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date: 23 January 2021


  • J. T. Vallance


It is probably misleading, though not entirely inappropriate, to use this word to describe the ancient study of man and society. Misleading, because anthropology did not really exist as the kind of discrete discipline it is today (see anthropology and the classics). What follows here is a very brief summary of some central anthropological themes from antiquity, gathered from a variety of sources and contexts, ethical, scientific, and literary.The Greeks and Romans developed a range of ideas about their own identity and the identity of others; about the nature of human societies, their history, and organization. It is well known that many Greeks designated non-Greek speakers ‘*barbarian’,—after the Greek verb for ‘babble’—and language of course remained an important index of racial and cultural difference. (*Herodotus (1)'s History introduced many Greeks to foreigners and their customs for the first time: Hdt. 4. 183 notes that the Egyptian *Trogodytae ‘squeak like bats’; elsewhere, e.

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