Classical Cats: The Rise and Fall of the Sacred Cat

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Psychology Press, 1999 - 227 pages
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This is the definitive book on classical cats. The cat has played a significant role in history from the earliest times. Well known is its role in the religion and art of ancient Egypt, no less than its association with witchcraft in the Middle Ages. But when did the cat become a domestic companion and worker as well?
There has been much debate about the position of the cat in ancient Greece and Rome. Artistic representations are sometimes ambiguous, and its role as a mouse-catcher seems often to have been carried out by weasels. Yet other evidence clearly suggests that the cat was as important to Greeks and Romans as it is to many modern people.
This book is the first comprehensive survey of the evidence for cats in Greece and Rome, and of their functions and representations in art. Donald Engels draws on authors from Aesop to Aristotle; on vase-painting, inscriptions and the plastic arts; and on a thorough knowledge of zoology of the cat. He also sets the ancient evidence in the wider context of the Egyptian period that preceded it, as well as the views of the Church fathers who ushered antiquity into the Middle Ages.
 

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User Review  - StarofSophia - LibraryThing

I really wanted to like this book. It seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. Unfortunately, even though it masquerades as an informed and scholarly book, it is actually riddled with poor research, conjecture and just plain misinformation. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kencf0618 - LibraryThing

This is the single best book on cats I've ever come across. The seemingly narrow subject provides the wedge, but I've seldom seen it wielded as skillfully as this. A fascinating window into what's glibly deemed "ancient history." Just ask my two cats! Read full review

Contents

The cat in history
1
Types of domestic cat
10
Egypt
18
Greece
48
Rome
88
AD 5001000
138
Persecution and redemption
152
The Black Death
160
Renaissance and redemption
170
Cat remains from Greek and Roman
176
The Vox in Rama of Gregory IX
183
Notes
189
Bibliography
216
Index
223
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