Animals in Greek and Roman Thought: A Sourcebook (Routledge Sourcebooks for the Ancient World)
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Although reasoned discourse on human-animal relations is often considered a late twentieth-century phenomenon, ethical debate over animals and how humans should treat them can be traced back to the philosophers and literati of the classical world. From Stoic assertions that humans owe nothing to animals that are intellectually foreign to them, to Plutarch's impassioned arguments for animals as sentient and rational beings, it is clear that modern debate owes much to Greco-Roman thought.
Animals in Greek and Roman Thought brings together new translations of classical passages which contributed to ancient debate on the nature of animals and their relationship to human beings. The selections chosen come primarily from philosophical and natural historical works, as well as religious, poetic and biographical works. The questions discussed include: Do animals differ from humans intellectually? Were animals created for the use of humankind? Should animals be used for food, sport, or sacrifice? Can animals be our friends?
The selections are arranged thematically and, within themes, chronologically. A commentary precedes each excerpt, transliterations of Greek and Latin technical terms are provided, and each entry includes bibliographic suggestions for further reading.
Rational or Irrational? 3 1. Alcmaeon of Croton (DK 1a) 2. Chrysippus (SVF 2. 821) 3. Plato (Symposium 207a–c; Republic 440e–441b) 4. Aristotle (History of Animals 588b4–12; Parts of Animals 681a10–15; History of Animals 488a20–26; 588a16–18–588b3; Nicomachean Ethics 1097b33–1098a4; Politics 1332b3–8; Metaphysics 980a28–981a4) 5. Philo of Alexandria (On Animals 11–12; 17; 29; 45; 71; 85) 6. Seneca (Moral Letters 76. 8–10) 7. Plutarch (On the Cleverness of Animals 960A–B; 960C; 960D–E; Gryllus
how I gave up the practice? My early manhood took place during the first part of the reign of Tiberius. At that time foreign cults were making the rounds, and abstention from meat was advanced as proof of adherence to certain cults. On the urging of my father, who did not so much fear false accusation as he hated philosophy, I returned to my former habits, and he had no difficulty in persuading me to have a better diet. (Moral Letters 108. 17–23) 6. Plutarch Plutarch is the earliest classical
when animals lose their lives. It is right that the profit should be shared from the harvest of the produce of bees, since that comes from our labors, for the bees gather the honey from the plants and we care for the bees. It is seemly that it be shared in such a way that no harm comes to them: what they do not use but what could be of use to us should be payment from them. We should avoid animals in sacrifice, for everything belongs to the gods but the crops are reckoned to be ours since we sow
Plutarch (Coimbra: Centro de Estudos Clássicas e Humanisticos da Universidade de Coimbra, 2009). Rundin, John, “The Vegetarianism of Empedocles in Its Historical Context,” The Ancient World 29 (1998) 19–35. 124 BIBLIOGRAPHY Ryder, Richard D., Animal Revolution: Changing Attitudes towards Speciesism (Oxford: Blackwell, 1989). Santese, Giuseppina, “Animali e Razionalità in Plutarco,” in Silvana Castignone and Giuliana Lanata, eds, Filosofi e Animali nel Mondo Antico (Pisa: Edizioni ETS, 1994).
animal wonders, Aelian. Following Lysimachus’ recitation of Alexander’s arguments, Philo offers a rebuttal in Sections 77–100 that is rather brief, general in nature, and surprisingly spiritless in view of Philo’s aversion to the ideas presented in Alexander’s exposition. Philo argues partially from a religious point of view, maintaining that to advance the idea that animals possess reason raises them to the level of human beings, an impious notion, and thereby risks sacrilege. Of the following