Shepherd
Overview
 
A shepherd is a person who tends, feeds or guards flocks of sheep.

Shepherding is one of the oldest occupations, beginning some 6,000 years ago in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

. Sheep were kept for their milk
Milk
Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food. Early-lactation milk contains colostrum, which carries the mother's antibodies to the baby and can reduce the risk of many...

, meat
Meat
Meat is animal flesh that is used as food. Most often, this means the skeletal muscle and associated fat and other tissues, but it may also describe other edible tissues such as organs and offal...

 and especially their wool
Wool
Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and certain other animals, including cashmere from goats, mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, vicuña, alpaca, camel from animals in the camel family, and angora from rabbits....

. Over the next millennia, sheep and shepherding spread throughout Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

.

Some sheep were integrated in the family farm along with other animals such as chicken
Chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

s and pig
Pig
A pig is any of the animals in the genus Sus, within the Suidae family of even-toed ungulates. Pigs include the domestic pig, its ancestor the wild boar, and several other wild relatives...

s.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
A shepherd is a person who tends, feeds or guards flocks of sheep.

Origins

Shepherding is one of the oldest occupations, beginning some 6,000 years ago in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

. Sheep were kept for their milk
Milk
Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food. Early-lactation milk contains colostrum, which carries the mother's antibodies to the baby and can reduce the risk of many...

, meat
Meat
Meat is animal flesh that is used as food. Most often, this means the skeletal muscle and associated fat and other tissues, but it may also describe other edible tissues such as organs and offal...

 and especially their wool
Wool
Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and certain other animals, including cashmere from goats, mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, vicuña, alpaca, camel from animals in the camel family, and angora from rabbits....

. Over the next millennia, sheep and shepherding spread throughout Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

.

Some sheep were integrated in the family farm along with other animals such as chicken
Chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

s and pig
Pig
A pig is any of the animals in the genus Sus, within the Suidae family of even-toed ungulates. Pigs include the domestic pig, its ancestor the wild boar, and several other wild relatives...

s. To maintain a large flock, however, the sheep must be able to move from pasture to pasture; this required the development of an occupation separate from that of the farmer. The duty of shepherds was to keep their flock intact and protect it from wolves and other predators. The shepherd was also to supervise the migration of the flock and ensured they made it to market areas in time for shearing
Sheep shearing
Sheep shearing, shearing or clipping is the process by which the woollen fleece of a sheep is cut off. The person who removes the sheep's wool is called a shearer. Typically each adult sheep is shorn once each year...

. In ancient times shepherds also commonly milked their sheep, and made cheese
Cheese
Cheese is a generic term for a diverse group of milk-based food products. Cheese is produced throughout the world in wide-ranging flavors, textures, and forms....

 from this milk; only some shepherds still do this today.

In many societies shepherds were an important part of the economy
Economy
An economy consists of the economic system of a country or other area; the labor, capital and land resources; and the manufacturing, trade, distribution, and consumption of goods and services of that area...

. Unlike farmers, shepherds were often wage earners, being paid to watch the sheep of others. Shepherds also lived apart from society, being largely nomadic. It was mainly a job of solitary males without children, and new shepherds thus needed to be recruited externally. Shepherds were most often the younger sons of farming peasants who did not inherit any land. Still in other societies, each family would have a family member to shepherd its flock, often a child
Child
Biologically, a child is generally a human between the stages of birth and puberty. Some vernacular definitions of a child include the fetus, as being an unborn child. The legal definition of "child" generally refers to a minor, otherwise known as a person younger than the age of majority...

, youth
Youth
Youth is the time of life between childhood and adulthood . Definitions of the specific age range that constitutes youth vary. An individual's actual maturity may not correspond to their chronological age, as immature individuals could exist at all ages.-Usage:Around the world, the terms "youth",...

 or an elder who couldn't help much with harder work; these shepherds were fully integrated in society.

Shepherds would normally work in groups either looking after one large flock, or each bringing their own and merging their responsibilities. They would live in small cabins, often shared with their sheep and would buy food from local communities. Less often shepherds lived in covered wagons that traveled with their flocks.

