Lycaon is a figure in Greek mythology (actually, there are two Lycaons – the other was around during the Trojan war and was captured by Achilles. This post isn't about him!). A king of ancient Arcadia, Lycaon was the son of Pelasgus and Meliboea. There are several versions of the myth about Lycaon, but in the most common version, Lycaon set out to test if Zeus really was omniscient.
Lycaon did this in a particularly gruesome way. He cooked a special dish in which the main ingredient was the dismembered body of one of his sons, Nyctimus. Of course, Zeus knew exactly what he had done, and turned Lycaon into a wolf for his trouble. He also used lightning bolts to kill Lycaon's remaining 49 sons (yes, he had a total of 50 sons and at least 3 daughters!) and possibly brought Nyctimus back to life.
Despite his terrible reputation, Lycaon also did some good deeds. He was said to have founded Lycosura, an Arcadian city which was said by Pausanias to be the oldest city in the world. He was also thought to have started the Lycaean Games.
|Zeus turning Lycaon into a wolf (Source: Wikimedia Commons)|