Rejecting and Embracing the Monstrous in Ancient Greece and Rome

Authored by: D. Felton

The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous

Print publication date:  August  2013
Online publication date:  February  2017

Print ISBN: 9781409407546
eBook ISBN: 9781315241197
Adobe ISBN: 9781351894326


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The Greeks adapted many of their monsters from the Near East, but it was in ancient Greek culture that monsters reached an apogee of sorts, with both pictorial and literary depictions of monsters flourishing to a degree not seen before. 1 For the Greeks, monsters embodied a variety of fears: the potential of chaos to overcome order, of irrationality to prevail over reason; the potential victory of nature against the encroaching civilizations of mankind; the little-understood nature of the female in contrast to the male. The Greek myths repeatedly present monsters being conquered by gods and men; the forces of order, reason, civilization, and patriarchy inevitably prevail in Greek thought.

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