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illustration  of Argus jumping on Odysseus
figure 1  


Argos or Argus. Odysseus' dog. In the Western literary tradition, this is probably the earliest and perhaps the most faithful of faithful dogs. The dog, along with our hero's wife, waited for the return of his master for over 20 years (approximately 140 or more human-equivalent years). Odysseus returned home in disguise, but of course Argus quickly penetrated it and was the first to recognize his master. Odysseus recognizes the dog and then old Argos dies.reference 1Brewer's says specifically that he, “died of joy,”reference 2 however the text in Bullfinch itself is less specific:

... Then his destiny released
Old Argus, soon as he had lived to see
Ulysses in the twentieth year restored.reference 3



1. Bulfinch, Thomas. 1993. Bulfinch's Mythology. Modern Library ed. New York: Modern Library. 205.

2. Brewer, E, Cobham, and Ivor H. Evans. 1970. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Centenary ed. New York: Harper & Row. 332.

3. Bullfinch.

About the illustration: Taken from Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Sciencereference 4 available freely through Project Gutenberg.

4.Dore, Gustave. 1875. Argus and Ulysses. Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Jan, 30.

see also: man's best friend Last updated: May 26, 2008