Herodotus was arguably the first historian whose work is largely reliable, and for that reason he is known as the ‘father of history’. He lived in Halicarnassus in the 5th Century B.C. In the fourth book of his one great work Histories, he wrote about a tribe in Scythia (Eastern Europe) called the Neuri. With some degree of scepticism, he reported what he had been told about their lycanthropic nature:
The Neuri follow Scythian customs, but one generation before the advent of Darius’s army, they happened to be driven from their country by snakes; for their land produced great numbers of them, and still more descended on them out of the desolation in the north, until at last the Neuri were so afflicted that they left their own country and lived among the Budini. It may be that these people are wizards; for the Scythians, and the Greeks settled in Scythia, say that once a year every one of the Neuri becomes a wolf for a few days and changes back again to his former shape. Those who tell this tale do not convince me; but they tell it nonetheless, and swear to its truth.
In the lead-up to Halloween, I am presenting a ‘Creepy History’ series. Normal service (journals and snippets) will be resumed in November. You can keep updated each time I post a new entry by clicking on the follow button on the right of the screen.