Book Series Semitica et Classica: Supplementa, vol. 2

Flesh and Bones

The Individual and His Body in the Ancient Mediterranean Basin

Alice Mouton (ed)

  • Pages: 240 p.
  • Size:216 x 280 mm
  • Illustrations:14 b/w, 25 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2020

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59038-7
  • Paperback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59039-4
  • E-book
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A volume gathering ground-breaking studies on the anthropology of the body in the Ancient Mediterranean Basin


"A strength of this book is the collection of fairly specialised essays on the body in the ancient world. For those whose research interests fall under this category, there is a wealth of information about specific vocabulary, texts, and ritual practices that involve the body. This naturally intersects with studies on social perceptions, societal roles, and religious experiences and the body and the essays here make a valuable contribution in shedding light on these areas. The contributors of this volume have presented their ongoing research and at the same time show where further studies would be beneficial. This book is situated well amongst other works which examine various aspects of body in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean. As this continues to be a growing area in scholarship, this edited volume is a welcomed contribution." (Julianne Burnett, in Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2021.09.23)


Alice Mouton is a CNRS scholar (Directeur de Recherche) in Paris (UMR 8167 “Orient & Méditerranée”). She teaches Hittite language at the Catholic University of Paris and at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes. Her research is focused on Hittite religious practices and beliefs and on religious anthropology applied to Hittite Anatolia.


This volume gathers the papers presented during an interdisciplinary research seminar entitled “The individual and his body in the Ancient Mediterranean Basin.” This seminar was at the crossroads of history of religions and social anthropology, creating a dialogue between philologists, archaeologists, historians of religions and anthropologists. Its main aim consisted in studying self-perceptions of the body in the Ancient Near East, with incursions in other parts of the Mediterranean Basin in a comparatist perspective. In this volume, various themes are examined, such as: 1) the relationship between the body and language; 2) the body, perceptions and society, including a study of the senses as they are described in the texts; 3) the body as a symbol of social belonging; 4) the body as a medium for religious experience.


List of contributors

Introduction (Alice Mouton)

The human face and its relations to identity in Ancient Egypt: an overview (Youri Volokhine)
The postures of the king’s body in Ancient Egyptian iconography (Julie Masquelier-Loorius)
Bodily fluids in Ancient Egypt: vital waters but dangerous flows. Concerning an ongoing research project (Clémentine Audouit)
Tattooed women from Nubia and Egypt: a reappraisal (Luc Renaut)
Beyond the five senses: human senses according to Akkadian cuneiform texts (2nd-1st millennium BCE) (Anne-Caroline Rendu Loisel)
Concepts of the human body in the Hittite medical prescriptions (CTH 461): the diseased body (Valeria Zubieta Lupo)
The involvement of the individual’s body in the ritual process in Hittite Anatolia (Alice Mouton)
The body in Hittite witchcraft (Laura Puértolas Rubio)
The vocabulary of the body parts in Hittite in the perspective of Indo-European comparison (Sylvie Vanséveren)
The divine face in the Book of Isaiah: religious contexts and challenges (Stéphanie Anthonioz)
When purity rules become literature: cultic purity in the text and behind the text of the Hebrew Bible (Johanna Erzberger)
Mutilating the body in Ancient Greece: perception, vocabulary, and practices (Yannick Muller)
How does Graeco-Roman Antiquity fit in the long history of the body and disabilities in the western world? (Christian Laes)