LJ411 Animals in Antiquity: from Everyday Life to Magic

Faculty of Arts
Autumn 2019
Extent and Intensity
2/0/0. 3 credit(s). Type of Completion: k (colloquium).
Mgr. Andrea Salayová, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
prof. PhDr. Daniela Urbanová, Ph.D.
Department of Classical Studies - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Jitka Erlebachová
Supplier department: Department of Classical Studies - Faculty of Arts
Thu 12:00–13:40 A21, except Thu 14. 11. ; and Thu 14. 11. 12:00–13:40 A24
English language competence - there are no other prerequisites for this course.
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
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Course objectives
The aim of this course is to make students familiar with the role of animals in antiquity and their importance to the ancient society. The course offers the overview of the presence of animals in various areas of ancient life (economy - husbandry, breeding, trade, pets; gastronomy; ancient literature; mythology; religion - animal sacrifice; divination; magic; medicine; art; entertainment). The course is suitable to students from various disciplines, particularly then to majors in ancient history and history, classical languages, classical archeology and mediterranean studies or to anyone interested in the role of animals in the ancient society.
Learning outcomes
At the end of this course, the students will be able to:
- describe and discuss the various roles of animals in the ancient world
- list the animal species which are the most important for each area of the ancient life
- compare the role of animals in antiquity to their role in modern society
  • 1. Ancient Fauna (Animal Species in Antiquity, History of Domestication, Hunting, Fishing, Pets and Breeding)
  • 2. Economy and Gastronomy (Animal Trade, Farming, Price of Animals, Animal Products, Preparation of Meat, Ancient Recipes)
  • 3. Animals in Ancient Literature (Aesop and Fables, Animals in Drama Comedy and Tragedy, Animals in Epic)
  • 4. Religion (Animal Sacrifice, Sacred Animals, The Role of Animals in Roman Festivals - October Equus)
  • 5. Divination (Animal Behaviours as Signs - Birds, The Structure of Animal Parts as Signs)
  • 6. Magic (Magic in Antiquity, Animals in Greek Magical Papyri, Animals in Curse Tablets)
  • 7. Animal Magic in Ancient Literature (Pliny the Elder, Apuleius, Lukianos, Vergil, Ovid)
  • 8. Mythology (Animal Attributes of Gods, Animal Gods, Tranformation of Humans into Animals, Mythical Creatures in Antiquity – Centaurs, Hydra, Sphynx)
  • 9. Cruel Practices (Animal Abuse, Spectacles, Horse Racing and Chariot Racing, Triumphs)
  • 10. Animals in Ancient Science (Ancient Zoological Knowledge, The Use of Animals in Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Ancient Fossil Disciveries and Interpretations)
  • 11. Animals in Classical Art (Animal Symbolism, Animal Style,Reliefs, Mosaics, Ceramics)
  • 12. Animals in Ancient Philosophy (The Sophists, Plato, Aristoteles, Theophrastus, Stoics, Epicurus, Philosophical Vegetarianism)
    recommended literature
  • SALAYOVÁ, Andrea. Animals as Magical Ingredients in Greek Magical Papyri: Preliminary Statistical Analysis of Animal Species. Graeco-Latina Brunensia. Brno: Masarykova univerzita, 2017, vol. 22, No 1, p. 191-206. ISSN 1803-7402. doi:10.5817/GLB2017-1-15. Digitální knihovna FF MU info
  • The Oxford handbook of animals in classical thought and life. Edited by Gordon Lindsay Campbell. First edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. xix, 633. ISBN 9780199589425. info
    not specified
  • Greek and Roman animal sacrifice : ancient victims, modern observers. Edited by Christopher A. Faraone - F. S. Naiden. 1st pub. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. xiv, 209. ISBN 9781107011120. info
  • ARNOTT, W. Geoffrey. Birds in the ancient world from A to Z. 1st pub. London: Routledge, 2007. xiii, 288. ISBN 9780415238519. info
  • APULEIUS, Lucius. The golden ass, or, A book of changes. Translated by Joel C. Relihan. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2007. xlv, 277. ISBN 9780872208872. info
  • AESOP, Jacob GRIMM, Wilhelm GRIMM and Hans Christian ANDERSEN. Folk-Lore and fable. New York: P. F. Collier & Son Corporation, 1960. 361 s. info
Teaching methods
Lectures, Presentations, Reading the Parts of Works of Selected Ancient Authors in Translation, Class Duscussion, Group Work. To enhance the learning experience of the students, innovative teaching methods will be used focusing on student-centeredness and the use of technologies in teaching - blended learning (e-learning, Socrative, Mentimener).
Assessment methods
The course grade will be based on active class participation (discussion, group work) and at home preparation (reading) and submission of the final assignment consisting of essay on selected topic (submitted by the end of the exam period) and the written exam (during which the use of all materials (including the internet) is allowed). Selected essays can be later considered for publication in online handbook. Lecture attendance is required with 2 unexcused absences allowed.
Language of instruction
Further Comments
Study Materials
The course is taught only once.

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