Cultures from all over the world tell campfire tales of were-creatures. Asia has were-tigers and were-foxes. Africa has were-hippos, crocodiles, and hyenas. South America has were-jaguars. Native Americans have skin-walkers. It seems anywhere you go, the top predator is mythologized as a supernatural creature.
The European werewolf, also known as a lycanthrope, is a fixture of modern pop culture. Its origins lie in ancient times, before recorded history, but its role has changed through the ages. Lycanthropy began as a punishment, became a gift, and was rewritten as a curse.
10. The Ancient Warrior Class
The Proto-Indo-European culture was a primal civilization that may have existed in ancient Europe. If real, it would be the source of all European culture, but there is no physical evidence of its existence. All we have are clues hidden in disparate languages—common words across nations. Historians have done their best to piece together this mysterious first society.
Linguist Kim McCone believes that the Proto-Indo-Europeans had a warrior class of young men who traveled in packs of two to 12 and lived freely off the land. These groups were likened to wolves and called wolf packs. They even dressed in wolf skins and adorned themselves in wolf iconography.
According to some theories, these proto-warriors passed on their wolfish traits to their descendants. The Celts and Gaulish had similar warriors. The Greeks had young warriors who lived like wolves in the wild. Some Arcadians wore wolf (or bear) skins instead of using shields. The cult of the wolf persisted longest in Scandinavian tradition, where the ulfhednar were the wolf-skinned counterparts of the bear-skinned berserkers.