Strange Creatures: Anthropology in Antiquity
Bloomsbury Academic, 2006 M06 8 - 256 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.
From inside the book
Results 1-3 of 53
To begin with myth : the origin of various Greek peoples and of individual founder heroes is frequently explained in ... The Athenians traced their origins back to a legendary founder Erechtheus ( or the seemingly originally identical ...
Anaximander's theory of the origin of the human race will be discussed in section three below , but for the present it suffices to say that he is reported to have argued that the first life arose from a heated mixture of water and earth ...
What could it mean for the navel of Greece and one of the fundamental planks of Greek identity to be not Greek at all in its origins ? But in another way Greece perhaps gains more than it loses from this handing over of Greek culture to ...
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