Animal Peculiarity volume 2 part 1

Animal Peculiarity volume 2 part 1

by T P Just


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Suicide is commended as an escape from the ills of life, and riches are to be despised. Aelian's Stoicism hardly goes below the surface. His primary object is to entertain and while so doing to convey instruction in the most agreeable form.
He was among the first to break away from the age-long tradition of the periodic structure of sentences, at least for works of a serious nature, and to affect a simpler prose of short, coordinated, sometimes paratactic, clauses.
In this and in the rich variety of topics and in a certain fondness for piquant, not to say earthy, stories from the life of men and of animals one may trace the influence of the Milesian Tales. Unfettered by any canons of style or language, picaresque, and sometimes gross, they pandered to popular taste.
To adopt their technique while refining the style and imparting a moral flavour to his narratives may well have seemed to Aelian a sure way of gaining a like popularity with educated readers. Some might find fault with his random and piece-meal handling of his theme-of that he is well aware, and in the Epilogue he defends himself with the plea that a frequent change of topic helps to maintain the reader's interest and saves him from boredom,
But as to the permanent value of his work he has no misgivings, and since, Philostratus informs us that his writings were much admired, we may assume that they appealed to cultivated circles in a way that the voluminous and possibly arid compilations of grammarians did not.
The knowledge which Aelian displays of Egypt and its topography, its local traditions, customs, and religious beliefs, especially those relating to birds and animals can come only from a writer well acquainted with the land and its people.
We are given mystical and mythological reasons for the reverence or detestation in which certain creatures are held, there are tales of wonder ranging from the merely curious to the impossible; quotations from Homer are introduced into chapters on Egyptian religion.
The pattern fits Apion (1st cent. A.D.). Born in the Great Oasis, he became head of the Alexandrian school, was a Homeric scholar and a pretender to omniscience.
His Aegyptiaca was a compilation dealing with the history and the marvels of Egypt and was based upon earlier writers with additions from his own experience. One such there is which 'every schoolboy knows,' the story of Androcles and the Lion.
In determining the modern equivalents and the scientific nomenclature of the fauna and flora of Ancient Greece the oracles do not always speak with one voice, and the best that a layman can hope for is that, when two or more interpretations have presented themselves, the result of his choice may be judged, if not correct, at any rate excusable.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781494793364
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 12/24/2013
Pages: 30
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.06(d)

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