"That's where the dog is buried!" - so they say when they want to emphasize that the clue has finally been found, finally managed to get to the bottom of the true causes of some events. Where did this expression come from?
There is no consensus on the origin of this catch phrase. They talk about at least three "dogs", and only in two cases is it really about this animal.
Xanthippus the dog
One of the versions refers to the times of antiquity, more precisely - to the era of the Greco-Persian wars. In 480, the army of the Persian king Xerxes moved to Athens. The Greek fleet resisted, concentrating in a narrow strait separating the island of Salamis from the mainland. It was commanded by the Athenian Xanthippus, the son of Arifron. This man is also known for the fact that the famous Athenian commander and statesman Pericles was his son.
It was very dangerous to be in Athens, and it was decided to evacuate civilians to Salamis. Together with them, Xanthippus sent his beloved dog. But the devoted animal did not want to leave the owner. The dog threw himself off the ship into the sea and swam back to Xanthippus. Such a feat turned out to be beyond the strength of the dog, she immediately died of exhaustion.
Xanthippus, shocked by the devotion of his four-legged friend, erected a monument to the dog. There were many who wanted to look at it, and they exclaimed: "This is where the dog is buried!", Having reached the goal of their journey.
Sigismund Altensheig's dog
A similar story is told about the Austrian soldier Sigismund Altenscheig. This man also had a beloved dog that accompanied the owner on all military campaigns. Once the dog even saved Sigismund's life, but she herself died. It happened in Holland. The grateful owner solemnly buried his beloved dog and - just like Xantippus once - put a monument on his grave. But it was not easy to find him later, and when the next traveler still succeeded, he exclaimed enthusiastically: "So this is where the dog is buried!"
Was there a dog?
The hypotheses outlined above suggest that the origin of this phraseological unit is associated with some very real dogs. How historically accurate the stories associated with them are is another matter. But some researchers are convinced that the catch phrase is not really associated with any dog. It could have come from treasure hunter jargon.
The search for treasures has always been surrounded by a mysterious halo. It was believed that spells were imposed on the treasures, threatening the kidnapper with all sorts of troubles, that they were guarded by evil spirits. And then the ancient rule came into play: the less the spirits know about human affairs, the less likely they are to harm something. To deceive the evil spirits guarding the treasures, treasure hunters discussed their affairs allegorically, in particular, the treasure in their speech was called a "dog". Thus, "this is where the dog is buried" - it means "this is where the treasure is buried."