Odysseus and Argos
|Known for||Speed and strength and his superior tracking skills|
|Appearance||Lying neglected on a pile of cow manure, infested with lice, old and very tired|
In Homer's Odyssey, Argos (/
Excerpt from the Odyssey
- As they were speaking, a dog that had been lying asleep raised his head and pricked up his ears. This was Argos, whom Odysseus had bred before setting out for Troy, but he had never had any enjoyment from him. In the old days he used to be taken out by the young men when they went hunting wild goats, or deer, or hares, but now that his master was gone he was lying neglected on the heaps of mule and cow dung that lay in front of the stable doors till the men should come and draw it away to manure the great close; and he was full of fleas. As soon as he saw Odysseus standing there, he dropped his ears and wagged his tail, but he could not get close up to his master. When Odysseus saw the dog on the other side of the yard, dashed a tear from his eyes without Eumaios seeing it, and said:
- 'Eumaios, what a noble hound is that is over yonder on the manure heap: his build is splendid; is he as fine a fellow as he looks, or is he only one of those dogs that come begging about a table, and are kept merely for show?'
- 'This dog,' answered Eumaios, 'belonged to him who has died in a far country. If he were what he was when Odysseus left for Troy, he would soon show you what he could do. There was not a wild beast in the forest that could get away from him when he was once on its tracks. But now he has fallen on evil times, for his master is dead and gone, and the women take no care of him. Servants never do their work when their master's hand is no longer over them, for Zeus takes half the goodness out of a man when he makes a slave of him.'
- So saying he entered the well-built mansion, and made straight for the riotous pretenders in the hall. But Argos passed into the darkness of death, now that he had fulfilled his destiny of faith and seen his master once more after twenty years.
- Man's best friend (phrase)
- Greek mythology in popular culture
- Hachikō — a real life dog who searched for his dead owner for years after his master had died
- Greyfriars Bobby — another real life dog who stayed by his master's grave for fourteen years
- Shep (American dog) — a real life dog whose master's casket was taken away by train and met every train for six years until his death
- Gelert (Welsh Dog) — belonged to Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd. Defended a baby from Wolf attack.
- Jurassic Bark — an episode of Futurama with thematic elements similar to those of Odysseus and Argos, involving Fry and his dog waiting for him till his death
- Bluey — the dog with the longest verified lifespan was an Australian cattle dog who lived 29 years, 5 months
- Homer. Odyssey. Trans. Stanley Lombardo. Canada: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2000. Print.