Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 26th, 2007
Courtesy of The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies (CAIS)
Satyr? A man’s body, naturally mummified within an ancient salt mine, was found in a salt mine outside the Iranian city of Zanjan.
What’s going on here? This news out of Iran is now been linked to ancient tales of satyrs and salt.
Stanford University’s Adrienne Mayor, a folklorist and friend to Cryptomundo, has previously suggested that satyrs were fakes, as she notes in The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times.
Due to this specific find, Mayor may be changing her position:
Obviously, satyrs are mythic creatures [but the head of the man preserved in salt since about 540-300 B.C.] bears a striking resemblance to ancient Greek and Roman depictions of satyrs. I think it’s very likely that an ancient discovery of a similarly preserved ‘salt man’ in northwestern Iran is the basis for St. Jerome’s account of the ‘satyr’ preserved in salt and examined by the Emperor Constantine and numerous other curious visitors in Antioch….When I saw the picture of the salt man, I was just struck by how much like a satyr he looks. Satyr plays were very popular in antiquity, so everyone knew what satyrs looked like. There’s no reason to think people back then wouldn’t have made the same connection. Adrienne Mayor
Courtesy of University of Pennsylvania Museum, image # MS4861
The satyr (illustrated above) was a goat-man in Greek legend who danced and frolicked, for starters, playing pipes and chasing nymphs. Did satyrs take time out for licking a little salt too?