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Review: Monstrosity and Philosophy. Radical Otherness in Greek and Latin Culture

Filippo Del Lucchese

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Monstrosity and Philosophy. Radical Otherness in Greek and Latin Culture

The book “Monstrosity and Philosophy. Radical Otherness in Greek and Latin Culture” by Filippo Del Lucchese is about monsters in ancient culture and presents the views of ancient philosophers on this subject and related issues. The author’s goal was to reconstruct the concept of “monstrosity” among ancient thinkers. The book was published by “Edinburgh University Press”.

The book consists of an introduction, eight chapters and an index of names and words used. In the introduction, the author thoroughly describes the motives of the book and the thematic scope of the following chapters. In the next chapters we learn about how monsters originally competed with the new dynasty of gods, what were the myths, what was the logos; then we get to know the views of pre-Platonic philosophers, Plato himself, Aristotle or the famous philosophical currents: epicureanism, stoicism – which was popularized especially in ancient Rome – and scepticism. Finally, the author comes to early Christianity, whose writers and thinkers were largely based on Greco-Roman achievements.

In the case of each discussed philosophy or current, the author tries to get an answer to the views of more important representatives about the “monstrosities” and the reasons for raising such issues. We learn what myths really were and why people created them.

In summary, the over 300-page book is a really interesting proposition for people who want to learn about the world of mythological monsters or explore the genesis of popular and less known myths or stories. The monstrosity forced ancient authors to ponder ugliness, beauty, imperfections and human or animal nature. The subject of the items is unique and will certainly interest many.

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