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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... culture . Humans developed culture by trial and error over long time spurred on by necessity and by the application of human ingenuity . In the Moschion fragment Prometheus may be read either as a god who grants culture to humanity as a ...
... culture cuts through its pretence and fakery to expose the emptiness at its heart . The highest products of Persian culture are rejected and mocked in turn and in fact are the standard list of corrupt luxuries , symbols of deca- dence ...
... culture for civilised status . Whatever test of civilisation that may be applied to them - linguistic , historical , cultural , technological , moral , behavioural , or economic - the Scythians fail so impressively that it is tempting ...
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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