Thursday, September 26, 2013

Getting My Goat

When I sat down yesterday morning to put together this post, I thought it would take ten minutes or so to gather a bundle of images from my folders, publish them, and be done. When I discovered my collection of caprine characters was a little scant, I hit the search engines to punch it up a bit, and soon found myself down the rabbit-hole. I went wandering through myth, legend, and popular culture, and soon realized I would now have to cut back on everything I had put together. Goats are some of the earliest domesticated animals and it is no surprise that they feature in many myths. There are gods who are part goat, like Khnum in Egypt or Pan in Greece, but I want to focus on what you might call full-on goats.
One of the earliest representations of King Arthur is a mosaic that shows him as a king in the otherworld, riding a goat. In Welsh writer Walter Map's De Nugis Curialium, he tells the story of the meeting of King Herla with a dwarf king mounted on a goat, to fateful consequences. It seems we are likely to be treated more images of goat-riding dwarves in the third Hobbit movie next year, with Dain and his army from the Iron Hills reportedly mounted up on a battalion of billies.

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