cats in greek mythology Parthenon and a cat

A cat at the Greek Parthenon Photo Credit: Risto Kinnunen

“The cat did it!” – Aristophanes

For this month’s exploration of Cats in History, we took a look at Cats in Ancient Greece. They borrowed Egypt’s famed cat goddess, Bastet, for their own pantheon and called her Ailuros. The Greeks felt that she was another version of their goddess of the hunt, Artemis. Even with the addition of a cat goddess to their mythology  they did not hold the same love for cats that Egypt did. It is through Greek mythology that the idea that cats would be witches’ companions began to come about. In the story of Heracles (Hercules is the Roman spelling), a friend of Heracles’ mother is changed into a cat and sent to live in the underworld with the goddess of witchcraft for tricking the goddess of childbirth. As it escalated in the Middle Ages, this view of cats would have a devastating effect on cats. Not all ancient Greeks disliked cats though, the famed playwright, Aristophanes used cats several times in his plays.

Want to compete?

I got a score of 21,488 on this word search. Can you get a higher one? The faster you find all of the words, the higher your score will be.

Instructions for the Interactive Word Search

  1. Words from the word list on the right are hidden within the puzzle. The words may be spelled forward, backward, or on a diagonal.
  2. Click on the first letter of the word, drag the cursor across the word, and click on the last letter of the word.
  3. The puzzle is finished once you have found all of the words.
  4. The faster you complete the word search, the higher your score will be.

Just for fun: If you wrote a play about your cat, what would the title be?