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Dwarfs in Ancient Egypt and Greece

Dwarfs in Ancient Egypt and Greece

Paperback Oxford Monographs on Classical Archaeology

By (author) Veronique Dasen

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 440 pages
  • Dimensions: 189mm x 246mm x 25mm | 840g
  • Publication date: 15 July 2013
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199680868
  • ISBN 13: 9780199680863
  • Illustrations note: 50 in-text illustrations and 80 pages of black and white plates

Product description

This book 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 proportions'? 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 In this study Dr Dasen brings together for the first time a whole range of mostly unpublished or little-known iconographic, epigraphic, literary, and anthropological evidence.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 efficiency 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 and the ancient world.

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Author information

Veronique Dasen is Associate Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Fribourg.

Review quote

Review from previous edition Compendious and impressively produced. Times Literary Supplement 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 Dasen has tackled a large subject, and has done an admirable job at ordering an immense amount of evidence ... Dasen's book is a timely and valuable contribution. Nicholas Vlahogiannis, King's College, London, Medical History In this learned book ... the author has made a very successful and welcome incursion into the field of Egyptology ... this is a very useful, extremely thorough, well illustrated, and at times fascinating presentation of little-known facts about the Egyptian and Greek experience of dwarfs in the ancient world. The Classical Review The evidence she cites is primarily iconographic, supplemented by some epigraphic, literary and skeletsl data. Much of it has till now been largely ignored and D. is to be congratulated for having brought it to the attention of art historians...a genuinely pioneering work and as such is to be warmly welcomed...D's book ... will greatly enlarge the discussion of those whom in the current jargon, have resisted the challenge of verticality. Journal of Hellenic Studies 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

Table of contents

PREFACE ; LIST OF PLATES ; LIST OF FIGURES ; ABBREVIATIONS ; GENERAL INTRODUCTION ; I MEDICAL CONTEXT ; 1. Typology of Growth Disorders ; 2. Palaeopathology ; II EGYPT ; 3. Terminology ; 4. Iconographic Conventions ; 5. Anonymous Dwarf Gods ; 6. Bes ; 7. Ptah-Pataikoi ; 8. Physical Minorities ; 9. Human Dwarfs ; 10. Conclusion ; III GREECE ; 11. Terminology ; 12. Iconographic Conventions ; 13. Dwarfs in Myth ; 14. Physical Minorities ; 15. Human Dwarfs ; 16. Conclusion ; GENERAL CONCLUSION ; IV CATALOGUES ; Egypt ; Greek World ; Skeletal Remains ; GLOSSARY OF MEDICAL TERMS ; BIBLIOGRAPHY ; INDEX ; PLATES