Throughout history, wild animals have played important roles in connecting natural animal behaviors with the diverse experiences and habits of human societies. Early societies were intertwined with nature out of spiritual necessity. Meaningful interpretations were needed to help make sense of human existence. Animals became the most practical means of symbolic expression, since they often mimicked characteristics of human nature. The wild boar, scientifically known as Sus scrofa, is one example of a culturally symbolic wild animal.
The wild boar is observed in a diverse array of cultures and societies who seemingly have little to nothing in common. This website supports the claim that the wild boar has cultural significance in advanced and tribal societies throughout history. The following stories and legends transcend the basic interpretations of the boar as a strong and warrior-spirited wild animal. Wild boars are observed within traditional mythological and non-fictitious tales of heroism, bravery, guidance, warfare, fertility, and wisdom.
The historical significance and social symbolism of the wild boar will be observed within Egyptian, Persian, Chinese, Japanese, Hindu, Native American, Christian, Celtic, Norse, Scottish, English, Norse, Belgian, Serbian, German, Swiss, Roman, and Greek culture.
Sus Scrofa Overview
Traditionally, the word "boar" is a reference to male swine and cavies. The wild boar is a species within the fauna family, suidae. The fauna family is comprised of 16 classifications of pigs and hogs 1. Of all the fauna family members, Sus scrofa occupies the largest land range. Historically, wild boars largely occupied territories in Europe, Asia, North Africa, Malay Archipelago, British Isles, Corsica, Sardinia, Japan, and smaller islands in the East Indies 2. In a recent study, the mitochondrial DNA of 686 wild and domesticated Sus scrofa specimens were observed. This study concludes that wild boars originated in Southeast Asia, and then dispersed throughout Eurasia 3.
European colonialism created the expansion of domesticated Sus scrofa, more commonly known as the domesticated pig, into the Western Hemisphere. Beyond dietary differences, current scientific studies are unable to clearly distinguish the domesticated pig from its Sus scrofa ancestors 4. The following research will reveal that wild boars possess "many animal virtues that are powerful and valuable and which any person would be wise to emulate or divine. One who has the power of the wild boar will see enhanced courage, fearlessness, and nobility; an increased ability to strategize and plan action aimed at obtaining success. Prosperity, re-birth and chivalry are also all part of this noble totem’s magic" 5.
- 1 - Stefko, Jill. "Wild Boar and Sow Symbolism: Symbolic of Courage, Leadership, Abundance, Nourishment." Suite 101, 27 Dec 2007. <link>
- 2 - Dewey, Tanya. "Sus Scrofa: Wild Boar." University of Michigan: Museum of Zoology, n.d. <link>
- 3 - Alabrella, Umberto, et al. "Worldwide Phylogeography of Wild Boar Reveals Multiple Centers of Pig Domestication." Science Magazine. 307.5715 (2005). <link>
- 4 - Hu, YaoWu, et al. "Preliminary attempt to distinguish the domesticated pigs from wild boars by the methods of carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis". Science in China Series D: Earth Sciences. 51.1 (2009). <link>
- 5 - Karbani, Zahir. "The Wild Boar Totem". Ancient Keris, 16 June 2006. <link>