chapter  8
10 Pages

Netherworld envoy or man’s best friend? Attitudes toward dogs in the ancient world

BySophia Menache

Human attitudes toward the fauna convey a faithful manifestation of time and space, combining religious and philosophical tenets with ecological and environmental demands. The prevailing attitudes toward animals refl ect in this regard just a fragment of the constant process of refl ection and contemplation and the resulting attempts to cope with a challenging environment, the rules of which remain unknown or incomprehensible for most human beings. Selected from the rich spectrum of human attitudes toward the nonhuman world, this chapter focuses on dogs, the fi rst domesticated animal and, as such, a continuous associate, if not a real component, of human society. From a chronological perspective, this study devotes much attention to the ancient world, when the basic principles of religion and philosophy were discussed and eventually established. 1 These thematic and chronological demarcations allow some responses to the intriguing attitudes of human beings toward their most faithful friends among the nonhuman habitants on earth.