From the dawn of civilization, scorpions have captured the human imagination. Yet the scorpion is a misunderstood animal with a bad reputation that overshadows its many exceptional qualities. Older than dinosaurs, these small arthropods have survived for hundreds of millions of years with very few changes to their form, populating every continent – with the exception of Antarctica. Although humans and scorpions have coexisted for thousands of years, the image of the scorpion retains a sense of danger and mystery. This book explores the diverse cultural symbolism of scorpions, from prehistoric times until today.
‘The book is packed with fascinating facts, figures and stories elucidating our long relationship with these amazing arachnids . . . While the sting is doubtlessly the dominant characteristic in the human cultural definition of “what is a scorpion?”, Louise Pryke shows that, despite their capacity to kill, our framing of the scorpion has never been simple . . . The book is amply illustrated with good quality photos of scorpions and related art.’ – Atropos
‘Erudite and jargon-free, Louise M. Pryke’s book is a genuine page-turner that ranges from biology to history, from myth to culture, from astrology to science. You may be tempted to look under your bed as you read it. But worry not. Britain is scorpion free – for now.’ – Morning Star
‘Scorpions in today’s video games, tattoo art, and films carry a long history of human interpretation and re-interpretation. Rather than focusing on their natural history, this book discusses their human history
. . . The scorpion’s nature unites these themes and provides meaning for all.’ – Choice
Louise M. Pryke is a Research Associate at the University of Sydney.