WILDMAN of Southern Europe. In its
earliest form, it was a Greek elemental spirit of
the forests and mountains. Later, it came to represent
the undeveloped, bestial state of humanity
or, alternatively, an idyllic past. Satyrs were
the companions of the wine god Dionysus.
Etymology: From the Greek sátyros, of uncertain
origin, though possibly derived from the
Hebrew se’ir (“hairy demon”).
Variant names: Fatui ficarii, FAUN, PAN,
Physical description: Covered with hair. Low
forehead. Small horns. Monkeylike face.
Pointed ears. Snub nose. Full lips. Long beard.
Legs, hooves, and tail of a goat or horse.
Behavior: Found in small groups. Lascivious.
Loves to dance. Plays music on reed pipes (syrinx)
or cymbals. Terrorizes shepherds and travelers.
Distribution: Northern Greece; Egypt;
Turkey; India; other remote islands and lands.
Significant sightings: In the fifth century B.C.,
the hide of a Satyr named Marsyas was a famous
tourist attraction near the source of the
Menderes River in south-central Turkey.
In 86 B.C., a Satyr was found sleeping in a
meadow called the Nymphaeum, near Durrës,
Albania, and taken to the Roman general Lucius
Cornelius Sulla, who was passing through
the area after sacking Athens in the First
Mithridatic War. The Satyr’s speech could not
be understood and sounded like a neighing or
Euphemus the Carian was blown off course
to an unknown island in the Mediterranean that
was populated by Satyrs. The creatures had red
hair and horse’s tails, and as soon as Euphemus
landed, they tried to rape the women on board
St. Jerome reported that in the early fourth
century, Emperor Constantine traveled to Antakya,
Turkey, to view the remains of a Satyr
that had been preserved in salt.
(1) A symbol of precivilized, Neolithic
(2) Early Greek tribal groups who followed
the god PAN and revered goats as their
(3) Folk memory of Neanderthals (Homo
neanderthalensis) or archaic Homo sapiens.
(4) An imaginative explanation for fossils of
large vertebrates that are occasionally found
in Greece and Turkey.
(5) Indian Satyrs may have been based on
(6) As early as the fifth century B.C., cleverly
manufactured Satyr masks for Greek
dramatic performances were made from hair
and skins. Fake Satyrs were probably created
as tourist attractions out of human
mummies fitted with such masks and other