akakus mountains
Cave drawings in Libya’s Akakus mountains show dogs hunting antelopes some 12,000 years ago. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Speedy, Tiger or She-Wolf… what’s the best name for a dog?

Click start to play today’s Spell It, where you can make the word “canine”.

About 2,000 years ago, Roman writer Columella is known to have written down that Speedy, Tiger and She-Wolf were all great names for a dog. He stated that ideal dog names should neither be too short, nor too long, so that the dog may obey more quickly when called.

Whatever they were called, dogs have had a solid, close partnership with people around the world for centuries. About 12,000 years ago, images of dogs were depicted on stone columns, and the animals themselves were buried in the arms of humans. And even if the Romans had a few exacting ideas on how dogs should be named, they treated them with love, and incorporated them in their art and culture.

Here’s how dogs were featured in some ancient works of art:

1. Libyan cave drawings

A pack of swift dogs were depicted hunting an antelope, in rock art from Libya’s Akakus mountains. The artwork dates back around 12,000 years.

2. Howling dog statue

Crafted by the Colima of western Mexico some 2,000 years ago, the statue seems to depict a hairless breed of dog that the region was known for, in pre-Columbian times.

3. Pompeii mosaic

A 2,000 year old mosaic from Pompeii. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A famous mosaic at the entrace to a house in Pompeii, Italy, reads “Cave canem”, Latin for “Beware of dog”. The artwork was preserved by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

4. Neo-Assyrian relief

Seventh-century Neo-Assyrian relief depicting molossers. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Mastiff.org

Formidable dogs known as molossers, the ancestors of modern breeds such as mastiffs and St. Bernards, are shown hunting lions in this seventh-century Neo-Assyrian relief from the palace of Nineveh in modern-day Iraq.

5. Depictions of Anubis

The Egyptian jackal-dog deity Anubis. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Daderot

Anubis was a jackal-dog deity, who supposedly presided over the embalming process in ancient Egypt, and accompanied dead kings in the afterworld. The deity is depicted on 3,000-year old scenes from the Book of the Dead, an ancient funerary Egyptian text.

What do you think of these depictions of ancient dogs? Play today’s Spell It and tell us at games@gulfnews.com.