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STUDIA MYTHOLOGICA SLAVICA 11, 2008
Marjeta Šašel Kos:
The story of the grateful wolf and Venetic horses in Strabo’s Geography
Strabo (the Greek historian and geographer of the Augustan Age) reported that the sanctuary of the Greek hero Diomedes, to whom the ancient Veneti used to sacrifi ce a white horse, was located in the area of the sacred site at the Timavus River where it fl ows into the Adriatic. In this passage Strabo also narrated the (aetiological) story of a wolf, which had been saved from the nets of hunters by a well-to-do man. As an act of gratitude, the wolf (which may be regarded as a prototype of a fi gure corresponding to the Master of the Wolves) drove off a herd of unbranded horses and brought them to the stable of his benefactor. These horses proved to be a superior breed, and indeed the Venetic horses were well known in the Graeco-Roman world as excellent racing horses; horse-breeding and trade in horses were two important economic activities among the Veneti. Strabo’s data are confi rmed by other literary sources, as well as by archaeological and epigraphic fi nds.
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