Shepherding developed only in certain areas. In the lowlands and river valleys, it was far more efficient to grow grain and cereals than to allow sheep to graze, thus the raising of sheep was confined to rugged and mountainous areas. In pre-modern times shepherding was thus centered on regions such as the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

, the Carpathian Mountains
Carpathian Mountains
The Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians are a range of mountains forming an arc roughly long across Central and Eastern Europe, making them the second-longest mountain range in Europe...

, and Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

.

Modern Times

In modern times shepherding has changed dramatically. The abolition of common land
Common land
Common land is land owned collectively or by one person, but over which other people have certain traditional rights, such as to allow their livestock to graze upon it, to collect firewood, or to cut turf for fuel...

s in Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth century moved shepherding from independent nomads to employees of massive estates. Some families in Africa and Asia have their wealth in sheep, so a young son is sent out to guard them while the rest of the family tend to other chores. In the USA, many sheep herds are flocked over public BLM
Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior which administers America's public lands, totaling approximately , or one-eighth of the landmass of the country. The BLM also manages of subsurface mineral estate underlying federal, state and private...

 lands.

Wages are higher than was the case in the past. Keeping a shepherd in constant attendance can be costly. Also, the eradication of sheep predators in parts of the world have lessened the need for shepherds. In places like Britain, hardy breeds of sheep are frequently left alone without a shepherd for long periods of time. More productive breeds of sheep can be left in fields and moved periodically to fresh pasture when necessary. Hardier breeds of sheep can be left on hillsides. The sheep farmer will attend to the sheep when necessary at times like lambing or shearing.

Australia and New Zealand

European exploration lead to the spread of sheep around the world, and shepherding became especially important in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 where there was great pastoral expansion. In Australia squatters
Squatting (pastoral)
In Australian history, a squatter was one who occupied a large tract of Crown land in order to graze livestock.  Initially often having no legal rights to the land, they gained its usage by being the first Europeans in the area....

 spread beyond the Nineteen Counties
Nineteen Counties
The Nineteen Counties were the limits of location in the colony of New South Wales defined by the Governor of New South Wales Sir Ralph Darling in 1826 in accordance with a government order from Lord Bathurst, the secretary of State. Counties had been used since the first year of settlement, with...

 of New South Wales to elsewhere, taking over vast holdings called properties and now stations
Station (Australian agriculture)
Station is the term for a large Australian landholding used for livestock production. It corresponds to the North American term ranch or South American estancia...

.

Once driven overland to these properties, sheep were pastured in large unfenced runs. There, they required constant supervision. Shepherds were employed to keep the sheep from straying too far, to keep the mobs as healthy as possible and to prevent attacks from dingo
Dingo
The Australian Dingo or Warrigal is a free-roaming wild dog unique to the continent of Australia, mainly found in the outback. Its original ancestors are thought to have arrived with humans from southeast Asia thousands of years ago, when dogs were still relatively undomesticated and closer to...

es and wedge-tailed eagle
Wedge-tailed Eagle
The Wedge-tailed Eagle , sometimes known as the Eaglehawk in its native range, is the largest bird of prey in Australia, but it is also found in southern New Guinea. It has long, fairly broad wings, fully feathered legs, and an unmistakable wedge-shaped tail...

s. Lambing time further increased the shepherd’s responsibilities.

Shepherding was an isolated, lonely job that was firstly given to assigned
Convict assignment
Convict assignment was the practice used in many penal colonies of assigning convicts to work for private individuals. Contemporary abolitionists characterised the practice as virtual slavery, and some, but by no means all, latter-day historians have agreed with this assessment.In Australia, every...

 convict
Convicts in Australia
During the late 18th and 19th centuries, large numbers of convicts were transported to the various Australian penal colonies by the British government. One of the primary reasons for the British settlement of Australia was the establishment of a penal colony to alleviate pressure on their...

 servants. The accommodation was usually poor and the food was lacking in nutrition leading to dysentery
Dysentery
Dysentery is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the faeces with fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal.There are differences between dysentery and normal bloody diarrhoea...

 and scurvy
Scurvy
Scurvy is a disease resulting from a deficiency of vitamin C, which is required for the synthesis of collagen in humans. The chemical name for vitamin C, ascorbic acid, is derived from the Latin name of scurvy, scorbutus, which also provides the adjective scorbutic...

