Dolphins, these most popular and intelligent mammals, have played an important role in human cultures from ancient times.
It is maybe in the Minoan civilization that the first representations of dolphins appear, in the famous Knossos palace frescoes, showing the importance that Minoans attributed to dolphins. Dolphins have been also depicted in Greek ancient pottery pieces, seals, coins and mosaics.
Dolphins also appear in myths and fables, forging close relationships and helping humans. In the Homeric hymn to Dionysus, we see how ancient Greeks explained the jovial and intelligent nature of dolphins, as well as their love for humans. According to this hymn, dolphins were once men, transformed into dolphins by god Dionysus.
In another myth, it was a dolphin that found for god Poseidon his hiding future wife Amphitrite. In another myth it was again a dolphin that saved Poseidon’s son, Taras, and Odysseus’ son, Telemachos from drowning. Many accounts, from both the ancient and the modern world exist of dolphins helping people, sometimes in perfect collaboration with fishermen.
Dolphins were considered to be god’s Apollo messengers, while they have been a worship object in some cults, and a good omen when appearing next to ships for a smooth voyage.
It’s not strange that dolphins till today are considered as symbols of freedom, protection and good luck.
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