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Ancient Crocodile Hunters

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...fascinating article,

The Augustan-era geographer Strabo also mentioned these tamers of the crocodile: "When crocodiles were brought to Rome to be exhibited, they were attended by some of the Tentyritæ. A reservoir was made for them with a sort of stage on one of the sides, to form a basking-place for them on coming out of the water, and these persons went into the water, drew them in a net to the place, where they might sun themselves and be exhibited, and then dragged them back again to the reservoir." Possible depictions of these men are often seen in the popular Nilotic scenes from the late Republic and early empire, the most famous of which is called the Palestrina mosaic, from a city just to the East of Rome. 

via Forbes

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I seem to recall that a display of crocodiles in the arena failed because the animals died before the show. In the reign of Augustus? I will have to read again.

Edited by caldrail

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5 hours ago, caldrail said:

I seem to recall that a display of crocodiles in the arena failed because the animals died before the show. In the reign of Augustus? I will have to read again.

I think I've read something about such a disappointment in an ancient author, but I'm far from sure it was the crocodiles who died.  

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On 4/18/2018 at 3:16 PM, caldrail said:

I seem to recall that a display of crocodiles in the arena failed because the animals died before the show. In the reign of Augustus? I will have to read again.

I think I've found it, it must've been Symmachus. From Peter Heather's Fall of the Roman Empire, p. 21:

Quote

Our last glimpse of Symmachus the circus master is a fairly desperate one. There had been delays, the letters tell us, and since the only surviving crocodiles were refusing to eat, he was anxiously urging that the games be staged before the poor animals expired from starvation.

 

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