Sabine R. Huebner
This chapter focuses on the practice of adoption and fosterage in the Eastern Mediterranean, a family strategy that is, compared with its equivalent in the Roman West, understudied. She traces the source material for adoption from ancient Near Eastern through classical Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman times up to late antiquity comparing the respective legal backgrounds and analyzing recorded cases that reveal motives of the adopter and age and status of the adoptee. In general, children or young adults (males as well as females) were adopted or taken in in place of natural children for a number of reasons, among them to provide a childless man or couple with an heir or to provide a destitute or orphaned child with a home and family. Marriage between an adopted and a natural child was a desired outcome of adoption in societies all over the Eastern Mediterranean.
Jeremy B. Lefkowitz
This chapter examines the tensions between the symbolic valence of anthropomorphic animals and authentic concerns about real animals in fables of ancient times. It provides an overview of sources and scholarly approach in this study of the Graeco-Latin fable and explores the boundaries between human and animal in early Greek fable-telling. This chapter suggests that the fable tradition occasionally eschews symbolism and anthropomorphism entirely, which reveals a deep and abiding interest in animal behaviour and in material that could be considered as natural history. It also mentions that the fable was linked to the lower classes and affiliated with slaves in antiquity.
W. Martin Bloomer
This chapter offers a child-centered account of the history of education in the Greek and Roman worlds. A sketch of the introduction and adaptation of training in literacy stresses the social purposes of this education. Ancient theory and ancient practice are described, both of which have important consequences for the life of the child and for the idea of the child and childhood. The physical requirements of schooling and the particular skills and attitudes attendant upon these are considered in an evaluation of the curriculum, particularly in the methods of learning to read, write, and speak.
This article focuses on fishing and fish farming in ancient Greece and Rome. It discusses evidence showing the important place occupied by fish and shellfish in Graeco-Roman culinary culture, as well as the impressive scale and sophistication of capture fisheries and fish farming in both societies. It also looks at the consumption of fish and seafood, along with wild game and certain exotic spices, fruits, and vegetables, as part of Graeco-Roman notions of a luxurious diet and as an important symbol of status. Moreover, it discusses the principal methods of net-fishing and line fishing used by the Greeks and Romans.
This chapter examines the discoveries and interpretations of fossil discoveries in ancient times. It analyses nearly one hundred accounts from more than thirty ancient authors, from Herodotus in the fifth century BC to Augustine in the fifth century AD. The evidence indicates that ancient Greeks and Romans collected, measured, compared, and displayed extraordinary fossil remains in temples as relics of the glorious past. The literary evidence also suggests that observations of large vertebrate fossils certainly influenced certain myths and popular beliefs in ancient times. This chapter also argues that ancient Graeco-Roman accounts of encounters with marine, plant, animal, and trace fossils that were expressed in mythological language were remarkably perceptive for a pre-scientific culture.
This chapter examines references to forms of animal communication in ancient Greek and Roman literature. It analyses prose texts from the fourth century BC until the third century AD, which include those of Aristotle, Pliny the Elder, and Aelian, in order to determine specific types of verbal and non-verbal interaction on the part of certain animals. This chapter also presents some findings from modern research in the natural and social sciences on animal communication and argues that ancient reflections on the characteristics of animal communication are to a large extent influenced by the generic or literary conventions of the texts in which they occur.
In ancient Greece and Rome, there is evidence that animal husbandry was a technically sophisticated and productive enterprise. Archaeozoological studies show that the size of livestock was considerably larger compared to Bronze Age, Iron Age, and the medieval period. Moreover, the species were remarkably diversified, ranging from domestic animals to fowl, wild game, and game-birds that were farmed for affluent and demanding urban consumers in the Mediterranean. In addition to an extensive knowledge of the normal behaviour and needs of the animals, ancient Greeks and Romans displayed excellent management of pastures and rangelands, expertise in veterinary care, and high standards of fodder and forage production. Improvements in Graeco-Roman animal husbandry can be attributed mainly to enhanced nutrition. Aside from domestic farm animals or some farmed game, dogs, cats, and exotic animals also played a role as pets or work animals. This article focuses on animal husbandry, including poultry and game farming, as practised by ancient Greeks and Romans.
This chapter examines the role of animals in magic in antiquity. It considers the four main ways by which the world of animals intersected with the world of magic in antiquity. These include the deployment of magic by animals against man, the deployment of magic against animals and the transformation of humans into animals. This chapter discusses two ancient parodies of the culture of animal-part magic and describes three ways in which animals were used in magic that were not specific to their own natures or to the powers of their constituent parts. It also analyses the culture of animal-deployment in magic in ancient Rome and Greece as described in Pliny the Elder’s Natural History.
In ancient Greece and Rome, animal sacrifice was performed as a ritual to communicate with the gods, heroes, and other divine beings. Such rituals were meant to ask the divine recipients for favours, protection, and help, or to appease them. Animal sacrifice, in which prayer was central, was also a way for human worshippers to know the will of the gods and often concluded with the distribution and consumption of the meat. Literary texts, inscriptions, images, and archaeological remains in the form of altars and other sacrificial installations, as well as animal bones, provide evidence of animal sacrifice during antiquity. In particular, the animal bones recovered from sanctuaries have yielded significant information about the handling of sacrificial animals, which ranged from dogs and horses to game, fish, and snakes. Aside from species, sex, age, and colour, an important factor for the choice of animal to be sacrificed was the economics involved.
This chapter examines the role of animals in divination in ancient times. It discusses ancient observers’ interpretation of signs coming from instinctive animal behaviour and from the structure of animal body parts. It explains the three main currents of philosophical thought on divination. Plato and Aristotle believed the divinatory insights to be tied with animal instinct and belong to a fringe form of cognition that is specifically connected with humans’ animal natures. On the other hand, the Stoics considered divination as an important piece of their understanding of the cosmos as a whole, and of humans as part of it.