The Hunters are descendants of Arcas.
Scott: Who are they?
Derek: Hunters. Their kind have been hunting us for centuries.
Ever since 1×01 ‘Wolf Moon’ when Stiles did research into werewolves and the Myth of Lycaon popped up I had been waiting for it to be mentioned again. And, yes, it was completely relevant we just had to wait 3 seasons!
This is what was on the website that Stiles read in the Pilot:
Lycaon was the cruel king of Arcadia who offered Zeus a meal containing meat from a roasted human being. Because of this, Zeus transformed Lycaon and his sons into wolves and also he sent a thunderbolt which struck Lycaon’s house.
People believed that a person who became a wolf could again be changed into a man if he did not eat any human meat during ten years, otherwise he had to stay in the shape of a wolf for the rest of his life.
So in 3×08 ‘Visionary’ the Myth of Lycaon is finally mentioned again with Gerard Argent adding a few more details that the general populace are not aware of.
“Do you know the Myth of Lycaon? According to myths some Greek citizens believed they’d owed their lives more to Prometheus than to the Gods of Olympus. Some followers even took names to honour the Titans instead of the Gods. Lycaon didn’t just refuse to honour the Gods he challenged them. He invited Zeus to a banquet and then tried to serve him the flesh of a human being. Angered Zeus blew the place a part with lighting bolts and then punished Lycaon and his sons by turning them into wolves. The part that’s lesser known is how Lycaon then sort out the Druids to turn him back to human. The belief was that the ancient Druids knew how to shape-shift. They couldn’t turn Lycaon and his sons human again but they did teach them how to shift back and forth.”
So the Druids connection to the werewolves have been established although it’s not been made very clear why the Druids would help them.
What hasn’t however been explained at all is how the Argent’s got into the werewolf fighting business (they’ve been at it for a long time as a family it’s their legacy) or where Hunters of the supernatural in general came from.
In 3×08 ‘Visionary’ Talia also commented that werewolves weren’t the only ones really old traditions.
Talia: We’re not the only people to adhere to rituals thousands of years old.
The important thing here is that it was implied that the Hunters have been around as long as the werewolves.
We know that the Argents are connected to The Beast of Gévaudan in France and although I am not particularly knowledgable on this subject from talking with other people I have learnt that the Celts once inhabited the area that we would now call Southern France. Not that this is necessarily important but I am mentioning it just in case.
Allison who was researching her family history quoted from a book to Lydia in 1×06 ‘Heart Monitor’ :
“The Beast of Gévaudan… A quadruped, wolf-life monster prowling the Auvergne in South Dordogne areas of France during the years 1764 to 1767. La Bête killed over a 100 people, becoming so infamous that the King Louis XV sent one of his best hunters to try and kill it. Even the church eventually declared the monster a messenger of Satan. Cryptologists believe it may have been a subspecies of hoofed predator, possibly mesonychid whilst others believe it was a powerful sorcerer who could shapeshift into a man-eating monster. It is believed that La Bête was finally trapped and killed by a renowned hunter who claimed his wife and four children were the first to fall prey to the creature. His name was Argent.”
This Argent was already a renowned hunter before he killed The Beast (which was probably an Alpha if the picture in Allison’s book is anything to go by). So how did the Argent’s get involved in the werewolf killing business in the first place?
Well if we return to the Myth of Lycaon. Depending on the version you read this does vary but in some accounts the human that was fed to Zeus was in fact Arcas.
Arcas was the son of Zeus and Callisto so not entirely human after all. Callisto was a nymph in the retinue of Artemis (goddess of the hunt). And basically to avoid the wrath of his wife Zeus hid his son in an area of Greece that would come to be known as Arcadia. There Arcas safely lived until one day, during one of the court feasts held by king Lycaon (Arcas’ maternal grandfather) he was offered up as a sacrifice to the Gods. Lycaon then said to Zeus “If you think that you are so clever, make your son whole and un-harmed.” At this Zeus became enraged. He made Arcas whole and then directed his anger toward Lycaon, turning him into the first werewolf. After this occurrence, Arcas became the new king of Arcadia, and the country’s greatest hunter and his weapons were a bow and arrow!
It kind of makes sense doesn’t it? That the Hunters are descendent of the very one that King Lycoan was punished for killing. Of course he would be angry and want to hunt down the ‘werewolves’ they bloody well cut him up and tried to feed him to his father.
You’d be kind of pissed wouldn’t you?