This chapter focuses on one of the fables collected and revised by the Roman grammarian Hyginus (d. AD 17) that proved to be particularly relevant among later poets and philosophers. The brief tale relates how Cura—a personification of “care,” “concern,” “anxiety,” or “trouble”—formed the first human being. Although many of the narrative's details may be found in other mythic anthropogonies from a variety of cultures and traditions, Hyginus's account is the only extant version that ascribes the creative role to an allegory of Care. The fable begins with creation ends with the designation of a name, with the determination of a species. The first phase concerns being, the second involves language. With this combination of ontology and semantics or nature and convention, we obtain not only an etiological explanation for one question (Why is the word for “human being” homo in Latin?) but also a philosophical anthropology that folds one question (What is mankind?) into another (What is mankind called?).
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