Lives in Interaction: Animal ‘Biographies’ in Graeco-Roman Literature?
This paper analyses some representative examples of literary texts in which a tendency towards an individualisation of animals can be discerned. It considers Odysseus’ dog Argus in Homer’s Odyssey, Arrian’s dog Horme in his Cynegeticus, King Alexander’s horse Bucephalas in Plutarch and Arrian, Corinna’s (unnamed) parrot in Ovid’s Amores 2.6, and the donkey Lucius in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses. Special attention is given to the questions of what kind of details on the lives of the animals in question are conveyed, and in what way these lives are related to the human sphere. The paper also examines to what extent such accounts may be categorised as ‘biographies’ and how they differ from each other. Wherever possible, there will be some reflexions on the specific historical and socio-political background of the texts discussed.
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Respondent: Martin Roussel (Internationales Kolleg Morphomata)