Humans historically have had a complex and varied viewpoint of wolves. In many parts of the world, wolves were respected and revered, while in others they were feared and held in distaste. The latter viewpoint was notably accentuated in European folklore beginning in the Christian era, though wolves did feature as heraldic animals on the arms and crests of numerous noble families. Many languages have given names (almost universally masculine) meaning "wolf", examples including the Scandinavian Ulf, German Wolf/Volf and Adolf ("noble wolf").
John Lindow of the University of California, Berkeley (Lindahl et al. 2002:433) notes that more recent scholarship "would argue a basis in an Indo-European warrior cult in which young warriors imbued with the life force fight with the characteristics of animals, especially, those of wolves, and are initiated into a warrior band [...]."