Strange Creatures: Anthropology in Antiquity
Bloomsbury Academic, 2006 M06 8 - 185 pages
Traces the anthropological and ethnological theories of the ancient Greeks and Romans from the creation of the world to the invention of the Americas. In ancient Greek and Roman thinking, whether the world is flat or spherical it will have imaginary boundaries and liminal areas where the norms of nature and culture are thought to break down. Analogies are constantly drawn between 'primitive' peoples at the 'edges of the world' and 'primitive' people in prehistory. Distance, both in time and space, leads to difference, and the idea that strange things happen out there or happened back then dominates Greek and Roman thinking on other cultures. This book examines ancient ideas of the creation of the world, the beginnings of life and origin of species, humans and animals, utopias and blessed islands, and 'barbarian' cultures beyond the Mediterranean world, before going on to trace the influence of ancient anthropological and ethnological thought on the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.We begin with primordial chaos and end with the invention of the Americas, taking in on the way many strange creatures, among them the noble or ignoble savages of Britain, Gaul and Ireland, the Man-faced Ox-creatures of Empedocles, the Dog-heads of India, the Amazons, Centaurs, Columbus, and the Tupinamba of Brazil.
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The conclusion to be drawn from this is that , for Lucretius , cities and civilisation
are a mistake and have been caused by a basic ... For Lucretius , who
disparages much of the civilised life , civilisation is not the pinnacle of human
Anthropology in Antiquity Gordon Lindsay Campbell, Lecturer in Ancient Classics
Gordon Lindsay Campbell. sharp contrast to the civilised Greek and Roman
world , but also to other civilisations such as the Egyptians and Persians .
They are characterised by what they lack in contrast to civilised culture , and they
come very close to the Cynics in the ... function is to comment critically upon the
shortcomings of Greek and Roman civilisation , its corruption and discontents .
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The Origin of Life and the Origin of Species
Ancient Theories of Prehistory and the Evolution of Society
Blessed Islands and Blessed Lands
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