Monstrous Fishes and Marine Dogs: Reconstructing the Sea Monster of the Greco-Roman Imagination
The talk will explore the most prominent sea monster of the Greco-Roman world, the kētos (pl. kētē), a creature whose precise nature has been obscured in translations and analyses of ancient texts. This has been due to the instability of the monster’s image in antiquity, with it never being fixed as those of other classical monsters. Dr. Denson will demonstrate that these creatures were alternatingly imagined as a blend of three primary aspects (piscine, draconic and canine), while also briefly highlighting varied instances in which these creatures appear in ancient thought. He will conclude by discussing the importance of this monster in giving insight into ancient zoological thought and cultural perceptions of the marine environment.