The Romans used it to crucify dogs

ONEArchaeologists in Italy have excavation a 2,000-year-old dog head statue underneath a busy street in Rome. The terracotta figurine was found during excavations of the scenic complex on the ancient Via Latina in the city’s Appio Latino district. Since dogs were first domesticated in the Paleolithic, humans and canines have lived together, but this does not mean that every culture idealizes this relationship. For example, when they did not make terracotta dog statues, the Romans are sometimes known to have nailed them to the cross.

For the Romans, dogs fell into one of two camps: domesticated maids and scavengers outside. In his Georgia poet Virgil advised estate owners to choose their companions based on one of two qualities: their ability to protect the estate and its four-legged inhabitants from wild animals, and their ability to aid in hunting. . In other words, there are hunting dogs and sheepdogs, just like the uncivilized farmlands, countryside, and woods. The poet Grattius identified the Umbrian dog for its loyalty and sense of smell, but noted that you wouldn’t want it to join a fight. And as a group of dogs there is a sort of nominal status: they can be savage wild beasts with predatory urges or tame loyal insiders. They capture the uncertainty we encounter in other people: they can be friends or enemies.

Dogs are known for presenting other challenges to their owners. If they are too hungry, they may attack you or your pack. Agricultural writer Columella seems to know about rabies or canine mania, he feeds your dogs a mixture of bread and beans. However, in both cities and country villas, the house is guarded by chained guard dogs, which are located in the skylights. Excavations at House of Vesonius in Pompeii reveals an unfortunate animal still chained to a doorpost. Dogs can also serve a religious purpose: The three-headed Hellhound Cerberus prevented the dead from leaving the underworld.

However, if the dogs fail to do their job, they can drown in hot water. In a famous story relayed by Pliny the Elder in Natural history, they failed to stop a Gauls attack in 390 BC. The putative invaders tried to escape the notice of the guards and supervisors but were discovered by the sacred goose that had Juno’s eyes. The geese stirred the inhabitants and the city was saved. In memory of this, dogs are crucified once a year near the Maximus circus as a reminder and punishment for betrayal. Meanwhile, geese are carried in litters adorned with royal purple and gold cushions. Like other animals, dogs are frequently caught up in the sacrificial mechanism of ancient religious practices: they may have found themselves on the proverbial knife block at Lupercalia celebrations (celebrations of sex for the opposite sex). with the survival of Romulus and Remus on 15 February); at Robigalia (a festival to appease a grumpy goddess who can spoil crops); offerings to the underworld god Genita Mana; and in agricultural festivals.

Of course, there are some people who love dogs. After all, they are adorable. Epicurean philosopher Lucretius seems to be a fan and provides a vivid tale of dogs convulsing their bodies when they dream of hunting in their sleep. Alexander the Great, who was gifted with no less than 150 dogs, loved one person – Peritas – so much that he named the city after that person when he died. A hunting dog, Peritas fought with Alexander in war, is said to have defeated lions, and may even have brought down an elephant. However, he can be special, as he was rumor Tiger’s blood flows in the veins.

The basic surroundings for dogs that we find in Roman sources are reflected by their neighbors in the ancient Near East. Ancient Egyptian Pyramid texts describe a royal guard dog anointed with perfume, wrapped in linen, ceremonially buried in a coffin paid for from the royal purse, and rests in a custom built tomb. When the Achaemenid king Cambyses II conquered Pelusium in Egypt in 525 BC, he seemed to put dogs, cats, sheep and other sacred animals in their ranks so that the Egyptians stop fighting. It worked so well that he conquered the city.

Just as in Rome, dogs were particularly associated with loyalty, thus leading to comparisons between canines, servants and those enslaved. Just as Philip Pullman writes that servants always have dogs in their house The golden compass as a means of emphasizing their privileged nature, the very ancient diplomats and vassal kings of the East one-sidedly depicted them as slaves and dogs of powerful kings and pharaohs. than.

Many stories imply that dogs are of the lowest rank, perhaps because of the disgust they create in humans. Dr Idan Breier of Bar Ilan College, referring to a Sumerian proverb, Note that “a dog licks its shriveled penis with its tongue,” to be fair, the same is true of cats (or at least my cats). The book of Proverbs in the Bible says that fools act like dogs that turn themselves to vomit (26:11). Rabbinic sources agree and stress that the animal doesn’t seem embarrassed when it repeats its mistakes. Aristotle took a slightly more aggressive approach to the eat-them-vomit phenomenon, generously claiming that they deliberately force themselves to vomit in order to eat and heal themselves (Animal history 4.8.5).

The stereotype that dogs are shameless and even loathsome has contributed to the name of one of history’s most prominent philosophical schools: the Skeptic. The word itself is of Greek origin kunikos or dog breed. While some think the Cynics are named after the Cynosarges gymnasium in Athens, where their founder taught, others disagree. One commentator later commented that they were named “breed dogs” because of their shameful disregard for manners and their shameful willingness to defecate and have sex in public. Our definition of what counts as “cynical behavior” has certainly come a long way.

However, shamelessness is hardly the biggest problem people have with dog behavior. It’s gangrene or scavenging that gives one pause. While today people worry that they will die alone from being eaten by cats, in ancient times dogs were known for hunting unburied corpses. The Biblical Queen Jezebel met her end when she was pushed out of a window and her body devoured by dogs over a period of several hours (2 Kings 9:35-37). A character from the apocryphal story of Acts Andreyca hope that the dogs would eat Andrew alive when he was hung on his cross. In such a context, feral dogs were scavengers who ate the corpses of convicts.

While they may seem firmly established as “man’s best friend,” people don’t always see our canine companions in such simple terms. As Fabio Tutrone was written, dogs are “suspended between nature and culture – a situation that arises primarily from their profound, but never complete, integration into the human social order.” For every Lassie, there is a Cujo, and that teacup poodle still carries the spirit of a wolf buried somewhere deep within. The Romans used it to crucify dogs


ClareFora is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. ClareFora joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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