animalia biblica

A report from the University of Delaware detailing excavations at the Red Sea port city of Berenike, Egypt, includes the finding of a 2,000 year old ‘pet’ cemetery containing the remains of 17 dogs and cats.

The ancient Egyptians’ love for their cats was well known to the ancient historians – although we need to treat their accounts with a certain amount of caution – Herodotus ( II: 66-67) describes the funerary processes, including embalmation, following the natural death of a cat [dog lover’s will be pleased to note that canines are also included!]. Diodorus Siculus (1st cent BCE) writes that even the unintentional killing of a cat was a capital offence:

“Whoever kills a cat in Egypt is condemned to death, whether he committed this crime deliberately or not. The people gather and kill him. An unfortunate Roman, who accidentally killed a cat, could not be saved, either…

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