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African Grey Parrots in Ancient Egypt

 
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tutsbeard
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:46 am    Post subject: African Grey Parrots in Ancient Egypt Reply with quote

Does anyone know anything much about references to African Grey Parrots in AE?

I have heard they were kept as a pet by the elite and were considered a status symbol, but have not found any verified instances of this in their literature or artwork. I have heard Cleopatra owned one according to an article I read online somewhere.

Also it is interesting that in the modern middle eastern societies of today, that African Greys are still seen as a status symbol. Could this be a cultural hangover from these societies ancient pasts when African Greys would have been traded to the near East via AE for sale to wealthy elites of the ancient world? Ancient peoples must have thought AE was an extremely exotic place, with all the strange animals, including these unusual talkative birds. As they would have associated these birds with AE despite the fact they would have probably come into AE via long distance trade routes stretching to the source of the Nile in tropical Africa where these parrots exist naturally.

I imagine African Greys would have been extremely valuable for their entertainment value in ancient societies. Even today with all our modern forms of entertainment, African Greys still enjoy a level of popularity.

I might be getting one in the next week, so just wanted to find out more about this aspect of them as I was considering an AE themed name for it. Will try and do some digging on my own but thought folks here might be more knowledgeable than I.
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tutsbeard
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually can't find any concrete info on AE ever keeping African Greys. Which is unusual. I would have expected a pottery figure or at least one wall decoration showing one somewhere. I can't even find any info of them being mummified and buried with their deceased owners.

I wonder if they were constantly taking Greys from the wild, or were breeding them in captivity? Greys are known to breed well in captivity so it is highly likely they were breeding them in captivity to meet the demand. I found an article the seems to suggest AE were breeding other birds in captivity such as falcons.

This was all I could find on the subject of birds as pets in AE.

Quote:
The history of African Grey parrots kept as pets dates back over 4,000 years. Some Egyptian hieroglyphics clearly depict pet parrots. The ancient Greeks also valued parrots as pets, and this custom was later adopted by the wealthy Roman families often kept parrots in ornate cages, and parrots were prized for their ability to talk. King Henry VIII of England also had an African Grey parrot. The Portuguese sailors kept them as companions on their long sea voyages.


http://facts-and-more.blogspot.com.au/2007/06/ancient-egyptians-loved-african-grey.html

Quote:
Millions of mummified cats, dogs, birds and other animals fill up museum displays and archives, having been recovered from tombs in ancient Egypt. Analyzing their contents helps researchers understand better their role in ancient Egyptian society as religious offerings. It also provides insight into how people perceived and worked with animals.

One question researchers have pondered is, “How did the Egyptians capture so many birds of prey to mummify as offerings to the gods?”

New research that involved 3D imaging of a mummified kestrel suggests for the first time that they may have bred raptors for this purpose.


https://www.elsevier.com/connect/why-the-ancient-egyptians-bred-birds-of-prey
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Lutz
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just found ... P.-Hippolyte Boussac : Le Perroquet - Psittacus, Linné. - In: Recueil de Travaux Relatifs à la Philologie et à l'Archéologie Egyptiennes et Assyriennes 33. - 1911. - pp. 56-59, 2 figs.

I do not speak French, so I can not really say how helpful it is to answer your question. But in the caption to Figure 1 on p. 56 and in the notes there is a pointing to an illustration in a tomb ...


(Carl Richard Lepsius : DENKMÄLER AUS AEGYPTEN UND AETHIOPIEN. - 12 + 1 Vol. Plates, 5 Vol. Text. - 1849 - 1859. - Abth. II, Bl. 130 : BH 03 - Chnumhotep II, Beni-Hassan, 12 th Dynasty, reign of Amenemhet II & Sesostris II.)

Greetings, Lutz.
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tutsbeard
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Lutz. I can't seem to see any greys their though. It seems if they were kept as pets in the ancient world they were not that common, which this passage seems to reinforce:

Quote:
Since Roman times, the African Grey Parrot has been the subject of interest as a pet, but it was the Portuguese sailors starting in 1419 that introduced these birds to Europe. By the 1800s and much of the 1900s the birds traded were mainly grey-eyed youngsters, which could be tamed easily; adults were viewed as being especially nervous and were to be eschewed. This concept is expounded in a booklet published in the late 1800s by W.T. Greene that discusses only Grey Parrots. (Greene wrote the early monograph on parrots, a three volume series entitled Parrots in Captivity.) By the 1970s interest in captivity African Grey Parrot breeding resulted in adults being the primary subject of trade.


http://www.parrotsdailynews.com/tony-silva-news-breeding-of-african-greys-part-i/

I just read this and don't think I will bother getting one. The constant talking when people are out of the room is related to their flock calling, they are trying to contact call their owner as they would do to their mate and flock in the wild so they don't get separated from them.

So you end up with a bird that will never talk in front of your or while your in the same room which kind of defeats the purpose of owning one.

I have read some people leave the radio on to stop the screaming, and provide lots of enrichment such as cardboard boxes, paper, green foliage etc to stop the screaming. According to the third section of the breeding article above, providing them with natural forms of enrichment are actually better than toys which may explain why so many owners fail. Keeping it simple is probably the secret. Although this owner says keeping the TV on when they are out of the room doesn't work, so the radio idea I read another owner use probably doesn't work on all greys either.

Their ability to read your body language and anticipate your wants is pretty incredible. But I don't think I could own an animal that went out of control while I was gone as I wouldn't want to annoy the neighbors. One of the main reasons I was going to get one was because I thought they were a quieter parrot compared to others. Anyway in the highly unlikely scenario I make a very stupid decision and end up getting one I will update this thread.

https://scumbagscarlett.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/my-view-on-african-grey-parrots/
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Lutz
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tutsbeard wrote:
Thanks Lutz. I can't seem to see any greys their though. It seems if they were kept as pets in the ancient world they were not that common, which this passage seems to reinforce:

Quote:
Since Roman times, the African Grey Parrot has been the subject of interest as a pet, but it was the Portuguese sailors starting in 1419 that introduced these birds to Europe. ...

Well, quite frankly, I can not really understand how someone reading this quote should come to the conclusion to the possible use as a pet in Ancient Egypt?

I personally think that having these animals in private homes can never be appropriate, and is always animal cruelty.

Greetings, Lutz.
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