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 variation at the notion of animals, illustrating the most elements within the construction of a Christian perception of animals. one of many underlying assumptions of the booklet is that alterations within the approach animal motifs are used and how human-animal family members are conceptualized function signs of extra normal cultural shifts. Gilhus attests that during overdue antiquity, animals have been used as symbols in a basic redefinition of cultural values and assumptions.

A wide selection of key texts are consulted and variety from philosophical treaties to novels and poems on metamorphoses; from biographies of holy people similar to Apollonius of Tyana and Antony, the Christian barren region ascetic, to usual historical past; from the recent 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 throughout the centuries and this ebook offers the dominant topics and advancements within the notion of animals with out 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

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Auspicia means “bird watching”. It implies that signs were taken on the basis of the flight of birds, their singing or their manner of eating, while alektrynomancy consisted of observing the behaviour of sacred chickens (see van der Horst 1998). 71). These chickens were kept in a cage, and omens were taken from the way they ate. When the chickens were released, they declined to eat. 7). The moral of the story is that because Claudius Pulcher disobeyed the auspices, he lost a fleet. Obviously, his lack of respect for chickens is not the point.

One of the origins of the arena, and one of its models, was the hunt, which is one of the oldest institutional contexts of human–animal relations. The arena can be regarded as the end-product of a long process in which people gradually established control over, and in some places eliminated, the threat from wild beasts. To early man, carnivores were a real threat to his life and society, and he may have seen himself as subordinate to animals (Lorblanchet 1989: 137–9). All the same – or precisely because animals were a real threat – Palaeolithic and Neolithic societies seem to have admired animals, to judge from their art.

The last time that venationes were organized in Rome was in 523 CE, after which they were outlawed. After that, there is no record of that type of spectacle in Rome, while in the Eastern provinces, venationes seem to have survived for much of the sixth century (Roueché 1993: 76–9). Conclusion In the Roman Empire, the use of animals was fundamental and absolutely necessary. Not only the consumption of food and clothes made out of animal products but also the use of power based on animals’ bodies was essential for the management of the empire.

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