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Heinz-Jürgen Beste

The construction of the Flavian Amphitheatre was financed by the Emperor Vespasian in 71–72 ce with the riches from the conquest of Jerusalem and carried out by his son Titus, who inaugurated the building in 80 ce. Domitian (81–96) completed the amphitheatre district, which extended from the Velian Hill to the present Basilica of San Clemente, and included the four barracks (ludi), the infirmary (samiarium), the weapons store (armamentarium), the mortuary (spoliarium), and the barracks of the sailors of the fleet of Misenum (Castra Misenatium) whose task it was to oper­ate the velum, the awning that shaded the spectators from the sun. The building became known as the Colosseum from a colossal statue that stood near it. The amphitheatre was in use as such until 523 ce, when it is recorded that it was the scene of the last animal hunt, organized by Anicius Maximus at the beginning of his consulate.


animals, knowledge about  

Pietro Li Causi

The Graeco-Roman zoological discourse comprises various development stages and various methods of observation and research. Traces of popular knowledge on animals are already present in the archaic literature, and several references to animals are found in the excursuses of the ancient ἱστορίαι. Aristotle organizes an autonomous body of philosophical theories on animals, the diffusion of which, among his contemporaries, is confined to the Peripatetic school. Subsequently, Theophrastus and the Hellenistic philosophers increasingly shift the focus of inquiry towards the behaviours and mental capacities of animals. That choice reinforces in turn the interest in marvels and singularities in both paradoxography and Roman natural history.Whereas the notions of “animality” and “humanity” tend to be polarized in almost all modern cultures, this was not the case in Graeco-Roman thought. Alcmaeon of Croton (24 A 5 DK) was the first to fix the border between humans qua rational and non-rational animals. Later on, several major philosophers, including .



Michael MacKinnon

Zooarchaeology/archaeozoology focuses on the investigation of animals in the past through analysis of recovered faunal remains, largely teeth and bones, from archaeological sites. As such zooarchaeological analyses can disclose much about the animals themselves, the environmental and ecological parameters in which they existed, as well as the cultures that kept, herded, controlled, hunted, manipulated, killed, ate, valued, symbolized, treated, and exploited them. The historical development of zooarchaeological study within classical archaeology showcases its expansion from earlier studies (in the 1970s and 1980s) that concentrated on reconstructing the core economic and ecological roles of animals in antiquity to its current state, which emphasizes more diversified, multidimensional investigations of animals across all spectra and components of ancient life. Key topics of interest in the discipline include ancient husbandry operations; the interaction between animals and ecological settings; the input of meat and other animal foodstuffs in ancient diets; the exploitation of non-consumable animal products, such as bones, hides, and wool in antiquity; breeding regimes and their effects on animals during Greek and Roman times; and the roles and characteristics of work, pet, and sacrificial animals in the past.



Steven D. Smith

Aelian (Claudius Aelianus, 161/77–230/8 CE), an influential writer of miscellaneous works in Rome during the reign of the Severan emperors, helped shape the literary landscape of the so-called Second Sophistic. There are two sources for his life, one a contemporary notice by Philostratus in his Lives of the Sophists, and the other a brief entry in the 10th-centurySuda lexicon. According to the former, Aelian ‘was a Roman, but he spoke and wrote Attic Greek’ (VS 624). A student of the sophist Pausanias of Caesarea and an admirer of Herodes Atticus, Aelian himself declined to declaim in public and instead committed himself to writing and composition. He died without any children, and he claimed never to have travelled outside of Italy. The Suda supplies additional information: Aelian was born in Praeneste (modern Palestrina) near Rome and he was a high priest (ἀρχιερεύς), though the Byzantine source is silent about what god Aelian served.



Maria Michela Sassi

Physiognomy, the art of observing and making inferences from physical features of the body, was practised from c. 1500 bce (when it is mentioned in Mesopotamian handbooks on divination). A focus on personal character (and a reflection on the relation between physical and psychical facts) seems to be a Greek innovation. Aristotle attempted to give an inductive basis to assertions of the interdependence of body and soul (in An. pr. 2.27); the Historia animalium provided empirical evidence that corroborated early ideas about moral types among animals. The first extant treatise on the subject, the Physiognomonica (a Peripatetic work of c. 300 bce long attributed to Aristotle), established a few criteria of comparison with animal, racial, and gender types, as well as with the expressions of emotions. This treatise is the forerunner of a tradition embracing Polemon of Laodicea in the 2nd century ce, an anonymous Latin treatise (Anonymus Latinus) in the 4th, as well as medieval, Renaissance, and modern writers.