Royal Beasts Return to the Tower of London


Of peculiar historical interest:

A Menagerie of strange Royal Beasts returns for Tower of London installation and exhibition | Culture24:

"There were many attacks on humans. In 1696 a lady living with the keeper of the lions, Mary Jenkinson, stroked the largest one and died after losing her arm whilst being mauled."

7 comments:

  1. The article says that the whole wild animal trading between kings dates back to the medieval ages, but its much older than that- Ancient Egyptians did it already over 3000 years ago. Ramses II had a private zoo with giraffes, bears and even peacocks in it.

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  2. Interesting. Which nations would they have been trading with?

    We could probably count the Romans as another pre-medieval example. I believe the Roman emperors at times required exotic animals for the coliseum as part of their tribute from conquered nations.

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  3. The Egyptians traded (and often, received tribute from) nations in both Africa and the middle east. Unlike the Roman they didn´t organize animal fights (although they sometimes used lions in warfare, releasing them in the battlefield to cause panic and chaos among enemy horses and infantry). They were also known to declaw some animals to make them less dangerous.

    Also, Ptolemy II had a private zoo in Alexandria, and it is said that he housed a "white bear" there, which many say was the first polar bear in captivity- but I suspect the white bear was most likely a Syrian brown bear, which have lighter coats than other subspecies and would be much easier to get as it was once widespread in those regions...

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  4. Makes sense. I live not too far from White Bear Lake, Minnesota, which is apparently named for a grizzly, rather than a polar bear.

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  5. (Oh, and for those who have been reading poetry with me of late: Ramses II is also called Ozymandias. "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.")

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  6. That's right :D That's what the Greek called him. I have read tons about Ramses II since I was a kid; I'm surprised no one has thought of making a movie about his life (or, his early life at least, up to the Battle of Kadesh, since his entire life would probably be too long).

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