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Book Club Picks: Flying Serpents and Griffin's Claws

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Adrienne Mayor explores the boundaries of history, science, archaeology, anthropology, and popular knowledge, discovering historical realities and scientific insights—long-buried, shimmering chunks of truth—embedded in myths, legends, and folklore. famous for doing Over the decades, she has searched for intriguing wonders and wonders, historical mysteries, distracting anecdotes, and hidden gems of antiquity, medieval and modern times, examining ancient texts and obscure sources. I came. Flying Serpent and Griffin’s Claw Here are 50 of her most amazing and interesting discoveries.

discussion questions

  1. The mayor presents an interdisciplinary approach to classical mythology that bridges the gap between folklore, archeology and natural science, “searching for authentic knowledge embellished with the imagination.” What do you think of her unique methodology? Do you think it will be useful to other scholars in these fields?
  2. The mayor has painted delightful vignettes of pet ferrets over the years. Do you have an unusual house pet? Have you ever thought about their ancient roots and importance?
  3. There are several entries discussing the contributions that historically underrepresented people have made to both mythological and scientific inventions. For example, in Chapter 7, “Little Birds with Poisonous Poop,” the mayor states that the natives actually knew about the toxicity of the pitohui bird long before others claimed he discovered it in 1989. are sharing. She also describes how enslaved Africans contributed to the development of immunity to smallpox. and/or possess knowledge? If so, how should this be determined?
  4. Referring to her often frustrating research on ancient griffins, Mayer writes: – in paleontology ”(121). What does this say about the field of classical and ancient history? Do you think it can/should be expanded in this way?
  5. There are various accounts of the life of Chiomara, a Celtic woman who lived during the Galatian War. How do we strike a balance between giving the ancient woman the right story and attention, and avoiding the exaggerations and inaccuracies that the mayor reveals here?
  6. Do you think women like Amazons really existed in ancient times? Does it matter if they did? Why is this discourse important?
  7. From creating fake fossils, comparing cups of drink to women’s breasts, and judging other people’s personalities based on their appearance, the mayor shows just how old these human behaviors are. . Do these commonalities provide concern or comfort?
  8. When did international travel to Greece first become popular? Today, Greece’s economy relies heavily on the tourism industry. What do you think makes Greece so attractive to tourists and travelers?
  9. Did reading this book change your thinking or approach to classical mythology and natural history? If so, how?
  10. What was the strangest thing that appealed to you the most and why?

About the author

Adrian Mayer includes a book The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Rome’s Worst Enemy, Mithridateswas a finalist for the National Book Awards. Gods and Robots: Ancient Dreams of Myths, Machines and TechnologyWhen Amazons: Lives and Legends of Female Warriors of the Ancient World (all Princeton). She is a researcher in classics and history of science at Stanford University.