By A. Harden
This sourcebook provides specially-prepared translations from Greek and Latin texts throughout numerous genres which provide a wide-reaching experience of where of the non-human animal within the ethical sign up of Classical Greece and Rome. From theories of the origins of animal existence and vegetarianism, literary makes use of of animal imagery and its function in formulating cultural identification, to shiny descriptions of vivisection, force-feeding, in depth farming, agricultural and army exploitation, and distinctive debts of animal-hunting and the alternate in unique animal items: the battleground of the fashionable animal rights debate is right here given its old origin in a range of approximately 2 hundred passages of Classical authors from Homer to Porphyry.
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Additional resources for Animals in the Classical World: Ethical Perspectives from Greek and Roman Texts
Ones concerning justice (dikaios), perhaps, but does it not seem ridiculous to give them actions such as making contracts and lodging money in trust? Brave ones, then, facing fear and danger for the cause of goodness? Causes of liberty or freedom? But to whom would they give it? And it would be rather out of place to think of them as having currency and that sort of thing. Temperance, then. What about that? But to praise the gods for not having tawdry desires would be rather vulgar. Going through all this, it would seem that these things are insignificant and unworthy of the gods.
But having sent forth thanks, we now complain to the god for the fact that we don’t have the same cares for them as for us. But look, by Zeus, even one of the things provided by the gods suffices to make this providence perceptible to a humble and grateful mind. Not even the greatest of these: that milk comes from the grass, and cheese from milk, and wool from skins: who is the provider and deviser of this? ‘No-one is’, you say. What ignorance and impudence! [ ... ] But since most people (hoi polloi) are blind, is there not always a need for someone to fill the space and, on behalf of everyone, sing the hymn to the god?
Balbus then lists some of the more apparently ingenious behaviours of animals and relationships between predators and prey, including camouflage, symbiosis and bird flight patterns; he also mentions the remarkable 36 Animals in the Classical World habits of animals which eat certain plants for medicinal effects (now known as zöopharmacognosy, for which see Sextus Empiricus below, §21), intrinsically crediting animals with a diverse range of advanced mental powers including memory and – tellingly – the ability to feel pain.