Browsing Doctoral Degrees (Ancient Studies) by Subject "Aristotle -- Historia animalium -- Criticism and interpretation"
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- ItemVergil’s Menagerie : animal imagery in the Aeneid(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2020-12) Meyer, John Clifford; De Villiers, Annemarie; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Ancient Studies.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The constant presence of animals is a defining characteristic of ancient epic, but one that is not often examined in its own right. The focus of this study is on Vergil’s use of animal imagery in the Aeneid. In doing so, it examines how he manipulated, adapted and introduced new animals to the epic repertoire that made his work stand apart from earlier Greek epics such as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. In the initial stages of research 450 animal references were identified in the Aeneid. Because of the sheer number, these findings were narrowed down to a choice of seven types of animals—the snake, lion, deer, wolf, dove, eagle and owl—for an in-depth study. Thereafter a close reading was done of passages where these seven species feature, in conjunction with corresponding passages from Homer, to identify developments that Vergil had made. At the same time Aristotle’s Historia Animalium and Pliny’s Naturalis Historia were consulted in concert to reveal Greek and Roman beliefs about these seven animals. The accumulation of this evidence shows that not only are animals inextricably linked with the epic’s plot, but that there are clear innovations that Vergil made to the epic repertoire: 1) he presented greater insight into the emotions and thought processes of animals than his predecessors; 2) he frequently aligned his depiction of animal behaviour with those found in natural histories; 3) he used animals as a means of drawing attention to various conflicts, such as that between nature and civilisation, man and woman, and foreigner and native, and 4) he represented certain animals through a Roman lens, stressing their unique role in Roman mythology and superstition. By examining these four innovations, this thesis provides new insight into understanding not only the Aeneid but also the role that animals play in the epic.