17. Zoology

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Title

A Companion to Science, Technology, and Medicine in Ancient Greece and Rome

First Page


Last Page





Early discussion of the nature and generation of animals can be found in contexts that range from medicine to grand cosmological projects. With Aristotle, the study of animals becomes a well-defined scientific domain with a specific set of goals, concepts and methods. Some of his biological works are concerned principally with organizing facts, for example the telling differences between the instrumental parts of distinct kinds of animals or between their ways of life or types of reproduction; other writings are intended to offer causal explanations for distinctive characteristics. Most post-Aristotelian works do not present the same sustained empirical approach, let alone philosophical depth and methodological complexity, but some of them – whether quasi-encyclopediac or chiefly philosophical – still contribute in various ways to advances in the study of animals.


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