Wild Animals in Roman Epic

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Wild Animals in Roman Epic

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10036/3469

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Title: Wild Animals in Roman Epic
Author: Hawtree, Laura Joy
Advisor: Dickey, Eleanor
Publisher: University of Exeter
Date Issued: 2011-09-26
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10036/3469
Abstract: Roman epic authors extended, reinvented and created new wild animal representations that stood apart from traditional Greek epic renderings. The treatment of wild animals in seven Roman epics (Virgil’s Aeneid, Lucan’s Civil War, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Statius’ Thebaid and Achilleid, Valerius’ Argonautica and Silius’ Punica) forms the basis of this thesis, but the extensive study of other relevant works such as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Apollonius’ Argonautica allows greater insight into traditional Greek renderings and throws Roman developments into starker contrast. Initial stages of research involved collection and detailed examination of almost 900 epic references to wild animals. The findings from this preliminary research were analysed in the context of Pliny’s Natural History, Aristotle’s Historia Animalium, and other ancient works that reveal the Greeks’ and Romans’ views of wild animals. The accumulation of such a range of evidence made it possible for patterns of development to become evident. This thesis focuses on the epic representation of animals and considers a number of questions: 1) How Roman epic authors represented animals’ emotions and employed creatures’ thought processes. 2) How Roman epic authors examined the difference between wild and tame animals and manipulated the differences and similarities between humans and animals and culture and nature. 3) How wild animals were aligned with scientific and cultural beliefs that were particular to Roman society. 4) How animals were employed to signify foreign countries and how some epic animals came to be symbolic of nations. 5) How Roman epic authors represented particular aspects of animal behaviours with fresh insight, sometimes ignoring traditional representations and historiographic sources.
Type: Thesis or dissertation
Keywords: Wild AnimalsRoman EpicNatural HistoryAnimal Psychology
Funders/Sponsor: University of Exeter


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