Humans were not the only creatures who inhabited antiquity: the world of the ancient Near East was shared with animals, wild and domesticated, birds, fish and insects. The ancients exploited animals, hunted them, feared them, worshipped them, held them in affection, wrote and sang about them, investigated
them and sacrificed them. This fascinating and stimulating course taught by Professor Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones aims to show the richness of human-animal interaction in antiquity, adopting a cross-cultural perspective which brings together ancient sources from the most significant Near Eastern cultures: Mesopotamia, the Levant, Egypt, and Persia. Not only were different animal species indigenous to different places – the crocodile and ibis in Egypt, the cheetah and ibex in Iran, and the camel and pheasant in Mesopotamia – but the cultural value attached to particular animals also differed. This course will highlight the significance of animals in ancient cultures, and the consuming interest in the animal world displayed by ancient writers and artists.
Lloyd is co-author of the 2017 book The Culture of Animals in Antiquity. This course will include sessions taught in The British Museum and UCL’s Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, including special access to objects.