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 choice of arbute berries , and especially of acorns which are bitter for
humans to eat and so are usually animal fodder , underlines the bestiality of their
lifestyle . But despite this Lucretius paints their lives as an idyllic wandering
through a ...
De Léry ' s account of the ceremonies for killing and eating prisoners does
contain some moral condemnation of these practices – he expresses his horror ,
especially at the eating of human flesh , and his pity for the victims – but in the
main he ...
... and eating everyone alive - widows , orphans , and other poor people whose
throats it would be better to cut once and for all , than to make them linger in
misery - you will say that they are even more cruel than the savages I speak of .
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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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