Monday, August 9, 2010

Laelaps


The Death of Procris c1500
Piero di Cosimo

The attractive dog on the right is a talented canine from Greek myth named Laelaps. To the great misfortune and dismay of his prey, Laelaps never failed to catch his quarry. Amazingly, in spite of his abilities, Laelaps had a number of owners including Zeus, the god of sky and thunder, and later King Minos, the son of Zeus and Europa. It seems his hunting prowess made him eminently giftable. King Minos understood Laelap's giftabilty, and presented him as a reward for the speedy cure of an uncomfortably bizarre medical condition "gifted" by his wife. It seems Zeus's wife was so angry at her wandering husband, she cursed him to ejaculate scorpions and spiders eager to eat the genitals of Minos's sleeping partners. That woman had one nasty imagination. 

      
Very nasty!

The desperate King Minos asked Procris of Athens to cure his problem. On succeeding, he prized her with Laelaps, an infallible javelin, and possibly a bronze giant named Talos. Procris's husband was impressed by Laelaps, eventually taking him along to hunt the uncatchable Teumessian fox

The Teumessian Fox and Laelaps
Artist: Polylerus

Unfortuanately, Procris's husband didn't consider the paradox of a dog that always caught it's prey, and a fox that could never be caught. As a consequence, the hunt went on indefinitely until Zeus, maddened by the contradictary nature of the pursuit, turned them both to stone and sent them to the stars. 

 

Laelaps can now be found in the sky posing as the constellation Canis Major. I hope he's happy. 

1 comment:

  1. I bet he is a whole lot happier than King Minos!

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