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Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Classics

Supervisor

Paul Murgatroyd

Co-Supervisor

Sean Corner

Language

English

Committee Member

Claude Eilers

Abstract

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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