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'Prodigious Creatures' (Terata e Thaumata/Thomata) in literary sources from the 5th century BC

Grant number: 16/26069-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2017
Effective date (End): April 30, 2021
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Literature - Classical Literatures
Principal Investigator:Christian Werner
Grantee:Camila Aline Zanon
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):18/05195-8 - Research Project for the Research Internship Abroad (BEPE) at University of Oxford, complementary to the main research project 'Criaturas prodigiosas (terata e thaumata/thomata) em fontes textuais do século V a.C.', BE.EP.PD


Gods, heroes, and monsters are three categories commonly used to classify beings presented in what is conventionally called 'Greek mythology,' a complex system that integrates narratives, religious beliefs, and social practices. However, 'monster' is not a valid category to classify those creatures which appear in the mythopoetic discourse of Homer and Hesiod: first, because 'monster' is not a taxonomic category in archaic hexametric poetry; Second, because such creatures are linked, on the one hand, to the scope of the extraordinary, which is, in turn, intrinsically linked to the divine realm, and, on the other, because the terminology used in this poetry refers to an oracular system of divination, all absent characteristics from the modern notion of monster. In view of this, it is sought to investigate whether or not there is a change in the attitude towards what we modernly refer to as monstrous in narratives later than those of Homer and Hesiod, more precisely those dating from the classical period (5th century BC), focusing on Herodotus's Histories, a work in which the author describes some fantastic people and creatures, and on the tragedies that made use of mythological narratives. (AU)

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