Motivations for Pet Keeping in Ancient Greece and Rome A Preliminary Survey

Topics: Burial, Greek language, The Animals Pages: 2 (595 words) Published: March 18, 2016
Anth 68
Day 11
Motivations for pet-keeping in Ancient Greece and Rome: a preliminary survey In her chapter, Motivations for pet-keeping in Ancient Greece and Rome: a preliminary survey, Liliane Bodson writes about the motivations behind ancient animal pet owners for keeping pets by describing animal burial, talking about animal qualities, and the wording on epitaphs.

Bodson starts out by describing the ancient Greek and Rome method of animal burial and says that they were very similar to human burial in two distinct ways. First was choosing the gravesite. Rather than having different gravesite for animal and humans, the animals’ graves were seen everywhere and were paid tribute to by passerby. Second similarity was the tombstones, which were the same size as ones for humans and contained a portrait of the animal and an epitaph describing the body that is buried.

She then goes on to describe the animal qualities that the human identified towards the animals. She says that pets brought joy and pleasant feelings of affection to the owner and the owner genuinely cared about his or her pet. Furthermore, lap-dog were said to be the most loved and used as pets because of their loyalty and admiration towards the owner. She provides an example where a lap-dog would eat out of her master’s hand, drink from his cup, and wagged her tail when seeing him. In addition, Bodson describes the writing on the epitaphs to be admiration towards the pet and writes about Greek word such as athurma, which refers to the pet being a “plaything, a toy that brought joy and […] delightful” (pg.35).

Bodson shows the admiration of pets since the ancient time through the epitaphs “that suggest strong and selfless affection for animals that should no longer be considered a uniquely modern phenomenon” (pg.36).

Pet-Keeping in Non-Western Societies: Some Popular Misconception In his article, Pet-Keeping in Non-Western Societies: Some Popular Misconception, James A. Serpell summarizes...
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