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MCotD: Satyr/Faun

Half Human Hybrid week continues!

I waffled on whether or not to make a distinction between these, but given the abundant crossover between Greek and Roman mythology, and that we really don't need two posts on goat men, i've combined them into one entry. The only distinction between the two seems to be that originally Satyrs were considered to have human feet and a longer horse-like tail. Over time though, they took on far more goat like aspects as they became conflated with the Roman Fauns.


In Greek mythology, satyrs were woodland creatures depicted as having the pointed ears, legs, and short horns of a goat and a fondness for unrestrained revelry. They are often associated with sex drive and vase-painters often portrayed them with uncontrollable erections.(!) Mature satyrs are often depicted with goat's horns, while juveniles are often shown with bony nubs on their foreheads. Painted vases depict satyrs as being strongly built with flat noses, large pointed ears, long curly hair, and full beards, with wreaths of vine or ivy circling their heads. Satyrs often carry the thyrsus: the rod of Dionysus tipped with a pine cone. It was said they roamed the woods and mountains, and were the companions of Pan and Dionysus.

They are described as roguish but faint-hearted folk; subversive and dangerous, yet shy and cowardly. Satyrs are not immortal, and they age. As Dionysiac creatures they are lovers of wine, women and boys, and are ready for every physical pleasure. They roam to the music of pipes, cymbals, castanets, and bagpipes, and love to dance with the nymphs (with whom they are obsessed, and whom they often pursue), and dance to the rhythm of sikinnis. Because of their fondness of wine, they are often represented holding winecups, and appear often in the decorations on winecups.


In Roman mythology, fauns are place-spirits (genii) of untamed woodland, and are said to be the guardians of the woods and fields. This combined with their similar temperament caused them to be associated with the Greek satyr. They take their name from god named Faunus and a goddess Bona Dee or Fauna, who were their creators.

Christian mythology demonised all pagan nature spirits such as satyrs & fauns by associating them with demons and devils, and their resemblance to the Jewish goat-man demon Azazel caused them to be the template for popular depictions of Satan.

Depictions of fauns and satrys can be readily found in classical texts on up through modern films and literature. They are also prevalent symbols and personas throughout various internet subcultures.