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 ...
(Pindar, Olympian Odes 2.68-76) In Pindar's Odes we now have a more detailed
picture of the Isles of the Blessed, the lifestyle lived there and of the sort of people
who may be able to reach them. For Pindar it is not only great heroes of the ...
Just like Caesar's Germans, the details of their lifestyle seem to have been lifted
from Lucretius' account of prehistory or a similar hard-primitivist or anti-prim- itivist
source. They have no clothes except skins, no weapons, no horses, ...
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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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