Caesar on the aurochs

By C.J. Caesar, with Gordon Rugg

Here’s Caesar writing about wildlife again. By way of a change, this description isn’t particularly weird – there are no elks without knee joints, and no unicorns. It’s about the aurochs, a now-extinct form of wild ox.

XXVIII.-There is a third kind, consisting of those animals which are called uri. These are a little below the elephant in size, and of the appearance, colour, and shape of a bull. Their strength and speed are extraordinary; they spare neither man nor wild beast which they have espied. These the Germans take with much pains in pits and kill them. The young men harden themselves with this exercise, and practice themselves in this kind of hunting, and those who have slain the greatest number of them, having produced the horns in public, to serve as evidence, receive great praise. But not even when taken very young can they be rendered familiar to men and tamed. The size, shape, and appearance of their horns differ much from the horns of our oxen. These they anxiously seek after, and bind at the tips with silver, and use as cups at their most sumptuous entertainments.

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Weekday funny: Caesar on the unicorn, and Roosevelt on the moose

By Julius Caesar (with Gordon Rugg)

First, the bad news: This is Caesar writing on the subject of the unicorn, rather than Caesar riding on a unicorn.

XXVI.–There is an ox of the shape of a stag, between whose ears a horn rises from the middle of the forehead, higher and straighter than those horns which are known to us. From the top of this, branches, like palms, stretch out a considerable distance. The shape of the female and of the male is the same; the appearance and the size of the horns is the same.

(From De Bello Gallico.)

Quite what he was describing, if anything, is anyone’s guess.

What with that and his stories about elk hunting, you start to wonder how much trust you can put in his accounts of subduing the Gauls…

So that was Caesar on the unicorn. Not quite as exciting as you might have hoped.

By way of consolation, here’s Theodore Roosevelt on the moose. As far as I know, it’s real, not Photoshopped; it presumably relates to his connection with the Bull Moose Party, in American politics.

I hope this image lives up to your wildest expectations, and brightens your day.

roosevelt on moose wo caption


The Caesar quote is from Caesar, C.J. De Bello Gallico. Project Gutenberg; Everyman’s Library version, 1915 edition, translated by W.A. MacDevitt.

I’ve corrected one minor typo in the original.

I’m using the Roosevelt photo under “fair use” terms, since it’s being used here non-commercially, and is a low-resolution copy of an image that has already been widely circulated on the Internet.