Vox naturae

music as human-animal communication in the context of 'animal training' in Ancient Greece and Rome

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Plutarch establishes the notion of music as a form of animal communication by asserting that the melodious sounds of certain species of birds are expressions of ‘articulate speech’ (Plut. On the intelligence of animals 972F). The use of music as human-animal communication in the context of ‘animal training’ provides a distinct perspective into the influence of human music on animals in an ancient Greco-Roman context. This paper will present two case studies that emphasise the extensive influence of music in this context. Firstly, Varro records the practice of swineherds training their animals to respond to the sound of a bucina (Varro Rust. 2.4.20), and secondly, a 6th century AD funerary mosaic depicts Orpheus surrounded by various animals, including a leashed mongoose. This image implies a conceptual link between music and ‘animal training’.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event6th Annual MOISA Conference: Music and the Animal World in Hellenic and Roman Antiquity - University of Athens and École Française d'Athènes, Athens, Greece
Duration: 11 Jul 201614 Jul 2016

Conference

Conference6th Annual MOISA Conference
CountryGreece
CityAthens
Period11/07/1614/07/16

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