Vol. 51 (2015)

When elephants weap.: Plin., Nat. 8, 20-21

Published July 8, 2020


Darab, Ágnes. (2020). When elephants weap.: Plin., Nat. 8, 20-21. Acta Classica Universitatis Scientiarum Debreceniensis, 51, 75–88. Retrieved from https://ojs.lib.unideb.hu/classica/article/view/7842

The literature of classical antiquity has lost much of its attraction, and the circle of its possible readers has been narrowed significantly. Even in literary criticism that reaches beyond classical philology, its position has dwindled to a source of motifs, topics, archetypes, and we clearly lack such interpretations as would present ancient literature from an angle that would appeal to the readers of our age. This paper is devoted to an analysis of the 20th and the 21st chapters of the zoological part (book 8) of Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historia. Through a comparative interpretation that is attentive to the cultural-medial aspects of the textual locus, the essay provides a paradigm for uncovering the meaning – which would appeal to readers in the 21st century – in ancient texts with the help of different methodological perspectives, in this case the simultaneous application of narratological and comparative approaches.