The James Ford Lectures 2022 – Dogsbodies and Dogs’ Bodies: A Social and Cultural History of Roman Britain’s Dogs and People | Faculty of History

These lectures explore the social, cultural, and ritual histories of Roman-Britain’s people through an investigation of their entanglements with dogs. In the highly anthrozootic world of Roman Britain, dogs and humans together shaped mutual ecologies and life-ways. Dogs also served as metaphorical and ritual agents, and they were central in the production of both social difference and lived religion under Rome. By following the trail left by dogs, we can recover something of the lifeways and experience of the people with whom they shared the world, and we can identify and characterize some of the mechanisms through which a Roman provincial society was created.

See particularly:

Lecture Three: Dogs as Metaphorical Agents: Hierarchy, Inequality, Enslavement (4 February 2022)

In the absence of a well-developed social history for Roman Britain, little has been written on the lived experience of the bottom eighty-five percent of its population, but looking at dogs and humans together helps us recuperate something of both species’ experience under Rome. This lecture considers, on the one hand, the lives of pampered and self-feeding dogs; and on the other, low-status and enslaved humans. A shared constellation of images, prejudices, and metaphors emerged in the period which explained the moral shortcomings of both canines and the poor and justified their terrible treatment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s