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curiosissimus

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Ave,

 

on several websites self-styled experts claim that, according to Roman sources, fights between lions and tigers in Roman amphitheaters most frequently - or even invariably - ended up with the victory of the latter. However, none of these "experts" gives any reference to literary sources attesting such supremacy.

 

Could you help me to find some reliable Roman sources containing detailed accounts, or even records, of the outcomes of these bloody fights between beasts?

 

Pro auxilio gratias ago vobis!

 

Valete

Edited by curiosissimus

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I'm curious, too, to hear of any primary sources describing staged fights between lions and tigers in Roman amphitheaters. The biggest problem in staging such fights, I should imagine, would be in actually getting the lions and tigers to cooperate by fighting with each other.

 

Pliny mentions, in his Historia Naturalis, who first introduced the combat of lions at Rome. The following is the Bostick and Riley translation, and can be found at the old Perseus Project website here:

 

Q. Sc

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I'm curious, too, to hear of any primary sources describing staged fights between lions and tigers in Roman amphitheaters. The biggest problem in staging such fights, I should imagine, would be in actually getting the lions and tigers to cooperate by fighting with each other.

 

Pliny mentions, in his Historia Naturalis, who first introduced the combat of lions at Rome. The following is the Bostick and Riley translation, and can be found at the old Perseus Project website here:

 

Q. Sc
Edited by curiosissimus

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For instance, the fact of specifying that some lions were "with mane" and others "without" is quite interesting, and in my opinion doesn't only refer to the different gender of those big cats (because of sexual dimorphism, lionesses are maneless, and such an obvious detail was of course to be known to a naturalist like Pliny): .., Pliny is most likely to refer to the fact that, in order to ensure a... level playing field (a mane represents a clear advantage, both in psycological terms - making the beast appear much bigger - that for protection purposes), some lions were shaved (this practise seems, helas, to be still in use today in the tiger vs lion combats staged illegally).
Usus autem sum, ne in aliquo fallam carissimam mihi familiaritatem tuam, praecipue libris ex bibliotheca Ulpia, aetate mea thermis Diocletianis, et item ex domo Tiberiana, usus etiam [ex] regestis scribarum porticus porphyreticae, actis etiam senatus ac populi. 2 et quoniam me ad colligenda talis viri gesta ephemeris Turduli Gallicani plurimum invit, viri honestissimi ac sincerissimi, beneficium amici senis tacere non debui. 3 Cn. Pompeium, tribus fulgentem triumphis belli piratici, belli Sertoriani, belli Mithridatici multarumque rerum gestarum maiestate sublimem, quis tandem nosset, nisi eum Marcus Tullius et Titus Livius in litteras rettulissent? 4 Publ<i>um Scipionem Afric<an>um, immo Scipiones omnes, seu Lucios seu Nasicas, nonne tenebrae possiderent ac tegerent, nisi commendatores eorum historici nobiles atque ignobiles extitissent? 5 longum est omnia persequi, quae ad exemplum huiusce modi etiam nobis tacentibus usurpanda sunt. 6 illud tantum contestatum volo me et rem scripsisse, quam, si quis voluerit, honestius eloquio celsiore demonstret, et mihi quidem id animi fuit, 6 <ut> non Sallustios, Livios, Tacito<s>, Trogos atque omnes disertissimos imitarer viros in vita principum et temporibus disserendis, sed Marium Maximum, Suetonium Tranquillum, Fabium Marcellinum, Gargilium Martialem, Iulium Capitolinum, Aelium Lampridium ceterosque, qui haec et talia non tam diserte quam vere memoriae tradiderunt. 8 sum enim unus ex curiosis, quod infi[ni]t<i>as ire non possum, ince<n>dentibus vobis, qui, cum multa sciatis, scire multo plura cupitis. 9 et ne diutius ea, quae ad meum consilium pertinent, loquar, magnum et praeclarum principem et qualem historia nostra non novit, arripiam. Edited by sylla

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Hello Sylla,

 

I guess that, when you last edited your post, you must have replaced by mistake its original text with a quotation taken from the Augustan History. Could you please let me know where I can retrieve your previous post? It was a very interesting reply!

 

Vale atque vale

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You will not receive a reply from Sylla on this forum. He apparently managed to annoy the forum moderators once too often and got his membership revoked, although not before he edited that particular bit of irrelevant text over a large number of his postings.

 

The result of his actions is that he is now listed as 'damnatio'.

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... whereas tigers were, broadly speaking, more or less living in the same areas as today, all of which lying outside of the territory of Roman empire. No wonder, then, that the latter animals were a much more "exotic" (much more difficult - and thus costly - to capture and import) attraction to Roman audiences.

 

In roman times the Siberian tiger had a much larger habitat including a western population named Caspian tigers. It is highly probable that tigers lived in areas of roman influence like Lazica (tigers are often present in Georgian legends) and Armenia and even in the provinces of Anatolia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caspian_Tiger

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Thank you, Cosmo! I guess that the issue of the respective habitats of lions and tigers in Roman times might only be solved (like many others) by an expert, but in my opinion lions (living even in parts of Europe and North Africa which came under earlier Roman rule) had long been more easily available than tigers for Romans to capture, even if of course the latter beasts were far from unknown to them.

 

If I remember correctly, the now banned Sylla had posted a contribution regarding the (apparently) only explicit reference to an actual fight between a lion and a tiger (reportedly won by the latter) which may be found in a Roman literary source. The passage quoted by Sylla also contained some interesting allusions to the ...nefast influence exerted on that victorious tiger by its captivity in Roman hands (implying that even wild beasts became more ferocious because of their acquired familiarity with corrupted humans, who were in fact far more ruthless and dangerous than them), which leads me to think that that passage must have been written by one of the many authors (Romans liked to pose as moralists) dealing with the corruption and decadence of Roman Empire compared to the mythologized, supposedly virtuous age of Roman Republic...

 

Furthermore, I can remember than Sylla correctly pointed out to the fact that occurrences of genetically maneless (male) lions were not so rare, bringing the example of the famous Tsavo lions (but here reference was made to modern and easily available sources, starting from John H. Patterson's account of those two maneaters which made this leonine variety sadly famous).

 

It would be interesting to retrieve that passage regarding the tiger "corrupted" by its long captivity and thus made more ferocious than its newly captured opponent... Does anyone have a clue where I could find it?

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There must be some modern beast fights between either lions or tigers. I searched video search on Yahoo but I couldn't find any though.

 

Perhaps it would be worthwhile to read up on dog fighting Do they starve them, or perhaps just beat them to get them sufficiently enraged and aggressive? Some people in my former Highschool (east St.Louis district 189) did dog fights, and to my understanding starvation and beating were the methods to train them. Not sure though as I tried to avoid those people.

Edited by Brucecarson

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Training animals to fight wasn't always succesful. Titus was embarrased during the inaugral games because the terrified lions released into the arena slunk back into the exits. He had the trainer executed.

 

Bestiarii were employed not only as animals fighters but also as wardens to keep animals in the fray, prodding them on with spears. Yes, animals were routinely starved as a motivation but I did read somewhere that carnivorous beasts were introduced to human flesh to give them a taste for it! That raises all sorts of gruesome questions but I haven't seen any real evidence for that practice.

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