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Raven adored by Romans

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Already in antiquity it was realized that ravens can imitate human speech

Pliny the Elder in his work “Natural History” tells us an interesting story about a raven that was held in high esteem by the Romans. The bird lived during the reign of Emperor Tiberius; as a chick, it fell out of the nest, which was located on the temple of Castor and Pollux, and fell on the local shoemaker’s workshop.

The owner of the workshop took care of the animal, which quickly assimilated human speech and overtime began, in the morning at the Forum Romanum, to greet Emperor Tiberius, Claudius Germanicus (grandson of Tiberius) and Drusus the Younger (son of Tiberius) and the Roman people by name. The bird was admired by the Romans, and the animal regularly appeared on the podium for many years.

Once, however, in 35 CE, a neighbour of the owner of a raven, presumably jealous of the bird, killed the animal. The inhabitants of the district, upon learning of the tragic event, drove the man out, and then killed him. Raven, in turn, received an impressive funeral, worthy of the greatest of the Romans.

  • Pliny the Elder, Natural history, X.60.121-124

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