Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 19 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores a large array of conceptions and theories in the ancient world, with an emphasis on what the ancients thought of both themselves and the other “animals.” The scope is immense in terms of leading schools of philosophy: the Pre-Socratics, the Golden Age of Athens, the Hellenistic period, and the Late Antique period. One generalization that does seem to hold is that non-human animals were commonly viewed as foils—beastly in habits and without minds of moral significance. The discussion assesses the ancient, classical, Greek, and Mediterranean attitudes as complicated and often contradictory. In general, animals were seen as entirely unlike us, but humans also were seen as capable of a descent into beastly behavior—to the point that humans were in effect seen as no more than animals.

Keywords: humans, animal, Hellenistic period, beastly behavior, Greek attitudes, philosophy schools

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.