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Vox Naturae

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Music as Human-Animal Communication in the Context of Animal Training in Ancient Rome

image of Greek and Roman Musical Studies

In the context of animal training, music and sound that function as auditory cues can enable communication from humans to animals. This paper will present two case studies that emphasise the extensive influence of music in the practice of ‘animal training’ in an ancient Roman context. In the first case study, Varro records the practice of swineherds training their animals to respond to the sound of a bucina (Varro Rust. 2.4.20), and in the second, Aelian describes the training practices of dancing elephants that performed at a spectacle orchestrated by Germanicus (Ael. NA 2.11). This paper assesses the veracity of these two case studies by exploring their ethological underpinnings.

Affiliations: 1: Macquarie University SydneyAustralia rodney.cross@hdr.mq.edu.au; rodneymcross@gmail.com

10.1163/22129758-12341297
/content/journals/10.1163/22129758-12341297
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2017-08-10
2017-11-18

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