Thesis / Dissertation

Birds in Roman Life and Myth

Ashleigh Renee Green, Frederik Vervaet (ed.)

Published : 2020

Abstract

In Ancient Rome, the role of birds in everyday life and myth was one of critical importance. This thesis examines birds in their assigned roles of divine messengers, heralds, hunting quarry, domestic flocks, and companion animals, focusing primarily on the transitional period of 100 BCE to 100 CE within the Italian peninsula. It asserts that Roman relations with birds in these capacities can only be understood if art and literature are cross-checked against modern ornithological knowledge and faunal assemblages. In this way it is proven that a ‘bird’s-eye view’ of history is an effective method for interpreting and understanding Roman cultural beliefs and social stratification.