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.
Results 1-3 of 7
For more detailed discussions of the Cyclopes see Dougherty , 2001 , 122 - 42 ;
Hartog , 2001 , 24 - 36 . 38 . See below pp . 105 - 11 , and especially pp . 109 -
11 and Tacitus ' description of the Fenni ( Germania 46 ) which is a classic in this
As Hartog says , a threat of a punitive regression into primordial barbarity and
cannibalism is made explicitly against the Arcadians by the Delphic oracle unless
they resume their proper religious observation of Demeter ( Hartog , 2001 , 138 -
Hartog , 1988 , 35 - 40 : The Scythians threaten to treat with Darius and even
abandon Scythia should the negotiations break down just as the Athenians
threaten to come to terms with Xerxes or abandon Greece and move to Italy ( 7 .
139 ) ...
What people are saying - Write a review
The Origin of Life and the Origin of Species
Ancient Theories of Prehistory and the Evolution of Society
Blessed Islands and Blessed Lands
5 other sections not shown