Identity and the environment in the classical and medieval worlds

Authored by: Rebecca Futo Kennedy , Molly Jones-Lewis

The Routledge Handbook of Identity and the Environment in the Classical and Medieval Worlds

Print publication date:  December  2015
Online publication date:  January  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415738057
eBook ISBN: 9781315686622
Adobe ISBN: 9781317415701


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Speculation about human difference and unity is evident in some of the earliest written sources in the Mediterranean. Interestingly, the Greek sources of this period, unlike those that come to us in the Hebrew Bible, posit no single creator for all of mankind, but allow for varieties of creations and births. When a single “race” of humans is created, as in Hesiod, the “races” of mankind were generations of people, born (or created by gods) and then destroyed. The “races,” however, were not the origins of distinctive groups of humans, and most peoples with whom the Greeks (and, later, the Romans) came into contact were incorporated within this single human race through mythical genealogies. And yet, the ancients observed that humanity was itself divided into groups with distinctive physical features, languages, and customs.

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