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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In Europe, the study of the animal kingdom as a single coherent field emerged in the eighteenth century. Zoology, derived and adapted from the Latin word zoologia, was coined in the seventeenth century to refer to ‘the research into the medicinal properties and uses of substances obtained from wild or domestic, living or dead, animals’. Ancient writings and art representations involved ‘animals’ and reflected some degree of ‘zoological’ knowledge. In his ‘zoological and biological’ works, veterinary handbooks, and treatises on human medicine, Aristotle extensively recorded attributes of the internal organization of wild and domestic ‘animals’. This article explores the history of zoology and looks at the zoological knowledge displayed by ancient Greeks and Romans. It first discusses first-degree animal names of Greek coinages, which can be divided into three categories based on zoology, toxicology, and anthropology. It then considers Latin zoologically-based coinages that referred to body shape, colour, and pattern, behaviour, and geographic location of indigenous and exotic types. It also outlines the contextual conditions of coining first-degree animal names in ancient Greece and Rome.

Keywords: animal kingdom, zoology, animals, animal names, coinages, toxicology, anthropology, ancient Greece, Rome

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