By Ingvild Saelid Gilhus
Ingvild Saelid Gilhus explores the transition from conventional Greek and Roman faith to Christianity within the Roman Empire and the influence of this transformation at the inspiration of animals, illustrating the most components within the production of a Christian belief of animals. one of many underlying assumptions of the booklet is that alterations within the approach animal motifs are used and how human-animal relatives are conceptualized function symptoms of extra normal cultural shifts. Gilhus attests that during overdue antiquity, animals have been used as symbols in a normal redefinition of cultural values and assumptions.
A wide variety of key texts are consulted and diversity from philosophical treaties to novels and poems on metamorphoses; from biographies of holy individuals reminiscent of Apollonius of Tyana and Antony, the Christian barren region ascetic, to normal historical past; from the hot testomony through Gnostic texts to the church fathers; from pagan and Christian feedback of animal sacrifice to the acts of the martyrs. either the pagan and the Christian belief of animals remained wealthy and multilayered in the course of the centuries and this ebook offers the dominant subject matters and advancements within the notion of animals with no wasting that complexity.
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Additional info for Animals, Gods and Humans: Changing Attitudes to Animals in Greek, Roman and Early Christian Thought
These executions could also be set in a mythological frame, an invention that flourished especially in the first two centuries of the empire. M. Coleman has labelled these mythological enactments of executions “fatal charades” (Coleman 1990). Martial describes how a criminal disguised as Orpheus was killed at the dedication of the Flavian Amphitheatre in 80 CE: “Every kind of wild beast [genus omne ferarum] was there, mixed with the flock and above 33 A N I M A L S I N T H E RO M A N E M P I R E the minstrel hovered many birds, but the minstrel fell, torn apart by an ungrateful bear [ab urso ingrato]” (On the Spectacles, 21).
Roman wit labelled elephants “Lucanian oxen”, ostriches were “sea sparrows”, and leopards were “African mice” (Balsdon 1969: 303). Like racehorses, some of the animals that fought in the arena could be given their own personal names and thereby individual identities. Names of leopards and bears are recorded on mosaics. On a mosaic showing a venatio with leopards from Smirat in Tunisia, the four leopards are called Victor, Crispinus, Luxurius and Romanus (Potter and Mattingly 1999: 310). However, these beasts could never be controlled completely; sometimes they did not attack when they should, while at other times they maimed or killed the bestiarii or even some of the spectators.
Thus the agreement implied that animals should not be maltreated. Animals that were not useful to men were not covered by this agreement. Primitive man, who lived a life similar to the beasts, and those animals who were later domesticated had a mutual interest in making a pact with each other. The question about Lucretius and animal contract has recently been discussed by Jo-Ann Shelton, who argues convincingly that the contract formation between animals and humans indicated by Lucretius resembles on some points human–human contracts as described by Epicurus (Shelton 1996: 51–2).