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.
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These details are so common that some have been led to see them all coming from a single source , the fifth ... does in Hesiod and in Plato's Protagoras among other sources , or he can be viewed as a personification of human ingenuity .
From all his sources – however little he really knew of ancient writers – Columbus was right to consider that he was near Paradise , and , although he insisted to the end of his life that he had voyaged to the Indies ...
Translations of Presocratic sources are by KRS except when noted otherwise . Fragment numbers are those of DK . 12. Cf. fr . 22.1-3 : ' For all these sun and earth and sky and sea are one with the parts of themselves that have been ...
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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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