European and Middle Eastern Foxes

FOXES

Foxes from the Middle East and Europe

 

Fox Distribution in Asia and EuropeFoxes are common animals over large areas of Europe, the Middle East and Asia and have interacted with the human race for many millennia, to the extent that their images and stories of their reputed behaviour have become widely incorporated into human culture.

The first evidence of this comes from Gobekli  Tepe in South-east Turkey where sculpted  reliefs of a dog fox are common on T-shaped megaliths dating from 9000 to 7500 BC.

The fox features in the Sumerian Wisdom Literature, much of which can be dated to at least the third millennium BC. It is a leading player in the myth of Enki and Ninchursag where it saves the world from drought and destruction after a dispute between the God and Goddess over the loss of eight special plants. The fox is the most frequently mentioned wild animal in the Sumerian Proverbs where it appears thirty-seven times. In the later Akkadian literature it has a starring role in The Series of The Fox where it is embroiled in disputes with The Wolf, The Lion and The Dog.

Detailed analysis of these proverbs and other Sumerian and Akkadian sayings about foxes leads to the firm conclusion that The Fox was recognized as a constellation of stars in the night sky.  This constellation contained the brightest long-period variable star, Mira, whose contrary luminosity led to the fox being given a disreputable personality. This was perpetuated through Aesop's Fables and later Christian allegorical literature. The Fox as a constellation can also be traced through Persian and particularly Greek culture where it had a significant role in the symbolism surrounding the God Dionysos.