. When free labour was more readily available others took up this occupation. Some shepherds were additionally brought to Australia on the ships that carried sheep and were contracted to caring for them on their arrival in the colony. Sheep owners complained about the inefficiency of shepherds and the shepherds’ fears of getting lost in the bush
The Bush
"The bush" is a term used for rural, undeveloped land or country areas in certain countries.-Australia:The term is iconic in Australia. In reference to the landscape, "bush" describes a wooded area, intermediate between a shrubland and a forest, generally of dry and nitrogen-poor soil, mostly...

.

Typically sheep were watched by shepherds during the day, and by a hut-keeper during the night. Shepherds took the sheep out to graze before sunrise and returned them to brush-timber yards at sunset. The hut-keeper usually slept in a movable shepherd’s watch box placed near the yard in order to deter attacks on the sheep. Dogs were also often chained close by to warn of any impending danger to the sheep or shepherd by dingoes or natives.

In 1839 the usual wage for a shepherd was about AU₤50 per year, plus weekly rations of 12 pounds (5.4 kg)} meat, 10 pounds (4.5 kg) flour, 2 pound (0.90718474 kg) sugar and 4 ounces (113.4 g) tea. The wage during the depression of the 1840s dropped to ₤20 a year.

During the 1850s many shepherds left to try their luck on the goldfields causing acute labour shortages in the pastoral industry. This labour shortage leads to the widespread practice of fencing properties, which in turn reduced the demand for shepherds. Over 95% of New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

 sheep were grazing in paddocks by the mid 1880s. An 1890s census of fencing in New South Wales recorded that 2.6 million kilometres of fencing had been erected there with a contemporary cost of $AU3 billion. Boundary rider
Boundary rider
A boundary rider is a term used in the Australian Football League as well as other field sports to denote a commentator who works from the sidelines of the field or 'boundary'...

s and stockmen replaced shepherds working on foot, who have not been employed in Australia and New Zealand since the start of the 20th century.

Religion

Metaphorically, the term "shepherd" is used for God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

, especially in the Judeo-Christian
Judeo-Christian
Judeo-Christian is a term used in the United States since the 1940s to refer to standards of ethics said to be held in common by Judaism and Christianity, for example the Ten Commandments...

 tradition (e.g. Psalm 23
Psalm 23
In the 23rd Psalm in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, the writer describes God as his Shepherd. The text, beloved by Jews and Christians alike, is often alluded to in popular media and has been set to music....

), and in Christianity especially for Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, who called himself The Good Shepherd. The Ancient Israelites were a pastoral
Herder
A herder is a worker who lives a possibly semi-nomadic life, caring for various domestic animals, in places where these animals wander pasture lands....

 people and there were many shepherds among them. It may also be worth noting that many Biblical heroes were shepherds, among them the patriarchs Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 and Jacob
Jacob
Jacob "heel" or "leg-puller"), also later known as Israel , as described in the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, the New Testament and the Qur'an was the third patriarch of the Hebrew people with whom God made a covenant, and ancestor of the tribes of Israel, which were named after his descendants.In the...

, the twelve tribes, the prophet Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

, and King David; and the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

 Amos
Amos (prophet)
Amos is a minor prophet in the Old Testament, and the author of the Book of Amos. Before becoming a prophet, Amos was a sheep herder and a sycamore fig farmer. Amos' prior professions and his claim "I am not a prophet nor a son of a prophet" indicate that Amos was not from the school of prophets,...

, who was a shepherd in the rugged area around Tekoa. In the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

, angels announced the birth of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 to shepherds.

