Article

Animal Husbandry

Geoffrey Kron

in The Oxford Handbook of Animals in Classical Thought and Life

Published in print August 2014 | ISBN: 9780199589425
Published online March 2014 | | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199589425.013.007

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

Animal Husbandry

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In ancient Greece and Rome, there is evidence that animal husbandry was a technically sophisticated and productive enterprise. Archaeozoological studies show that the size of livestock was considerably larger compared to Bronze Age, Iron Age, and the medieval period. Moreover, the species were remarkably diversified, ranging from domestic animals to fowl, wild game, and game-birds that were farmed for affluent and demanding urban consumers in the Mediterranean. In addition to an extensive knowledge of the normal behaviour and needs of the animals, ancient Greeks and Romans displayed excellent management of pastures and rangelands, expertise in veterinary care, and high standards of fodder and forage production. Improvements in Graeco-Roman animal husbandry can be attributed mainly to enhanced nutrition. Aside from domestic farm animals or some farmed game, dogs, cats, and exotic animals also played a role as pets or work animals. This article focuses on animal husbandry, including poultry and game farming, as practised by ancient Greeks and Romans.

Keywords: ancient Greece; Rome; animal husbandry; livestock; domestic animals; game; pastures; nutrition; poultry; farming

Article.  14205 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Marriage and the Family

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