Originally the word ois, from which the Latin ovis and the Italian ovino derive, was used to denote sheep.
In ancient Greek, the terms pòkos or pèkos were used for sheep and goats. In Latin they used pecus, meaning livestock, and later a more specific term: pecus ovillium, i.e. sheep. The economic significance of sheep in the ancient world gave rise to the word pecunia, meaning wealth.
After the climate began to warm up, Mesolithic humans abandoned primordial hunting methods and focused on hunting smaller animals such as cows, sheep, goats, pigs, birds and fish.
In the Neolithic age, prehistoric Sardinians focused on domesticating mouflon (Ovis musimon), an indigenous animal which lived in the mountains of the island, for its meat, pelt for making clothes, wool and milk. As part of their hunting practices, the people developed a religious respect for certain animals and it became forbidden to hunt mouflon. The mouflon were adored for their products and feared for their supernatural qualities including cunning, speed, caution and agility, which made hunting them difficult.