Dwarfs in Ancient Egypt and Greece

Dwarfs in Ancient Egypt and Greece

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Veronique Dasen here examines dwarfs in myth and everyday life in ancient Egypt and Greece. In both cultures physical beauty was highly admired, even to excess. What happened to those whose appearance did not conform to the 'ideal proportion'? The spectacular forms of dwarfism were always a focus of interest, and it is the most depicted disorder in antiquity. In this study Dr Dasen brings together for the first time a whole range of mostly unpublished or little known iconographic, epigraphic, literary, and anthropological evidence. She covers areas such as the history of caricature and the portrait; medical history, in particular the development of the perception of congenital disorders; social history; and history of religion, with questions on the magical and ritual efficacy of the malformed in sacred and theatrical contexts. She considers also the complex relations between mythology and ethnography, as shown, for example, in the Greek myth of the Pygmies. This is a fascinating work, with a wealth of insights for anyone interested in the history of medicine or the ancient world.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 190 x 248 x 34mm | 1,102.22g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • frontispiece, 80 black and white plates, halftone and line figures
  • 019814699X
  • 9780198146995

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Review quote

Well-structured and clearly written, providing a thoughtful discussion of the subject of dwarfism in two ancient cultures, and also serving as an excellent reference volume Journal of Egyptian Archaeology A brilliant interdisciplinary, and truly fascinating examination of how two ancient societies literally viewed dwarfs. Dasen provides her readers with an eyeful and brainful of material in this book which represents Oxford publishing at its best. Dasen has produced a true masterpiece on the subject Jonathan Sinclair Carey, The Art Book Compendious and impressively produced Times Literary Supplement

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