Birds in Roman Life and Myth  book cover
1st Edition

Birds in Roman Life and Myth

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 3, 2023
ISBN 9781032162867
March 3, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
288 Pages 46 B/W Illustrations

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USD $160.00

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Book Description

This book examines birds in Roman life and myth, focusing primarily on the transitional period of 100 BCE to 100 CE within the Italian peninsula.

A diverse range of topics are considered to build a broad view of the role of birds in Roman life. It begins by examining birds in omens, augury, and auspices, with particular emphasis on the so-called sacred chickens consulted by magistrates and generals before important decisions. From there, it looks at how Romans hunted birds, farmed them, and kept them as pets. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, it draws on many evidence streams, including literary evidence alongside art, material culture, zooarchaeology, and modern ornithological knowledge to reconstruct fully how Romans lived with, thought about, and exploited birds. The incorporation of zooarchaeological knowledge adds another dimension to the evidence and highlights how animals and animal remains can be used to interpret the past and reconstruct cultural, religious, and social beliefs.

Using a blend of evidence to examine birds as divine messengers, heralds, hunted quarry, domestic flocks, companion animals and more, this book is an important reference for researchers interested in human-animal relations and animals in the ancient world.

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Omens, Augury, and Auspices; 2. The Augural Chickens; 3.Farming and Aviculture; 4. Fowling and Bird-Catching; 5. Pets and Pleasure

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Dr Ashleigh Green is a graduate of The University of Melbourne and a fellow of the State Library of Victoria. Her research interests include the study of birds in the classical world, and more generally what human-animal studies can tell us about societies both past and present. She was the 2021 recipient of the Australasian Society for Classical Studies Early Career Award and a 2022 Virtual Fellow for the Centre for the History of Emotions.