The same metaphor is also applied to priest
Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

s, with Roman Catholic, Church of Sweden, and Anglican bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

s having the shepherd's crook
Crosier
A crosier is the stylized staff of office carried by high-ranking Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and some Lutheran and Pentecostal prelates...

 among their insignia (see also Lycidas
Lycidas
"Lycidas" is a poem by John Milton, written in 1637 as a pastoral elegy. It first appeared in a 1638 collection of elegies, entitled Justa Edouardo King Naufrago, dedicated to the memory of Edward King, a collegemate of Milton's at Cambridge who drowned when his ship sank in the Irish Sea off the...

). In both cases, the implication is that the faithful are the "flock" who have to be tended. This is in part inspired by Jesus's injunctions to Peter, "Feed my sheep", which is the source of the pastoral image in Lycidas. The term "Pastor
Pastor
The word pastor usually refers to an ordained leader of a Christian congregation. When used as an ecclesiastical styling or title, this role may be abbreviated to "Pr." or often "Ps"....

", originally the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 word for "shepherd", is now used solely to denote the clergy of most Christian denominations.
is one of the thrusts of Biblical scripture. This illustration encompasses many ideas, including God's care for his people and his discipline to correct the wandering sheep. The tendency of humans to put themselves into danger's way and their inability to guide and take care of themselves apart from the direct power and leading of God is also reinforced with the metaphor of sheep in need of a shepherd.

Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

, the Prophet of Islam, prided himself in being part of a rich tradition of prophets who found their means of livelihood as shepherds.

Sikhism
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

 also has many mentions of shepherd tales. There are many relevant quotations, such as "We are the cattle, God almighty is our shepherd."

This concept has also been used frequently by critics of organized religion to present an unflattering portrayal.

See also Pashupati
Pashupati
Pashupati , "Lord of cattle", is an epithet of the Hindu god Shiva. In Vedic times it was used as an epithet of Rudra. The Rigveda has the related pashupa "protector of cattle" as a name of Pushan. The Pashupatinath Temple is the most important Hindu shrine for all Hindus in Nepal and also for many...

, Dhangar
Dhangar
The Dhangar caste is primarily located in the Indian state of Maharashtra...

, Kuruba
Kuruba
Kuruba / Kuruba Gowda or Kuruma is a caste of Hindus who mainly were shepherds in the past. The community is present in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. They are known as Dhangars in Maharashtra, Kurumba / Kurumans / Kurumbar in Tamil Nadu, Kuruba Gowda or Halumatha Gowda in...

.

In popular culture

The shepherd, with other such figures as the goatherd
Goatherd
A goatherd or goatherder is a person who herds goats as a vocational activity. Similar to a fisherman who catches fish for a living, the drover here herds goats. Goatherds are popular in countries where goat populations are significant; for instance, in Africa and South Asia...

, is the inhabitant of idealized Arcadia
Arcadia (utopia)
Arcadia refers to a vision of pastoralism and harmony with nature. The term is derived from the Greek province of the same name which dates to antiquity; the province's mountainous topography and sparse population of pastoralists later caused the word Arcadia to develop into a poetic byword for an...

, which is an idyllic and natural countryside. These works are, indeed, called pastoral
Pastoral
The adjective pastoral refers to the lifestyle of pastoralists, such as shepherds herding livestock around open areas of land according to seasons and the changing availability of water and pasturage. It also refers to a genre in literature, art or music that depicts such shepherd life in an...

, after the term for herding. The first surviving instances are the Idylls of Theocritus
Theocritus
Theocritus , the creator of ancient Greek bucolic poetry, flourished in the 3rd century BC.-Life:Little is known of Theocritus beyond what can be inferred from his writings. We must, however, handle these with some caution, since some of the poems commonly attributed to him have little claim to...

, and the Eclogues of Virgil
Virgil
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

, both of which inspired many imitators such as Edmund Spenser
Edmund Spenser
Edmund Spenser was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. He is recognised as one of the premier craftsmen of Modern English verse in its infancy, and one of the greatest poets in the English...

's The Shepheardes Calender
The Shepheardes Calender
The Shepheardes Calender was Edmund Spenser's first major poetic work, published in 1579. In emulation of Virgil's first work, the Eclogues, Spenser wrote this series of pastorals to begin his career. However, Spenser's models were rather the Renaissance eclogues of Mantuanus. M. Y. Hughes. Virgil...

