Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wereword Wednesday

Wow! It's been a while since we've done one of these!

Today I'd like to spend a moment on the word we use so much here: werewolf.

In a Dover reprint of Montague Summers' book The Werewolf in Lore and Legend (p.3) I found this mention related to the "were" part of our word:

"...were was moste commonly taken for a maried man." (Richard Rowlands/Verstegan, of A Restitution of Decayed Intelligence, 1605)

Okay, honestly, when I read that it sort of set me back in my paces a little. Hmm. So werewolves were (according to that translation) most often married men? Interesting.

Of course, considering historical context, most men were married men in that historical period. Remember the old idea was that the first born inherited (so they needed a wife and heir), the second born went into the military (but often married, too) and the third born (if a family was so lucky to get 3 boys) went into religious service--sorry, no wife there (usually). So, approximately 2/3 of the middle class and up (and often lower classes, too) males were married and might potentially be a werewolf.

And let's remember--Bisclavret was a married man and there are tails--err--tales of other marriages going awry over werewolfism...


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