The Cameleopard

When Julius Caesar returned to Rome from a campaign in 48 B.C. through Asia Minor and Egypt, he was followed by a menagerie of strange and wonderful creatures.

To demonstrate his power and influence he brought panthers, baboons, flamingos, ostriches, and a giraffe. The Romans were utterly baffled and in awe of the giraffe and named it the “cameleopard” in reference to the two animals they thought it looked like. Sadly, to further demonstrate his power, Caesar had the animal destroyed by lions in the Coliseum.

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Information sources:

“The Medici Giraffe: And Other Tales of Exotic Animals and Power” by Marina Belozerskaya

Photo Credits / Sources:

By Daniel Ramirez from Honolulu, USA (Giraffe!  Uploaded by Jacopo Werther) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons