Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Pliny the Elder and Combats of Elephants

Hey everyone, here is a summary of Pliny the Elder's Combats of Elephants.

The Roman military commander, Hannibal, encouraged prisoners to fight each other and last prisoner to survive was forced to battle an elephant. Hannibal promised the prisoner that slays the elephant freedom from imprisonment. Eventually, a prisoner accomplished the task of killing the elephant and was set free. However, Hannibal was not pleased with the outcome and ordered his men to kill the freed prisoner while the he was traveling back home. In the battles with Pyrrus it was discovered that the trunks of the elephants could be easily severed. Despite this, it was discovered that elephants fought in Rome in the Circus for the first time during the curule aedileship of Claudius Pulcher. This was not the only instance of elephants fighting, during the second consulshop of Pompeius at the dedication of the temple of Venus Victrix, about twenty elephants fought in the Circus against a multitude of Gaetulians under the threat of javelins. The elephants were a worthy opponent and fought endlessly enduring the massive injuries they accumulated such as being pierced in the feet. An elephant was killed in a single blow by a weapon piercing the animal below the eye and injuring a vital part of the head. In the midst of this, the elephants tried to break down the enclosure but failed to. They expressed extreme grief and this brought about compassion from the audience turning them against Pompeius, who eventually became the victim. The elephants also fought in the third consulship of Dictator Caesar. Twenty elephants were outnumbered against five hundred foot soldiers. In another instance, twenty elephants each defended by sixty men were opposed to the same amount of foot soldiers and an equal amount of horseman. The last exploit performed by gladiators were singlehandedly fighting against Emporers Claudius and Nero. 
The elephant typically displays a merciful and empathetic disposition to animals much smaller than it. The elephant will misbehave only when provoked and is a highly sociable animal that likes to be in herds. The elephant can be quickly tamed in isolation by being fed properly and treated kindly.

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