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Title: Monsters in ancient Greek cosmogony, ethnography and biology
Author: Mitchell, Fiona Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 2665
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis explores the roles of monsters and monstrosity in ancient Greek literature. Rather than focusing on individual monstrous creatures or mythical figures, it analyses the representations of monsters in three genres: cosmogony, ethnography and biology. Chapter One focuses on three cosmogonic texts: Hesiod's Theogony and two of the Orphic theogonies, the Hieronyman and Hellanicus Theogony and Rhapsodic Theogony. Through these texts I explore the use of monsters in the depictions of the primordial cosmos and the way in which they could be representative not only of a threatening primordial chaos, but also of the creative potential of the beginning of the universe. Chapter Two explores monsters in ethnography, their use in geographic representations of the world and, in particular, the representation of the periphery as a home of monsters and wonders. Thus, examining these creatures in Herodotus' Histories, Ctesias' Indika and Megasthenes' Indika allows an insight into the way that monsters were used in the characterisation of foreign peoples and places, and in the geographical structuring of the world. The exploration of biology in Chapter Three focuses primarily on Aristotle's biological texts. This section considers the way in which monstrous creatures were incorporated into investigations of contemporary Greece, and how monstrous creatures were used in creating a structure and hierarchy of the natural world. These genres all have very different perspectives on the world, and so depict monsters in different ways. However, they are all focused on examining the nature of the universe: cosmogony through its origins, ethnography through ,the different countries that make up the world, and biology through the nature of people and animals. Thus examining monsters in these texts provides an additional insight into the way the world was viewed and constructed in ancient Greek thought
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available