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Elephants were seen in Italy, for the first time, in the war with King Pyrrhus,1 in the year of the City 472; they were called "Lucanian oxen," because they were first seen in Lucania.2 Seven years after this period, they appeared at Rome in a triumph.3 In the year 502 a great number of them were brought to Rome, which had been taken by the pontiff Metellus, in his victory gained in Sicily over the Carthaginians;4 they were one hundred and forty-two5 in number, or, as some say, one hundred and forty, and were conveyed to our shores upon rafts, which were constructed on rows of hogsheads joined together. Verrius informs us, that they fought in the Circus, and that they were slain with javelins, for want of some better method of disposing of them; as the people neither liked to keep them nor yet to give them to the kings.6 L. Piso tells us only that they were brought into the Circus; and for the purpose of increasing the feeling of contempt towards them, they were driven all round the area of that place by workmen, who had nothing but spears blunted at the point. The authors who are of opinion that they were not killed, do not, however, inform us how they were afterwards disposed of.

1 In the Epitome of Livy, B. xiii., it is said, that Valerius Corvinus was unsuccessful in his engagements with Pyrrhus, in consequence of the terror produced by the elephants.—B.

2 Varro, De Ling. Lat. B. vi. calls the elephant "Lucas bos," "the Lucanian ox," from the fact of this large quadruped being first seen by the Romans in the Lucanian army.—B.

3 According to Seneca, Manius Curius Dentatus was the first who exhibited elephants in his triumph over Pyrrhus. See also Florus, B. i. c. 18.—B.

4 There are coins extant struck to commemorate this victory, in which there is the figure of an elephant.—B.

5 The number of elephants brought to Rome by Metellus is differently stated; Florus, B. ii., says that they were "about a hundred;" in the Epitome of Livy, B. xix., they are one hundred and twenty, and the same number is mentioned by Seneca.—B.

6 Who were their allies, or rather vassals; for in such case, they might make a dangerous use of them.

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