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Sheep in 5th century BCE Greece

Sheep is a term used of the various species of four-legged mammals of the genus Ovis. As a main source of wool, domesticated sheep have been part of human history from early on.


Jason retrieving the Golden Fleece

In Greek mythology, the Golden Fleece was the coat of a ram, hung from a tree whence the hero Jason and his Argonauts retrieved it.[1]


5th century BCE

Sheep were a common sight in Greece before and during the Peloponnesian War. This was especially true in the capital city of Arkadia, Tegea, wherein sheep wandered on the streets as they willed, along with other animals. Their hooves were valued at 6 drachmae apiece.[2]

1st century BCE

Sheep were also prominent in Ptolemaic Egypt of 1st century BCE.[3]

9th century

During the 9th century, the English landscape featured many meadows used for livestock, including sheep. Bred for their meat and wool, sheep were often found near rural villages or at lonely farms.[4]

Cultural significance

Terms related to sheep have been used in metaphorical manner. 'Lamb' is used as a term of endearment, for example by the Spartan Myrrine about her daughter, the misthios Kassandra.[5] 'Sheep' itself is used to denote a timid or cowardly person.[6]