I’ve been working on that for the last month or so with the help of my wonderful intern. And I think there might just be an awesome book there. Almost every single one of those sources in the article comes from books in my library or articles I tracked down.
I’m not sure it’s even possible to comprehend the spectacle that is 260 fighting lions, or a dying elephant flinging legionaries into the air like rag dolls and watching their shields fall in perfect symmetry. Or, what it would feel like to repel into Harlem apartment and find yourself face to face with a 400 pound Bengal tiger and an alligator the size of a 4th grader. My little puppy regularly shocks me with her cuteness and creativity, so I can only begin to imagine a private white elephants, baby tigers and okapis. We talk about violent breeds of dogs, but just a century and a half ago, kings had lions as house pets. The Romans, despite their violence, seem to have understood this much better than us. There is something there that is very surreal, deeply biological and awe-inspiring that has never quite been captured in text aside from rare glimpses and passages.
If it’s something that interests you, it’s there for you to edit or add to. It still has a long way to go but hopefully it sticks around. And if you get a chance, read Pliny’s Natural History – it’s stunning.