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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

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.

Keywords: animal communication, ancient Greek literature, ancient Roman literature, Aristotle, Pliny the Elder, Aelian, literary convention

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