The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

VENATIO.

first exhibited, according to Dion. Cassius (li. 22), but the hippopotamos is spoken of by Plimr, as mentioned above^ in the games given by Scaurus. Augustus also exhibited a snake 50 cubits in length (Suet. Aug. 43), and thirty-six crocodiles, which are seldom mentioned in the spectacles of later times. (Dion Cass. Iv. 10.)

The occasions on which Venationes were ex­hibited have been incidentally mentioned above.

«j

They seem to have been first confined to the Ludi Circenses, but during the later times of the re­public, and under the empire, they were frequently exhibited on the celebration of triumphs, and on many other occasions, with the view of pleasing the people. The passion for these shows continued to increase under the empire, and the number of beasts sometimes slaughtered seems almost incre­dible. At the consecration of the great amphitheatre of Titus, 5000 wild beasts and 4000 tame animals were killed (Suet. Tit. 7 ; Dion Cass. Ivi. 25), and in the games celebrated by Trajan, after his victories over the Dacians, there are said to have been as many as 11,000 animals slaughtered. (Dion Cass. Ixviii. 15.) Under the emperors we read of a particular kind of Venatio, in which the beasts were not killed by bestmrii, but were given up to the people, who were allowed to rush into the area of the circus and carry away what they pleased. On such occasions a number of large trees, which had been torn up by the roots, was planted in the circus, which thus resembled a forest, and none of the more savage animals were admitted into it. A Venatio of this kind was exhibited by the elder Gordian in his aedileship, and a painting of the forest with the animals in it is described by Julius Capitolinus. (Gordian, 3.) On-.1 of the most extraordinary venationes of this kind was that given by Probus, in which there were 1000 ostriches, 1000 stags, 1000 boars* 1000 deer, and numbers of wild goats, wild sheep, and other animals of the same kind. (Vopisc. Prob. 19.) The mote savage animals were slain by the bestiarii in the amphitheatre, and not in the circus. Thus, in the day succeeding the ve-natio of Probus just mentioned, there were slain in the amphitheatre 100 lions, and the same number of lionesses, 100 Libyan and 100 Syrian leopards, and 300 bears. (Vopisc. I.e.) It is un­necessary to multiply examples, as the above are

1187

VENATIO.

sufficient to give an. idea of the numbers and variety of animals at these spectacles ; but the list of beasts which were collected by the younger Gordian for his triumph, and were exhibited by his successor Philip at the Secular Games, de­serve mention on account of their variety and the rarity of some of them. Among these we find mention of 32 elephants, 10 elks, 10 tigers (which seem to have been very seldom exhibited), 60 tame lions, 30 tame leopards, 10 hyaenas, an hip­popotamos and rhinoceros, 10 a':choleontes (it is unknown what they were), 10 camelopards, 20 onagri (wild asses, or perhaps zebras), 40 wild horses, and an immense number of similar animals. (Vopisc. Gordian, 33.)

How long these spectacles continued is ur.cer-tain^ but they were exhibited after the abolition of the shows of gladiators. There is a law of Honorius and Theodosius, providing for the safe convoy of beasts intended for the spectacles, and inflicting a penalty of five pounds of gold upon any one who injured them. (Cod. 11. tit. 44.) They were exhibited at this period at the praetorian games, as we learn from Symmachus. (Epist. ix. 70, 71, 126, &c.) Wild beasts continued to be exhibited in the games at Constantinople as late as the time of Justinian. (Procop. Hist. Arc. c. 9.)

Combats of wild beasts are sometimes repre­sented on the coins of Roman families, as on the annexed coin of M. Livineius Regnlus, which pro­bably refers to the venatio of Julius Caesar men­tioned above.

In the bas-reliefs on the tomb of Scaurus at Pompeii, there are representations of combats with wild beasts, which are copied in the 4bllo\ving woodcuts from ^vlazois (Pomp. i. pi. 32, 33). On the same tomb gladiatorial combats are repre­sented, which are figured on p. 576 of the present work.

The first represents a man naked and unarmed j defenceless state hud of course only their agility to between a lion and a panther. Persons in this | trust to in order to escape from the beasts. In the

second cut we see a similar person against whom a wild boar is rushing, and who appears to be pre­paring for a spring to escape from the animal. In

the same relief there is a wolf running at full speed, and also a stag with a rope tied to his horns who has been pulled down by two wolves or dogs. The

4 g 2

Pages
About | First | English Index | Classified Index | Latin Index | Greek Index

1186

1187

1188
letter/word  
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.