Patrice Lumumba In the history of European cultures, the comparison of humans to apes and monkeys was disparaging from its very beginning.When Plato — by quoting Heraclitus — declared apes ugly in relation to humans and men apish in relation to gods, this was cold comfort for the apes. It transcendentally disconnected them from their human co-primates. The Fathers of the Church went one step further: Saint Gregory of Nazianzus and Saint Isidore of Seville compared pagans to monkeys.In the Middle Ages, Christian discourse recognised simians as devilish figures and representatives of lustful and sinful behaviour. As women were subject to an analogous defamation, things proceeded as one would expect. In the 11th century, Cardinal Peter Damian gave an account of a monkey that was the lover of a countess from Liguria. The jealous simian killed her husband and fathered her child.Hotbed of monstersSeveral centuries later in 1633, John Donne in his Metempsychosis even let one of Adam’s daug...

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