Did Ancient Greece Have Wolves?

Ancient Greece was home to a diverse range of wildlife, from the majestic lion to the humble hare. However, one question that often comes up is whether wolves were present in ancient Greece.

The History of Wolves in Greece

Wolves have been a part of Greek mythology for centuries, with stories such as the tale of Lycaon, a king cursed by Zeus to become a wolf. However, these stories are just myths and do not provide any concrete evidence as to whether wolves actually lived in ancient Greece.

Despite this, there is archaeological evidence that suggests wolves did indeed live in ancient Greece. The bones of wolves have been discovered at various sites across Greece, including the Acropolis in Athens and the city of Corinth. These discoveries indicate that wolves were present in Greece during the classical period.

The Role of Wolves in Ancient Greek Society

Wolves played an important role in ancient Greek society, both symbolically and practically. In mythology, wolves were often associated with strength and fierceness. They were also seen as protectors, with statues of wolf deities found at various sites across Greece.

In terms of practical use, wolves were hunted for their fur and meat. They were also considered a threat to livestock and were therefore hunted by farmers. This led to a strained relationship between humans and wolves.

  • The Decline of Wolves in Ancient Greece

Despite their once prominent presence in ancient Greek society, wolves began to decline in numbers during the Hellenistic period (323 BCE – 31 BCE). This was due to several factors such as deforestation and overhunting by humans.

In addition, there was also a shift towards pastoralism during this time which meant that livestock became more valuable than ever before. As a result, farmers began actively hunting down wolves to protect their herds.


In conclusion, while wolves did indeed exist in ancient Greece, their numbers declined over time due to human activities. Despite this, they played an important role in Greek mythology and society and remain an integral part of the country’s cultural heritage today.