. The shepherds of the pastoral are often heavily conventional and bear little relation to the actual work of shepherds.
Shepherds and shepherdesses have been frequently immortalized in art and sculpture. Among the best known is the neoclassical
Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome...

 Danish
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 sculptor
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

 Bertel Thorvaldsen
Bertel Thorvaldsen
Bertel Thorvaldsen was a Danish-Icelandic sculptor of international fame, who spent most of his life in Italy . Thorvaldsen was born in Copenhagen into a Danish/Icelandic family of humble means, and was accepted to the Royal Academy of Arts when he was eleven years old...

's Shepherd Boy with Dog.

In the Latin American literary classic "Empire of Dreams" (Yale, 1994) by Giannina Braschi, shepherds invade the city of New York in a pastoral revolution.

The shepherd, in such works, appears as a virtuous soul because of his living close to nature, uncorrupted by the temptations of the city. So Edmund Spenser
Edmund Spenser
Edmund Spenser was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. He is recognised as one of the premier craftsmen of Modern English verse in its infancy, and one of the greatest poets in the English...

 writes in his Colin Clouts Come home again of a shepherd who went to the city, saw its wickedness, and returned home wiser, and in The Faerie Queen makes the shepherds the only people to whom the Blatant Beast is unknown.

Many tales involving foundlings portray them being rescued by shepherds: Oedipus
Oedipus
Oedipus was a mythical Greek king of Thebes. He fulfilled a prophecy that said he would kill his father and marry his mother, and thus brought disaster on his city and family...

, Romulus and Remus
Romulus and Remus
Romulus and Remus are Rome's twin founders in its traditional foundation myth, although the former is sometimes said to be the sole founder...

, the title characters of Longus
Longus
Longus, sometimes Longos , was the author of an ancient Greek novel or romance, Daphnis and Chloe. Very little is known of his life, and it is assumed that he lived on the isle of Lesbos during the 2nd century AD...

's Daphnis and Chloe, and The Winter's Tale
The Winter's Tale
The Winter's Tale is a play by William Shakespeare, originally published in the First Folio of 1623. Although it was grouped among the comedies, some modern editors have relabelled the play as one of Shakespeare's late romances. Some critics, among them W. W...

by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

. These characters are often of much higher social status than the characters who save and raise them, the shepherds themselves being secondary characters. Similarly, the heroes and heroines of fairy tale
Fairy tale
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features such folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies...

s written by the précieuses
Précieuses
The French literary style called préciosité arose in the 17th century from the lively conversations and playful word games of les précieuses , the witty and educated intellectual ladies who frequented the salon of Catherine de Vivonne, marquise de Rambouillet; her Chambre bleue offered a...

 often appeared as shepherds and shepherdesses in pastoral settings, but these figures were royal or noble, and their simple setting does not cloud their innate nobility. In Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author, fairy tale writer, and poet noted for his children's stories. These include "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," "The Snow Queen," "The Little Mermaid," "Thumbelina," "The Little Match Girl," and "The Ugly Duckling."...

's "The Shepherdess and the Sweep" (1845), the porcelain shepherdess carries a gilt crook and wears shoes of gilt as well. Her lover is a porcelain chimney sweep with a princely face "as fair and rosy as a girl's", completely unsmudged with soot.

The Shepherd by Frederick Forsyth
Frederick Forsyth
Frederick Forsyth, CBE is an English author and occasional political commentator. He is best known for thrillers such as The Day of the Jackal, The Odessa File, The Fourth Protocol, The Dogs of War, The Devil's Alternative, The Fist of God, Icon, The Veteran, Avenger, The Afghan and The Cobra.-...

 is the story of a flight from Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 to England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 undertaken by a young Vampire
De Havilland Vampire
The de Havilland DH.100 Vampire was a British jet-engine fighter commissioned by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Following the Gloster Meteor, it was the second jet fighter to enter service with the RAF. Although it arrived too late to see combat during the war, the Vampire served...

 pilot one Christmas Eve.

