City of Dog

Change log
Ottewill-Soulsby, Sam  ORCID logo

To be fully human in the Greco-Roman world was to be a member of a city. This is unsurprising as cities were the building blocks of Greek and Roman culture and society. The urban landscape of post-Roman Western Europe looked dramatically different, with smaller, less economically diverse cities which played a smaller role in administration. Despite this, Greco-Roman ideas of humans as city-beings remained influential. This article explores this by investigating early medieval descriptions of cynocephali, which sought to determine whether the dog-headed men were human or not. Accounts of the cynocephali that presented them as human showed them living in urban settlements, whereas in reports of non-human cynocephali there are no cities. In exploring interactions between cynocephali and urban settings through ethnographic portrayals and hagiography, this article traces the lingering importance of the city for concepts of humanity.

Original Research Articles, St. Christopher, cynocephali, polis, monster, Ratramnus
Journal Title
Journal of Urban History
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
SAGE Publications
H2020 European Research Council (693418)