Pigeons drinking water from vessel | Photo: Roman History
Fragment of a Roman mosaic showing a group of pigeons drinking from a vessel. The object adorned Hadrian’s villa in Tivoli (a city approximately 28 kilometers from Rome) in the years 118-134 CE.
The Romans bred pigeons in huge numbers, setting up lofts on the roofs of their houses. Like today, pigeon meat was eagerly eaten.
In many parts of the Empire, pigeons were used to convey important information. In the 3rd century CE Emperor Diocletian even created the first “airmail”. Much earlier, however, pigeons played an important historical role. In 43 BCE Brutus besieged in Modena by Mark Antony contacted his allies with their help.