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In ancient Greek and Roman thinking the world has imaginary boundaries and liminal areas where the norms of nature and culture are thought to break down. Analogies are constantly drawn between ‘primitive’ peoples at the ‘edges of the world’ and ‘primitive’ people in prehistory. Distance, both in time and space, leads to difference, and the idea that strange things happen out there or happened back then is prominent in Greek and Roman thinking on other cultures. This module examines ancient ideas of the creation of the world, the beginnings of life and origin of species, humans and animals, utopias and blessed islands, and ‘barbarian’ cultures beyond the Mediterranean world, before going on to critically examine three anthropological texts: Lucretius’ account of prehistory, Tacitus’ description of the ancient Germans in his Germania, and Jean De Léry’s 16th-century account of the Tupinamba of Brazil.