This story about two rabbis and their donkeys opens a number of lines of inquiry for late antiquity. What were the everyday interactions of human beings with animals and how did those interactions shape both human and animal lives? What mediating roles did animals play in human politics? What were the mechanisms by which people tried to control animals and how did they justify those mechanisms? Finally, and in my view most intriguingly, how were late ancients onto themselves when it came to animals? In other words, what insights did late ancient people have into the problems and paradoxes of their relationship to other species?This is the latest essay in the AJR Animal Forum.
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