In ancient Rome, pets were important. They had a many jobs or uses and all of them had a unique purpose for the Roman people. Dogs, for example, were put into categories as a way to easily recognize their breeding or use and were used for many things. Hounds, such as the sighthounds, have been found in documents stating that they could be used to hunt other animals. Scent-hounds were used less but they could be used to find food or other animals. The Italian Greyhound was used as a “hot water bottle” if a family member became sick. Their job was to keep people warm. There was also a giant dog known as the Molossus. It was used as a guard and a protection type dog.
Dogs were also considered a part of the family. This is something that can still be seen today. Dogs such as the mythical creature Cerberus were described in many stories with the Roman gods. Most gods had dogs, Hades and Artemis owned hunting dogs. Dogs could also have been seen in roman laws as housekeepers and guards for the entire family. Roman people prefered white dogs over black dogs. A black dog would be hard to distinguish from a wolf, but a white one would stand out.
Another pet which was used more as a royal pet was the snake. Snakes were seen as a pet of healing, which is why the god Asclepius was shown with two snakes around his staff. It was considered bad luck to kill a snake of any type. Many of the Roman emperors had a little snake as a companion inside their household.
Birds such as the parrot were sought for their tongues which were thought to be a good omen. Other birds were found as household pets.
In ancient Rome cats were not pets and were rarely seen at all. They were only used by the Egyptians as mouse control. Many Romans considered cats to be a pest instead of a pet. If the Romans saw a cat killing a bird, the scenario would be seen as a poor bird being killed by an evil cat.
Horses were used for farming or traveling and not necessarily as a pet. They were admired for their strength and beauty. Wealthy Romans used horses for leisure while the poor used their horses as a tool to help them in their everyday lives.
Pets were very important to ancient Roman life. Many pets had uses and qualities that assisted people with everyday chores such as hunting or farming. Other pets were simply enjoyed for their companionship or beauty. Each one was important in its role in Ancient Rome.
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