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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... according to behaviour or as a divine punishment . For Plato , everything in nature and in the world as a whole has its fixed place , purpose and function , all granted divinely , and so according to divine will . So despite the fact ...
... according to the nature of his wickedness , into some bestial form after the similitude of his own nature ; nor in his changings shall he cease from woes until he yields himself to the revolution of the Same and Similar that is within ...
... according to legend , were born from the hard stock of trees , when the earth in wonder felt the first footsteps of man . There were not yet ploughed fields , nor houses , nor cities nor regulated wedlock . The oak and the laurel bore ...
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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