1Dec Blemmyes Posted by: Mark Newton in art & photography 4 Comments It is said that the Blemmyes have no heads, and that their mouth and eyes are put in their chests… Pliny the Elder, Natural History. bestiary history
I’d be tempted to shrug it all off as a by-product of low literacy and high costs of sharing information about the greater world, but then I don’t remember Thucydides’s work buying into all this weirdness. Some Classical Authors just seem to have reported any bullshit story they heard from traders and sailors as fact.
Natural Selection was, I believe, a fairly assiduous account of other people’s works, in attempt to be one authoritative guide across the range of sciences, so I guess it’s inevitable in such an approach that the bat-shit-crazy things would make it in there.
Thucydides took a more evidence-based approach though didn’t he? Bet it wasn’t as much fun to read in their day. 🙂
He did his best, although he still had to speculate in areas (most of the speeches in his account are paraphrased from speeches that he personally overheard, or heard about from other people who were there).
It’s actually still quite a nice read. I was surprised about that, since I went into A History of the Peloponnesian War expecting some dry account that would be difficult to simply pick up and read.
I’m a bit of a latecomer to the classical party, but yes, I’m finding many of these accounts remarkably readable…