The subject of this article is an enigmatic and thus highly intriguing passage in Book 2 of Xenophon's Anabasis, where the author succinctly describes an alliance between Greek mer[1]cenaries and the Persian commander Ariaeus. Both sides pledged under oath to help each other, not to use trickery or treachery. This military pact was preceded by an animal sacrifice, after which the Greeks dipped sword blades and the Persians spearheads in the blood poured on a shield. The domestic animals killed in this rite were a bull and a ram, while the wild ones were a boar and a wolf. However, in the last case there is a controversy: some medieval manuscripts of the Anabasis do not mention the predatory animal, whereas others do. In the paper I argue that MSS lesson with the noun 'wolf ', should be retained, which in turn prompts one to ask about the religious context in which wolf was might be killed in sacrifice and by whom.