Q:

What pets did the Romans have?

A:

Quick Answer

The Romans were known to be great pet enthusiasts, and ancient sources refer to dogs, cats, songbirds, parrots, monkeys, rabbits, turtles and snakes all being kept as pets. Birds were great favorites, particularly among wealthy Romans who are known to have kept swans, herons, ravens, pigeons, ducks and chickens.

Know More

Full Answer

Evidence of Roman pet-keeping is found not only in written accounts but in artistic representations. Roman gravestones often portrayed the departed accompanied by a favorite dog, bird or monkey. Wealthy patrons often posed for portraits with a cherished animal.

The Roman historian Suetonius reported that the emperor Tiberias kept a pet snake. Catullus wrote a famous poem about his lady's grief over the loss of her pet sparrow. Cats, weasels and snakes were probably originally kept as a way of controlling the mouse and rat population, but Romans often became emotionally attached to these animals. In the same way, chickens and ducks originally kept for their eggs often became favored household pets.

Teaching ravens, nightingales and parrots to imitate human speech was so common that the Roman author Apuleius warned against people teaching their pet birds to curse or they would "curse continually." Exotic pets including gazelles, peacocks, bears and even lions were kept as a sign of wealth and status.

Learn more about Ancient Rome

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What jobs did the ancient Romans do?

    A:

    Ancient Romans were employed in various types of jobs, including farming, trade, the army, entertainment, justice, teaching, craftsmanship and government. Only free people had paying jobs; slaves only worked for housing and food.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How did ancient Rome begin?

    A:

    Ancient Rome began in 509 B.C. when the Romans ousted their neighboring Etruscan conquerors and formed a republic, a system of government where citizens elect officials to represent them. Folklore states that two brothers, Romulus and Remus, the sons of Mars the God of war, were left to drown in a basket on the Tigris River but were saved by a she-wolf. The twins then went on to conquer the king in 753 B.C. and founded a new city on the river banks.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What holiday is being celebrated in "Julius Caesar"?

    A:

    In the first act of William Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," the Romans are celebrating the holiday of Lupercalia. This holiday, which was celebrated between February 13th and 15th, took its name from the she-wolf, or "lupa," that raised Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why did the barbarians invade the Roman Empire?

    A:

    The Huns came in and started forcing barbarian tribes west which resulted in some tribes going into the Roman Empire and when the Romans did not provide food for the tribes that immigrated there, they turned to rampaging. Some barbarians had to go elsewhere after having to leave their homes.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore