16 December 2009

Zucker, Arnaud (2005) Les classes zoologiques en Grèce ancienne: d'Homère (VIIIe av. J.-C.) à Élien (IIIe ap. J.-C.). Aix-en-Provence: Publications de l'Université de Provence. (Textes et documents de la Méditerranée antique et médiévale.) 317 p. ISBN 2-85-399-603-4. Price: €28.

The book is a result of systematic research on zoological differences noted in the literary sources that deal with the representation of animals. It is partly a dictionary, partly an encyclopaedia, covering classifications of animals from Homer to Aelian. A lengthy introduction (48 pages) covers the question of the modes of classification of animals, including an overview of the sources and various criteria of classification. The author especially underlines the importance of Aristotle in the history of the classification of animals. Of the following six major chapters each studies one group of classifying terms: 1) the so-called suprageneric terms (forms of living, cattle, "animals" and "bugs"); 2) terms related to savageness and domesticity; 3) terms related to space and movement (land, air, water, regional biotopes of sea and land); 4) terms related to physiology (blood, way of reproduction, diet); 5) terms related to morphology (integument, feet, teeth, wings etc.); 6) various other terms that are not part of a system. These chapters are followed by an appendix, which presents (in translation) the definitions of these zoological terms in ancient Etymologica and Lexica.

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