The Egyptians worshipped them, the Romans dressed them in fitted coats, the Christians made the shepherd synonymous with their divine saviour. In Sheep, Philip Armstrong traces the natural and cultural history of both the wild and domestic species of Ovis: from the Old World mouflon to the corkscrew-horned flocks of the Egyptians, to the 'Trojan sheep' of Homer's Odyssey, to the vast migratory mobs of Spanish merinos – all the way to Dolly the cloned ewe and the sheep-human hybrids of Haruki Murakami. Above all else, Sheep demonstrates that sometimes the most mundane animals turn out to be the most surprising.
Philip Armstrong is an Associate Professor of English at Canterbury University, New Zealand, and the Co-Director of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies. His books include What Animals Mean (2008).