Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Medieval werewolves

Sunt homines quidam Scottorum gentis habentes
Miram naturam maiorum ab origine ductam....

Section XVI, Of Men Who Turns Themselves into Wolves

There are some men of the Scottish race
Who have this wondrous nature from ancestry and birth:
Whensoever they will, they can speedily turn themselves
Into the form of wolves and rend flesh with wicked teeth:
Often are they seen slaying sheep that moan in pain.
But when men raise the hue and cry,
Or scare them with staves and swords, they take flight like true wolves.
But whilst they act thus, they leave their true bodies
And give orders to their women not to move them:
If this happens, they can no longer return to them.
If any man harm them or any wound pierce their flesh,
The wounds can be plainly seen in their own bodies:
Thus their companions can see the raw flesh in the jaws
Of their true body: and we all wonder at the sight.

Aubrey Gwynn, The Writings of Bishop Patrick, 1074-1084, Scriptores Latini Hiberniae 1 (Dublin, 1955), pp. 62-63 §xvi.

Complete Latin text and more about medieval lycanthropy at In the Middle.