Biographies of David Ben Gurion published in the early years of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 emphasized his having been a shepherd immediately after his arrival in the country in the 1900's. Later, however, historians concluded that he had been involved only very briefly in this profession and was not good at it.

See also

  • Animal husbandry
    Animal husbandry
    Animal husbandry is the agricultural practice of breeding and raising livestock.- History :Animal husbandry has been practiced for thousands of years, since the first domestication of animals....

  • Camel
    Camel
    A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as humps on its back. There are two species of camels: the dromedary or Arabian camel has a single hump, and the bactrian has two humps. Dromedaries are native to the dry desert areas of West Asia,...

     herding
  • Dhangar
    Dhangar
    The Dhangar caste is primarily located in the Indian state of Maharashtra...

     community
  • Goatherd
    Goatherd
    A goatherd or goatherder is a person who herds goats as a vocational activity. Similar to a fisherman who catches fish for a living, the drover here herds goats. Goatherds are popular in countries where goat populations are significant; for instance, in Africa and South Asia...

  • Herding dog
    Herding dog
    A herding dog, also known as a stock dog or working dog, is a type of pastoral dog that either has been trained in herding or belongs to breeds developed for herding...

  • Llama
    Llama
    The llama is a South American camelid, widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures since pre-Hispanic times....

     herding
  • Kuruba
    Kuruba
    Kuruba / Kuruba Gowda or Kuruma is a caste of Hindus who mainly were shepherds in the past. The community is present in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. They are known as Dhangars in Maharashtra, Kurumba / Kurumans / Kurumbar in Tamil Nadu, Kuruba Gowda or Halumatha Gowda in...

     Hindu community
  • Reindeer herding
  • Robene and Makyne
    Robene and Makyne
    "Robene and Makyne" is a short poem by the 15th-century Scottish makar Robert Henryson. It is an early example of Scottish pastourelle written in a form of ballad stanza and is almost unique of its kind. Very simple in structure and plot, yet highly compressed, multi-layered and open in possible...

     pastourelle
  • Sheepskin
    Sheepskin
    Sheepskin is the hide of a sheep, sometimes also called lambskin or lambswool.Sheepskin may also refer to:* Parchment, a thin material made from calfskin, sheepskin or goatskin** Diploma, originally made of sheepskin...

  • Swineherd
    Swineherd
    A swineherd is a person who looks after pigs. The term has fallen out of popular use in favour of pig farmer.-Swineherds in literature:* Hans Christian Andersen wrote a Fairy tale called, "The Swineherd"....

  • Trailing of the Sheep
    Trailing of the Sheep
    Trailing of the Sheep is an annual October festival and parade in Sun Valley, Ketchum and Hailey, Idaho. It is held each fall to move the flocks off the mountain to their winter grazing homes. It is similar to the Almabtrieb in Austria, and is intended as a celebration of the history and tradition...

  • Transhumance
    Transhumance
    Transhumance is the seasonal movement of people with their livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures. In montane regions it implies movement between higher pastures in summer and to lower valleys in winter. Herders have a permanent home, typically in valleys. Only the herds travel, with...

  • Yak herding
  • The Shepherdess (1889)
    The Shepherdess (1889)
    The Shepherdess is a painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau completed in 1889. It depicts an idyllic, pastoral scene of a lone young woman in peasant attire posed for the artist, her arms balancing a stick across her shoulders, standing barefooted in the foreground...

     - famous painting
  • "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
    The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
    "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" is a poem written by the English poet Christopher Marlowe and published in 1599 . In addition to being one of the most well-known love poems in the English language, it is considered one of the earliest examples of the pastoral style of British poetry in the...

    " by Christopher Marlowe
    Christopher Marlowe
    Christopher Marlowe was an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. As the foremost Elizabethan tragedian, next to William Shakespeare, he is known for his blank verse, his overreaching protagonists, and his mysterious death.A warrant was issued for Marlowe's arrest on 18 May...

  • "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd
    The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd
    "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd" was written by Sir Walter Raleigh in response to Christopher Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love"...

    " by Sir Walter Raleigh (written in response to the above)

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