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Dog + Man: From The Odyssey to Beginners

Posted May 23, 2011 to photo album "Dog + Man: From The Odyssey to Beginners"

In Beginners, the dog Arthur and the human Oliver create an emotional bond that echoes back all the way to Homer.

Arthur + Oliver
Argos + Odysseus
Peritas + Alexander the Great
Gelert + Llywelyn
Guinefort + his Knight
Donnchadh + Robert the Bruce
Urian + Cardinal Wolsey
Pompey + William the Silent
Luath + Robert Burns
Boatswain + Lord Byron
Fortune + Josephine
Lauro + Napoleon
Seaman + Meriwether Lewis
Flush + Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Greyfriars Bobby + John Gray
Balto + Gunnar Kaasen
Hachiko + Hidesaburo Ueno
Donnchadh + Robert the Bruce

Donnchadh + Robert the Bruce

Robert the Bruce; Early drawing of a bloodhound –– “Thierbuch,” Conrad Gesner, 1563.

In 1306, Edward I of England was fighting Robert the Bruce for control of Scotland. To find the Scottish leader, Edward’s man let by John of Lorn attempted to use his own dog, a blood hound named Donnchadh, against him. They captured the pooch, and then let him lead them to Robert the Bruce. But rather that blindly hand his master over the English troops, Donnchadh supposedly turned on the English when it became apparent they meant his master harm. Because of Donnchadh’s fierce defense, Robert the Bruce would go on to become the King of Scotland.