Ancient Egyptians' atypical relationship with invertebrates

Linda Evans, Philip Weinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Despite the ubiquitous presence and vital role of invertebrates in all known ecological systems, insects and arachnids are largely viewed as repugnant by people. Consequently, until nature intervenes in the form of infestations, swarms or plagues, we largely prefer to ignore them, lest our attention invite unwelcome interaction. In contrast, the people of ancient Egypt did not distance themselves from invertebrates but instead celebrated their myriad forms. Egyptian appreciation of insects and arachnids is reflected in a range of art, artefacts, and texts dating from the predynastic era until the Greco-Roman period, revealing many positive cultural roles, from practical to conceptual. By assigning them a useful function, they were rendered visible and relevant to Egyptian society. The Egyptians' example suggests that as necessity forces us to acknowledge the value of invertebrates-from their function as pollinators to becoming future food sources-our respect for them may also grow.

LanguageEnglish
Pages716-732
Number of pages17
JournalSociety and Animals
Volume27
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Fingerprint

Invertebrates
Arachnida
invertebrates
Insects
ecological system
Egypt
respect
artifact
insects
Plague
plague
swarms
arts
pollinating insects
art
Art
food
Artifacts
Ecosystem
interaction

Keywords

  • ancient Egypt
  • insects
  • art
  • symbolism
  • religion
  • medicine

Cite this

Evans, Linda ; Weinstein, Philip. / Ancient Egyptians' atypical relationship with invertebrates. In: Society and Animals. 2019 ; Vol. 27, No. 7. pp. 716-732.
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Ancient Egyptians' atypical relationship with invertebrates. / Evans, Linda; Weinstein, Philip.

In: Society and Animals, Vol. 27, No. 7, 12.2019, p. 716-732.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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