Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Paul Murgatroyd


Sean Corner



Committee Member

Claude Eilers


The role of realism in the depiction of animals in Greaco-Roman fable is investigated. The crow and the raven have been chosen as the prism through which the investigation is carried out. Fable will be shown to be a genre founded on a contextually realistic depiction of animals, and this may especially be seen in the corvid fables. Realism must, however, be understood contextually, as what constitutes a realistic depiction of crows and ravens in Graeco-Roman times is quite different than what one would encounter at present. As a result of which the crow and raven are marked by attributes ranging from cleverness, parenting ability, resistance to weather, vocal mimicry, longevity, and augural significance, amongst a host of other characteristics which sometimes coincide with modern views but often do not. Thus Graeco-Roman fables dealing with crows and ravens can be broadly divided into two categories: fables dealing in various ways with their intelligence, and fables dealing with their augural significance.

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