Animals for Show and Pleasure in Ancient Rome
Deadly combat between gladiators is perhaps the best-known example of public entertainment offered in the Roman world. Wild and domesticated animals were also a part of these extravagant shows, and the elaborate presentation—or sometimes butchery—of creatures to gild an official's magnificence was among the most common forms of public diversion. Pitting bulls against bears, lions against Christians and criminals, elephants against rhinoceroses or parading large numbers of giraffe or zebras, the games devised by the Romans ranged from astonishing to brutally cruel. It is now difficult to comprehend the pleasure that huge crowds took from the death or struggle of
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