Last week’s post we covered some of the modern misconceptions of Werewolves in today’s media. This week’s Werewolf post will be more specific, the Werewolves of Italy.
The earliest legends of Italy (Rome) involving wolves is the raising of it’s founders Romulus and Remus by a she-wolf. If you don’t know it:
The twins Romulus and Remus were born to a priestess of the goddess Vesta and the god Mars. As infants they were sent to their death by their uncle and when given to their should be killer they were instead thrown into the river safely in a basket. They were later found by the she-wolf who cared for them until they were adopted by a shepherd and his wife. Once adults they exact their revenge and kill their uncle, return power to their grandfather, and in turn founded the city of Rome. Unfortunately Romulus killed is brother, and became the first ruler of Rome.
Though they are not said to be werewolves, this legend is usually included among much werewolf lore.
The name given to the werewolves of Italy is Lupo Mannaro and are thought to live among humans. In stories they are believed to be restless, dangerous, and unpredictable; having to count the stars in the sky to control the restlessness they feel. This form of werewolf is born or uses magic to become one, instead of bitten, but only on a magical night (like Christmas or a full moon). It is believed that the only way to stop this werewolf is only during mid-transformation, or climb to the top of a stairs that has more than three steps.
The Benandanti have been mistaken as Italian werewolves on many websites, but in truth they are not. They are a type of shapeshifter, and are really superheroes in Northern Italian folklore. [Note: Since the Benandanti are shapshifters, they will have a separate post of their own.]
That’s all the little tidbits I’ve got on it for now, hopefully I’ll be able to update it later with more research. Tune in next week, for Part Three where I talk about the Celtic Warrior wolves the Faoladh! 🙂
Italians Myths and Legends (Article) on Primsleur Approach
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