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Maciamo
25-12-05, 13:35
The Internet is a wonderful tool. It allows us to communicate, share information and learn whatever we want. Well, nearly everything... There are still things one cannot find on the Web, even in encyclopedias.

I suppose that everyone has unanswered questions that passes through their mind one day or another. Personally, there has so many things I wonder about that I am looking up stuff almost everyday.

I made this thread so that we could answer each others' unanswered questions.

My first question (pretty trivial you will notice) is : when did lions, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, antelopes, gazelles and ostriches disappear from the Middle-East and North Africa ? All these animals were used in colloseum games by Ancient Romans, but none are found north of the Sahara nowadays.

I have found this (http://www.nerone.cc/newslett/colosseo.htm), showing that these wild animals were probably found in the Mediterranean area at least until the 6th century.


Venationes, (games involving both domestic and wild animals) continued until c.523 AD. Countless numbers of animals lost their lives in the Colosseum. For the inaugural games about 5,000 beasts were slaughtered over 100 days. In order to celebrate his triumph over the Dacians, the emperor Trajan organized games involving 10,000 gladiators and 11,000 wild animals. Such numbers give an idea of organization required to hold these events. The wild beasts (horses, crocodiles, bears, lions, tigers, elephants, rhinos, hippos, ostriches, bulls, hyenas, gazelles, camels, giraffes) were imported from north Africa and Asia minor. Over the centuries, the number of animals slaughtered to entertain the mob is said to have almost exterminated certain species from the Roman world. It is claimed that the elephant disappeared from North Africa, the hippopotamus became extinct in Nubia and the lion in Mesopotamia.

Another site (http://www.felidtag.org/pages/Educational%5CFactSheets%5CLion.htm) explains that there were lions in Turkey until the late 1800's, in Iraq until 1918, in Morocco until 1920, in Iran until 1942. They still live in the state of Gujarat in India. Elephants and rhinos also survive in India, but not in the Middle East and North Africa.

I couldn't find any information about th other animals. Anybody knows ?

Sensuikan San
29-12-05, 05:45
Excellent thread starter and a good first question.

I'm having little more luck than Maciamo as I write, but also pose another question we should perhaps pursue, and which may also partially respond to his original query; to wit:

"Just how far South into Africa did the Romans venture?"

Surely this has to be taken into account? Just as one can venture the suspicion that, once the news got around that the Romans were offering "big bucks" for these animals, a dumper load of North Africans got on to the phone to their buddies in Congo, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda ... you name it, and ask, "Can you get me half a dozen Wildebeeste up here by Saturday, Harry ...?"

Just a thought.

W

Maciamo
29-12-05, 11:58
I read that some explorers went as far as Zanzibar (Tanzania), but the Romans mostly restricted their activities to what is north of the Sahara, going as far down as Ethiopia along the Nile.

petercheck1
05-09-11, 11:05
I'm having little more luck than Maciamo as I write, but also pose another question we should perhaps pursue, and which may also partially respond to his original query; to wit:

toyomotor
21-11-13, 04:53
Excellent thread starter and a good first question.

I'm having little more luck than Maciamo as I write, but also pose another question we should perhaps pursue, and which may also partially respond to his original query; to wit:

"Just how far South into Africa did the Romans venture?"

Surely this has to be taken into account? Just as one can venture the suspicion that, once the news got around that the Romans were offering "big bucks" for these animals, a dumper load of North Africans got on to the phone to their buddies in Congo, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda ... you name it, and ask, "Can you get me half a dozen Wildebeeste up here by Saturday, Harry ...?"

Just a thought.

�W����

That's an interesting question. If they went as far as Ethiopia and Tanzania, why not press on further down the east coast, avoiding the desert region? How much different modern Africa may have been had they done so! If anyone knows the reason, I'd love to know.